Rezin “Mo” Morrison, Front Gate Security Guard
Rezin "Mo" Morrison
“Every time I wake up God has given me the opportunity to be better than what I was
yesterday. I have life in me, and that deserves to be celebrated.”
Front Gate Security Guard
Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ
Published in October 2023
If you have ever passed the Farinella Gate (main entrance) at Seton Hall, you have probably come across Mo and his big smile. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, just one town over, Mo may be one of Seton Hall’s most recognizable and compassionate individuals, who loves to spread joy to the thousands of people driving by him daily. His happiness and humbleness in life touches anyone he encounters. While Mo initially worked in construction after learning the trade in the 1980s, he found his true calling when he started working at Seton Hall in 2008.
For over 15 years, Mo has greeted students, parents, faculty, alumni, and visitors with a smile as the front gate security guard, but his impact extends far beyond just a friendly hello – he has touched countless lives on campus with his joyful and caring presence. He is quick to credit his coworkers who he affectionately calls the “18th crew” for their teamwork and support of one another. “This has been the best situation I have ever been in in my entire life,” Mo said. “Connecting to people has been my favorite thing… every day has been a day for helping people.”
After speaking to Mo, it is clear that he is beyond appreciative of life and all it has to offer and even more grateful to his mother, his most prominent role model, who has shaped who he is. He explained, “Everything that I am, and everything that is good about me, I contribute to my mother.” He continued, “She’s everything. I had her for 74 years, but she’s always here with me.” Mo expressed that although he grew up without his father, his mother gave him the love and affection that he needed, which helped him grow into the man we know and love today, as well as the father that he was able to be to his kids.
Mo’s kids are one of his primary drivers in life. “I have three girls and one boy. They are my inspiration,” he said. Today, they are adults with great careers, and he is overwhelmingly proud of their accomplishments and who they have grown up to be. His favorite memory will always be when he built a mansion dollhouse as a Christmas present for them. At the time, Mo and his wife had to decide between a Christmas tree or gifts, and they decided to pursue the tree. Yet, it felt incomplete. Working in construction at the time helped him come up with the brilliant idea of building a dollhouse from scraps. It turned out to be one of the best Christmases ever, and it was personally his favorite because he created something with his bare hands and built something from nothing.
When Mo is not working, you’ll catch him watching a NY Giants game or cooking for family and friends. “While the NY Giants are my go-to, what could be better than cooking and watching people enjoy your food,” he said. Another fun fact about Mo is that he loves toys and is a toy collector of trucks and spawn action figures. “My mother wasn’t always able to buy us the things we wanted,” he said. “So, when I bought my son his first spawn it just did something to me. My whole collection I want to go to my grandson.”
Mo’s love and appreciation for his work, family, kids, and Seton Hall are extraordinary. The campus community embraces and uplifts him for the cheerful spirit that he carries. Not only has he received multiple standing ovations during many commencement ceremonies (2009-2012), but he also put off plans to leave the University last year in order to be here when three sophomore students asked him to stay until they graduated. “These are my kids,” he said. “I appreciate them every day. I stayed because of the people. That’s why I am here.” His selfless acts of kindness and love tell the story of the kind of man that he is, and the pillar that holds the Seton Hall community together.
Mo’s impact demonstrates how one person’s small acts of kindness can resonate throughout an entire university. As he reflected at the end of our meeting, he says, “My happiest memory… I know it’s going to sound corny, but just showing up to work. You know, we only have today. I ask people this all the time: what do you want your legacy to be? What do you want the last memory anybody has of you to be? I say laughter. I say happiness. And I’m sharing it.”
Mo has been recognized by the University on several occasions including the February 2023 Divisional Professional Development meeting. He was also featured by Tom Krieglstein, TEDX Swift Kick award-winning founder and lead facilitator, on the Swift Kick blog.