In Memoriam: Ernie Mort

Dean Ernie Mort
December 1931 – January 2020

I remember the first time I met Dean Ernie Mort. It was Freshman Orientation in the fall of 1982. At the very beginning of orientation, Ernie would always welcome the Freshmen and the Parents who attended. Ernie would begin the session with the reading of a letter from a student to her parents.

The humorous letter would start out with a fire in the dorm, then an injury from escaping, then moving in with a fireman and having a baby. It would scare any parent. But the pay off was that it was all not true, except the poor grades in her classes. The point was to keep everything in perspective.

Ernie kept everything in perspective. He was never rattled, never shaken and always had an open door to any student. These were some of the many lessons I learned from him as a Resident Advisor, Orientation Leader, and a member of the Revelle College Council.

Ernie encouraged us to be involved. Ernie encouraged us to try new things. Develop new programs and new traditions. Do anything that hasn’t been done before. It was through involvement outside of the classroom that I and many others learned life long skills: How to run a meeting. How to work with your peers. How to think on your feet. How to plan, budget and execute a project. I know I learned more from Ernie than any class or professor at UCSD.

Ernie was a walking history book of Revelle College. Having served as the first Resident Dean before becoming Dean. I remember the fun story of when Ike and Tina Turner played the Revelle Cafeteria and Ernie had to have them turn it down. I remember the sad story of George Winne who set himself on fire on the Revelle Plaza to protest the Vietnam War. Or the tidbit of who gave Roger Revelle his siren hat he wore every year on his birthday.

Since his retirement, I had the opportunity to see Ernie many times. I know one of his favorite activities in retirement was the Revelle Leadership event every Spring,  where he would hand out the scholarships he personally had funded. Because even in retirement,  Ernie knew the importance of being involved outside of the classroom. If his scholarship could help others be involved I know that brought him the most joy.

If you want to honor Ernie,  I would encourage you to donate to his fund.  

I know I along with many other students will miss Dean Mort.  Thank you, Ernie, for everything you did for me and others and for Revelle College.

Ira Rubenstein
Past President, UC San Diego Alumni
Revelle College 1987