During his undergraduate years as a Fox School accounting major, Mitchell Morgan supported himself working long hours at a North Philadelphia shoe store. “I learned what I like doing by learning what I did not like doing,” he says, looking back. He enjoyed selling shoes, but it wasn’t a career. He attended Temple Law at night, but he didn’t want to be a lawyer. And he didn’t like accounting. “I’m a numbers person, I’m very quant-oriented,” he says, “but I’m not a detail quant. I’m a big-picture quant.” Mr. Morgan’s strategy for leaving accounting was to find an accounting client who would hire him and give him equity in deals he put together. A real estate developer took him up on that offer — and from that tenuous toehold in the industry, he has built Morgan Properties into one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing real estate investment and management companies with 1,000 employees and over 40,000 apartment units in 10 states. Mr. Morgan has been a Temple Trustee since 2002, and is the 2017 recipient of the Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, the Fox School’s highest honor. His generous gift to the university made possible the Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan Residential Hall. “Temple has been an important part of our lives for many decades,” he said when the naming was announced. “It has been thrilling to see how the university has advanced during that time, both academically and physically.” Housing 1,275 students, the massive 660,000-square-foot project has helped revitalize Temple’s Main Campus. “I’ve always taken risks,” Mr. Morgan says of his business career, “but they’ve been educated, managed risks.” In order to manage risk in a world of digital disruption, he says, “You should either be a disruptor or find a sector that’s disruption-resistant.” In real estate, for instance, he notes how retail and office space markets have been disrupted by online shopping and telecommuting. Residential real estate, however, remains disruption-resistant “because people still have to live somewhere.”
Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Science, Fox School of Business ’76; Juris Doctor ’80, Beasley School of Law
Temple University Awards & Affiliatons
- Musser Award for Excellence in Leadership, 2017
- Chairman’s Circle
- Former Dean’s Council, Fox School of Business
- Board of Visitors, Beasley School of Law
What I wanted to be when I was 20 years old
An entrepreneur. I always wanted to be in business for myself. I knew this since I was 10 years old when my father went bankrupt.
Best piece of advice anyone ever gave me
There is wisdom in knowing what you don’t know. Recognizing what you don’t know actually puts you in a unique place of power.