San Diego History Center’s New Board Members Herald a New Era for the Organization

August 14, 2019

San Diego History Center has added new board members to help guide the nonprofit organization and further their mission to connect people with our shared past through preserving, educating, and promoting the rich stories of the San Diego community.

The San Diego History Center preserves our region’s diverse history through our collections, artifacts, and documents. As a vibrant community resource, the San Diego History Center celebrates what makes the San Diego region unique. The San Diego History Center, founded as the San Diego Historical Society, has been preserving our region’s history and making it available to the public since 1928. Founded by a group of civic-minded citizens, led by George W. Marston, they led efforts to establish Presidio Park to preserve the ruins of the Royal Presidio of San Diego and the first San Diego Mission, and built the Junípero Serra Museum to house the San Diego Historical Society (today’s History Center) and its collections.

John Morrell has replaced Thompson (Tom) Fetter as Chair of the Board of Trustees in order to continue the work to preserve and promote the history of the San Diego region. Morrell has served on the board for five years and now works closely with History Center CEO Bill Lawrence, Trustees and staff to operate and advance the mission of San Diego History Center to promote understanding of our region and its communities’ past, present, and future. Morrell is best known for being Chairman Emeritus of Higgs, Fletcher, & Mack, having previously served as Managing Partner for the firm over a 20-year period. In addition to his position at the San Diego History Center, Morrell has been a member of the Downtown San Diego Rotary Club since 1991. He is also a current member of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the San Diego County Bar Foundation. He is a third generation San Diegan.

Morrell shares, “I started as a Trustee through my acquaintance with Tom Fetter from the San Diego Rotary Club. My early involvement with the History Center deepened my interest in it and the good works it does. I hope to expand its reach, its endowment and its collections so that the History Center thrives into its next 100 years.”

Morrell was brought onto the San Diego History Center by Tom Fetter who served for eight years as Chair of the Board. Fetter is still actively involved in the organization, continuing his legacy of building the San Diego History Center to be one of the foremost civic organizations in the region.

Five new members have joined the board: John Brockington, Erin Chambers Smith, Julie Connolly, Bonnie Fletcher, Charles Kaminski. Two trustees have returned to the board: Helen Kinnaird and Margie Warner. They have joined a dedicated board served by Treasurer Frank Alessi, Secretary Allan Wasserman, Vice Chairs Debra L. Cushman-Parrish, Joe Craver, and Robert J. Watkins, Chair Emeritus Hal Sadler, and board members Richard Bregante, Josh Buchholz, Raymond Carpenter, Brian Chambers, Gayle Hom, Brian Mooney, Frank Pavel, Scott Peterson, Thomas Sayer, Jr., James Siegel, and Ellis C. Smith.

Bill Lawrence, San Diego History Center’s Executive Director and CEO, shares, “I am honored to be joined by a dedicated group of our community leaders to help further our region’s exploration of our shared past, present and future. By changing the San Diego History Center from the inside out, we are striving towards greater inclusivity and authentic engagement and education.”