Reverend Darren M. Morton (B.B.A. ’89)
Reverend Darren M. Morton Q & A:
What is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My fondest memory of Hofstra is being a NOAH student and my initiation into Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. It was both the NOAH Program and the fraternity that provided me with lasting relationships with so many people, who remain close friends today. I attribute my success as an educator and leader to those undergraduate experiences as a student leader and a community volunteer. It was at Hofstra, through my early years as a NOAH student, and later years as member of the fraternity, that I developed a sense of care for humankind. The NOAH Program taught me the importance of giving back to the community, and my initiation into Alpha Phi Alpha shaped my role as broad-based campus leader, i.e. president of the African People’s Organization and vice president of the Hofstra Gospel Ensemble.
What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
Ironically I did not go far; in fact, my first job was as an admissions counselor for Hofstra. Being an admissions counselor was an invaluable experience and a pleasure because I loved my experience at Hofstra, so it was second nature to encourage other students to attend. My most valuable “take-aways” include the experience to travel the world, the interaction with prospective Hofstra students, developing a passion for working with college students, and the mentorship of Joan Isaac Mohr – who was the vice president of enrollment at Hofstra.
What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
This is not an easy answer because I am bi-vocational. Since my time at Hofstra, I have worked as a college administrator, adjunct professor, and Baptist minister. My entrance into higher education started with my heavy involvement as a student-leader while attending Hofstra, and my first job there as an admissions counselor. Over the last 22 years, I have had a progressive career, most recently serving as associate vice president of student affairs and director of the Vincentian Institute of Social Action (VISA) at St. John’s University. As a clergyman, I was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1997. Since that time I have served in numerous ministerial positions, including youth minister, superintendent of Sunday school, interim pastor, and am currently pastor of the Macedonia Baptist Church of Mount Vernon, NY.
What advice would you give current Hofstra students?
Enjoy your time at Hofstra and always step outside of your comfort zone to intellectually, socially, and globally grow as a person. Hofstra students must take advantage of the outstanding faculty, innovative technology, diverse student body, and co-curricular opportunities. These were the benefits I received and absorbed from my time as an undergraduate at Hofstra. Each of those aspects was undoubtedly impactful to shaping my perspective of the world, personal philosophy of service to community and professional drive to make a difference.
In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
How has your business degree from Hofstra helped you as a pastor?
As pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, a congregation with more than 400 members and a multi-million dollar facility, having business acumen is essential. My business degree has assisted with general business practices, such as budget and finance, strategic planning, organizational effectiveness, and revenue generation. I use the concepts learned in accounting, marketing, management and information technology every day to enhance the administration function, and expand the community services provided by the church. Our church aims to be a “community church” that provides services to address the spiritual, cultural and social needs of the people. To that end, we must have a “business plan,” and these concepts were taught to me while attending Zarb Business School at Hofstra.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I absolutely love pastoring the people – attending to the needs of my congregation. Each day I find myself heavily involved in the lives of struggling people. People come to the church and the pastor seeking relief, and I gain great satisfaction from being God’s vessel and change-agent in their lives. My favorite part of my job is sharing the Gospel and serving as a servant-leader to the Mount Vernon community.
Do you have a quote or saying that has kept you motivated through the years?
Yes, one I made up myself. “The life we live is not a period, question mark, or a comma – rather our life is an ellipsis. We are continuously developing and there are limitless possibilities – just keep giving it a try.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your careers progressing to in the future?
In 10 years, I see myself as a prominent pastor, professor, and civic leader. Most likely, I will remain in New York at Macedonia Baptist Church until retirement, while teaching college courses in educational and executive leadership. I will continue to develop a social justice agenda for the church, especially focused on improving the quality of education in urban communities. If I leave New York and travel south, I may consider a career path as a president of a historically black college or university or small liberal arts college.