Hard Work and Thoughtful Planning
Dr. Jim Morris' defining trait was his belief in the value of education, according to his longtime friend, Rita Hill. Jim passed away in September 2017 in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 95 after a long career in medicine and a lifetime of savvy investments in the stock market.
His lifelong belief has been fulfilled through his estate. The Dr. James F. Morris '44 Endowed Scholarship, established with his bequest, is expected to be the second largest at OWU, totaling more than $4.5 million for students.
"I wish I had a dollar for every time he talked about OWU," Rita says. "He so valued the education he got there. His family was poor and uneducated; he was really smart. He had an eidetic memory, so he knew he could go to college but he didn't know if he'd be able to afford it."
But OWU offered him a full scholarship, and he graduated summa cum laude in three years with a degree in zoology. While at OWU, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He went on to obtain his medical degree from the University of Rochester (New York) School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Following his graduation from Rochester in 1948, Jim served as a resident in internal medicine at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester for three years, finishing his training at the University of Utah School of Medicine. In his later years, Jim worked at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, then served in the U.S. Army Chemical Corps before returning to the VA as a staff physician, pulmonologist, educator, and medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit. He was a professor of medicine at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center in Portland.
Jim had exacting, sometimes demanding standards, Rita says. "He would fight for people who were underdogs that he thought were like him but also be really critical of people who weren't hard workers," she says, calling him a "scrapper."
It is from Jim's own hard work and thoughtful planning that an untold number of future Ohio Wesleyan students will benefit.
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