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A Ryerson marketing professor’s email offering students a free Thanksgiving meal went viral during reading week.
Roy Morley, professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, emailed the offer to 205 students in his marketing course before the reading week break. In it, he offered to cover the cost of students’ Thanksgiving meals.
“I knew many of our own students will be having a very quiet Thanksgiving, so I thought I could send out an email and give them $20 each,” said Morley.
He wanted to ensure his students could remain anonymous while accepting his offer and told them to email him a pseudonym. After reading week the envelopes containing the money and labelled with the pseudonyms would be available for the students to pick up.
Morley hasn’t put a time limit on how long students can take him up on his offer. So far, around 60 students have responded to his email.
Morley said he wanted the kind gesture to remain a secret, but one student couldn’t help but share.
“The word needs to be spread because he’s such an amazing guy,” Josh Hanson said about his professor.
Hanson said he had to read the email more than twice. He was in disbelief because “it was such an impressive offer.”
“You never expect to see that from anyone — let alone a professor — who’s got 200 some odd kids in their class,” he said. “But then I saw it was Roy Morley and I re-read the message and thought this is absolutely something that Roy would do.”
Hanson shared Morley’s email on Facebook.
Hanson said he wanted to spread the word about his professor and inspire others to pay it forward.
“There was really no downside, because this could only help other people become inspired, he said. ”It was the perfect time, because it was around Thanksgiving, so people are in the giving mood.”
Hanson said this gesture of kindness is not out of character for Morley. “He is the most selfless guy out there.”
Throughout his 32-year teaching career, Morley has helped students manage mental health issues, financial difficulties and has even helped get a student out of jail. Each year, Morley also dedicates two weeks of his time to help his graduating students find jobs.
For 60 years, Morley has been heavily involved in not-for-profit and volunteer organizations across the GTA. He said some of his colleagues likely do not know what he does outside Ryerson because he keeps much of his community involvement “a little below the radar.”
“This is not just a one-time thing … all my life I’ve really enjoyed volunteer work and with the students I help. I don’t ever tell anybody, none of my faculty members in my department know what I do,” Morley said.
While Morley would have preferred to keep the exchange under wraps, he’s not upset about the news getting out. He said he’s been getting emails and phone calls from current and former students around the world and all levels of Ryerson’s administration.
Fourth-year business management student, Samra Ramzan said, “He is a huge role model for many of us, and we wish there were more leaders and professors like him. He inspires me daily to be the best version of myself.”
Steven Murphy, dean of the Ted Rogers School of Management, said he wasn’t surprised Roy went the extra mile for his students.
“Roy doesn’t like to necessarily get any of the spotlight,” Murphy said. “I think this has taken him a little aback. I was really proud to see Roy doing what he always does.”