College of Liberal and Fine Arts


John Miller Morris Student Scholarship

February 24, 2017

The UTSA community is saddened by Dr. John Miller Morris’s sudden passing.

Dr. Richard Jones, Professor in Geography, remembers on how Dr. Morris brought to UTSA students an intellectual perspective that sprang from his own consummate scholarship, and his curiosity about so many things. His rapport with students was patent, particularly his taking a personal interest in them and their careers. “Your teaching methods are amazing,” wrote one student. Another noted that Dr. Morris “is the best teacher I have had in college. He involved himself actively and took an interest in the students’ learning.” A third student offered that “I am a business student and I have taken all my electives with him…” A fourth wrote: “Professor Morris is an excellent teacher. He captivates the students’ attention from the beginning to usually a little past the end of class. His lectures provide intriguing information that is both informative and applicable to understanding past, present, and future.” A not uncommon refrain was that of a final student: “Morris is awesome! Greatest instructor at UTSA in my opinion. Major influence on my life.”


In 1996-97, Dr. Morris was awarded the Dean's Outstanding Teaching Award for undergraduate teaching, in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In 2010, he won the Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Piper Professor Award, the first at UTSA in nine years and one of only nine in the history of the institution.


It might be imagined that someone who spoke five languages and traveled extensively (including extended time in Russia, Austria, Israel, and Mexico) would have a global perspective, and Morris did. It is interesting that he also had a Texas perspective, from his upbringing in the Texas Panhandle and his research on the area. He was involved in local planning issues, particularly environmental planning and activism in Austin. There is hardly a topic on which John did not have some degree of expertise.


John Miller Morris died from complications of heart bypass surgery on Thursday, February 16, 2017. He can never be replaced, and we in the department of Political Science and Geography are still mourning his death. 

Please join us in honoring John Miller Morris by helping to support the students he dedicated himself to teaching.

Donations can be made at the following link.

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