Morse Payne

  • Overseer Emeritus
Morse Payne '13 (Hon.), FAIA

Morse Payne '13 (Hon.), FAIA; Photo by Thomas Payne

H. Morse Payne Jr. '13 (Hon.), FAIA is an accomplished professional, a mentor, and an inspirational leader. Morse's talent as a draftsman and designer became evident early in his life. As a freshman in high school competing with upperclassmen, Morse won first prize in a town planning competition in Norwood in 1939. Upon graduation, with World War II underway, he was drafted into the US Navy whereupon he served three years as Quartermaster on the USS Boston in the Pacific Fleet.

At the end of his service, Morse enrolled at the BAC and soon secured two prizes that would change his life. As the first recipient of the Boston Society of Architects Traveling Scholarship, Morse won the opportunity to spend a semester of travel and studies at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau in France. The second prize was a scholarship to complete his architecture studies at MIT.

After graduating from MIT, Morse joined The Architects Collaborative (TAC) as a Principal. He worked at TAC for thirty-four years, serving two of those years as President from 1975-77. During his early years at TAC, he maintained an Assistant Professor position at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for ten years. Morse would later return to the BAC as an instructor, where he became known for inspiring his students with confidence and faith in their capacity to accomplish more. Morse also gave of his time and talent as a member of the BAC Board of Directors, where he would also go on to serve two terms as President. In this capacity, he presided over the vote to move the BAC to our current location at 320 Newbury Street. In 1993, Morse delivered the inaugural Dean Cascieri Lectureship in the Humanities presentation, titled "Urban Design in 17th Century New England."

In May of 2013, the BAC awarded Morse a Doctor of Design Leadership in recognition of his work at TAC in researching and defining the practice of urban design, his many years of service to the BAC as an institution, and his dedication to the program.