A Healer Finds Healing at Antioch

Luke Morrissey is a healer. As a combat medic, Morrissey spent years tending to the wounds of others, such as treating soldiers with broken bones or pneumonia. During this time, Morrissey also saw a need to make sure sexual assault victims had their wounds tended to carefully and properly. As an active duty medic, Morrissey developed a curriculum for medics to know how to respond to victims of sexual assault. The army still uses that curriculum today.

Sometimes even the best healers end up with their own wounds that are in need of healing. For Morrissey, after suffering a personal tragedy, that healing came in the form of the supportive community he found at Antioch University Seattle, where he enrolled to complete his bachelor’s degree after leaving full-time military service.

“It’s such a tight-knit community here, which is what I love about it,” Morrissey says. “Antioch has that sense of community. That sense of investment in each other. The faculty, the administrators – they seek out and directly invest in your success.”

Following his tragedy, Morrissey was amazed by the concern his classmates showed him. They made sure to study with him and talk with him about how he was doing. “We care about each other. We all come together and we choose to invest in this community and to care about each other and build this great, wonderful thing.”

Morrissey is also grateful to Antioch for the services it provides to veterans. “Getting out of active duty is really hard,” he says. “It was a really hard experience for me and Antioch was there for me every step of the way.”

Antioch’s Institute of War Stress Injuries, Recovery, and Social Justice is dedicated to meeting the mental health needs of the military and their families. “I’ve met the staff there, and they have wonderful insights. The work they’re doing contributes to the professional aspect of military psychiatric care,” Morrissey says.

Another resource Antioch offers to vets is the student veterans office at Antioch, which helps student vets find job placements, educational program placements, and taking the steps from cycling out of active duty back to civilian life.

Antioch also gave Morrissey a robust education and allowed him to take the skills he learned in the military and apply them to the educational world. He received prior learning credit for his military service, and also completed three independent research projects that integrated his passion for the healing arts with his zeal for social justice.

“Antioch respects students’ drives to learn what they know they want to learn and what they know they need to learn,” he says.

His projects focused on providing culturally competent care by addressing the medical and psychological wounds of oppressed communities with sensitivity and compassion. He also spent four weeks at Standing Rock as a medic and then traveled around the country serving as a medic at protest camps. For this remarkable service to others, he received a Students Serving Washington President’s Leadership award.

After graduation, he plans to obtain a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing, so he can continue to help others in their healing process. He is grateful for the opportunities he’s had at Antioch to help him on this path. “At Antioch, I intellectually and emotionally explored who I was. I’ve gained study skills, I’ve learned what my path should be, I’ve learned where I want to go,” he says.

His self-directed learning experiences propelled him on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. “The faculty here encouraged me to grow not just educationally, but personally and spiritually as well,” Morrissey says.

The community at Antioch provided a safe space for him to come out as a member of the LGBTQIA community. His ability to be authentic has enhanced his quality of life and his capacity for self-acceptance.

“I am an educated, open and honest version of myself,” he says. “It’s okay to be who I am and I don’t have to deny who I am.”

Morrissey believes that may be the greatest thing he learned at Antioch.

Headshots of six people involved in the symposium. From L to R- Top- Katherine Evarts, Aishwarya Lonikar, Jude Bergkamp Bottom- Dean Hammer, Susana Gomez, Ingrid Ingerson

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