November 1, 2009
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – John H. Morris (B.A. 1959, M.A. 1969) of Fayetteville, Ark., spent his career teaching history at Wharton Community College in Wharton, Texas, 50 miles southwest of Houston. He returned to Fayetteville in 2000, and taught part-time at Northwest Arkansas Community College before retiring in 2008. Because of Morris’ dedication to education and a belief that every student has the potential to be successful, he has funded five Access Arkansas scholarships at the University of Arkansas for students who struggle to meet the financial obligations of higher education.
Morris has given $250,000 to support scholarships in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Health Professions and the Sam M. Walton College of Business. They are as follows:
- John Howard Morris Access Arkansas Endowed Scholarship in History
- John Howard Morris Access Arkansas Endowed Scholarship in Piano
- Emmett Lee Morris Access Arkansas Endowed Scholarship in Education, named for Morris’ grandfather
- Gladys Houser Morris Access Arkansas Endowed Scholarship in Nursing, named for Morris’ mother
- Russell Anthony Boone Access Arkansas Endowed Scholarship in Finance, named for a close friend and former student
“I was researching the different ways a person can support the university,” said Morris. “I read all about merit-based scholarships that are available for top students, and when I came across information about Access Arkansas, it just felt right. I want to help students who don’t necessarily qualify academically for the top scholarships — I was a ‘B’ student myself — but who are still worthy of a great education and rely on financial assistance to get through. I would even like to increase this initial funding for the scholarships later on.”
Morris did not always stay connected to the university after graduation, and he credits the Arkansas Alumni Association for “somehow keeping up with him.” In the late 1980s, the association offered graduates an opportunity to become a life member at a reduced rate. Morris saw this as a great opportunity to get involved again, even though he was living out of state. When he moved back to Arkansas to care for an ill relative, Morris stayed connected and began attending events on campus again.
“I get excited when I come to campus and see everything that’s going on,” he said. “In fact, I started taking a class, and I love being a part of the university again. It’s inspiring to see students walking around, and they all seem very interested in the work they’re doing. I even eat lunch in the Arkansas Union with them!”