Mark Morris, Sr. and Jack DeBoer
EMPORIA, Kan. (WIBW) - The veterinarian whose work on animal nutrition launched a Topeka-based pet food company is among this year's inductees to the Kansas Business Hall of Fame.
The hall at Emporia State University announced Thursday it's honoring Dr. Mark Morris, Sr. and hotel chain founder Jack DeBoer.
Morris developed the pet food formulas that became Hill's Science Diet and Prescription Diet. Born in New Jersey in 1901, Morris developed his first pet food formula in 1939. When word spread of it success in treating a seeing eye dog with kidney disease, Morris teamed with Hill Packing Co. in Topeka to produce and package the food.
Today, Hill's Pet Nutrition is the leading brand recommended by vets. Morris died in 1993 at the age of 92.
DeBoer is chairman of the Hix Corp. based in Pittsburg, Kan. He founded the Residence Inn, Summerfield Hotel and Candlewood Hotel corporations. He also spearheaded efforts in 1990 to renovate Wichita's downtown. In addition to hotels, in 1989, he and a partner purchased Hix Corp. in Pittsburg, which manufactures printing equipment used by the sportswear industry.
On the philanthropic side, witnessing poverty in their world travels inspired DeBoer and his wife to create the Candlewood Suites concept for mid-priced, extended stays. Its profits were contributed to a foundation that gave loans to small businesses and improved living conditions of the poor.
Morris and DeBoer will be recognized at an induction ceremony during the 41st Annual Team Kansas/Kansas Cavalry Awards Banquet June 11th at Emporia State University. This is the 25th year for the Kansas Business Hall of Fame induction ceremony.