Dr. Morris H. Morgan, III

February 25, 2022
Dr. Morris H. Morgan, III

Dr. Morris H. Morgan, III, 72, died unexpectedly on February 25, 2022. Born on February 10, 1950, in Cedartown, GA, he was the eldest child of the late Morris H. and Eddye (Merkerson) Morgan. He attended Cedar Hill High School and was in the second class of African American students to attend Vanderbilt University, graduating in 1969, with a BS degree in Chemical Engineering at 19. He received a MS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton and was the second African American to receive his PhD in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in 1978.  Morris thrived on research and teaching. After a successful research stint at General Electric, he returned to RPI and became the Engineering School’s first tenured African American Professor. In 2003, he delivered RPI’s Garnet D. Baltimore Lecture in recognition of his impact on engineering education.

Morris began his tenure at Hampton University (HU) in 1996, as Professor & Massey Chair of Environmental Engineering. From 1998 to 2003, he served as the second Dean of  the HU School of Engineering and Technology. As dean, he secured funding for a NASA-funded Aero-Propulsion Center, a Virtual Parts Manufacturing Center, and initiated the Computer Engineering degree program.  Upon returning to the faculty in 2004, he continued his research in designing hypersonic vehicle body structures, modeling boron nitride nano-material reactors and designing industrial spouted bed systems, a field in which he garnered world-class prominence. In 2008, he was a Virginia Outstanding Scientist Award Candidate for his research contributions to fluid-particle systems. He published 96 research articles, 6 book chapters, and held 4 patents.

Inspired by his parents, Morris championed efforts to encourage students to pursue advanced degrees, and he produced 12 engineering and mathematics Masters and PhD students. He received numerous awards and recognitions from his students for his friendly, engaging, yet challenging professorial manner. After 21 years of service, he retired from HU and was recognized for his dedication to enhancing the academic excellence of his students and for being an advocate for enhanced research opportunities. He received Vanderbilt’s  Legacy Award in 2015, as a pioneering African American degree recipient, and in April 2022, he will be inducted into the Vanderbilt School of Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni for his academic achievements and leadership.

Morris was an avid athlete and runner.  In his youth, he was a sprinter, and his most notable accomplishment was setting the Cedar Hill High School 4X100 meter record in 1965, which stood for over 40 years. While at RPI, he joined a group of runners who competed and won awards in local road races, the NY Empire State Games, the Penn Relays and the Millrose Games. He also competed in the Virginia Senior Games. Twelve years ago, he and his son ventured into the world of triathlons as supporters and competitors for each other.  Morris valued the camaraderie and competition of athletics.

Morris was a member of Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, where he served as a Deacon. He was the recent past Sire Archon of Sigma Pi Phi, Epsilon Delta Boulé. He was also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Statistical Association.

Morris always said his greatest accomplishment was his family, especially his loving and devoted wife of 52 years, Carolyn, who shared his adventurous spirit  and love for travel; his son Eric A. Morgan (Sarah VanDoren); and daughter Kristin Morgan.  He also leaves to cherish his memories his brother Warren (Ann); sisters Patricia Johnson, Jacquelyn Richards, Felicia Carr, MD (James MD); uncles John, Richard (Rita), Bernard (Letitia), and Gaylon (Angela); brother-in-law Cecil Bradshaw (Jusolyn); and a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Morris was predeceased by an aunt Mary Williams and an uncle Robert Morgan, MD, PhD.

The family acknowledges with grateful appreciation the many kind expressions of sympathy.

Visitation will be held from 4 to 7pm on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at Bucktrout of Williamsburg, 4124 Ironbound Road, Williamsburg, VA.  Family will receive friends from 6 to 7pm. A celebration of life service will be held at 11am on Friday, March 11, 2022 at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church, 215 Richmond Road, Williamsburg, VA.

Morris believed love, kindness, and education will light the path to freedom for all. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to the Let Freedom Ring Foundation, 727 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA, 23185.



Friday, March 11, 2022
11:00 AM

Williamsburg Presbyterian Church - Directions
215 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185


Thursday, March 10, 2022
4:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Bucktrout Funeral Home - Directions
4124 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188

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  • March 07, 2022
    Claudia Rankins says:
    My sincerest condolences to Carolyn, Kristin, and Eric and all of the family of Dr. Morris Morgan. When I think of the ideal husband, father, colleague, or friend, Morris come to mind; always smart, kind, fair, and supportive. Recalling many Monday morning and Friday afternoon administrative meetings that Morris and I attended, that often were, should I say challenging, I always counted on Morris to be the one with the calming voice. I admired his calming spirit in the room. I will miss Morris at our occasional dinners and at the Virginia Senior games. His family will miss him every single day. Rest peacefully, Morris. Claudia Rankins Powhatan, VA

  • March 08, 2022
    Sandra A Bell, MD says:
    Carolyn and family my most sincere condolences for the loss of your beloved Morris. I remember the love you shared that was evident to everyone who met you. I especially remember the good times we had when we visited our friends on Battery Hill drive. Morris was always one to crack a joke. I will miss his humor. I know you will miss him and treasure his memory for the rest of your life. Morris lived well and helped so many along the way with his humble and quieting demeanor while pushing hem to do their best. Much love to you Carolyn.

  • March 09, 2022
    Mike and Shirley Schubert says:
    Beyond family (spouse, children, grandchildren..), one of the greatest gifts that God gives us is that of being blessed with dear friends that you may love as family, which indeed they are. Saying goodbye to Morris is a task that is most difficult to bear, however dwelling on the sadness of his unexpected passing would cloud all of the wonderful memories and true fun and friendship of over 50 years. Morris was one of the kindest, calmest, most intelligent people we have known (not counting Carolyn). So many good times and laughs and memories that will last until we meet again. Thank you Lord for this gift of friendship with a most special family you chose to share with us.

  • March 09, 2022
    Ruby L Beale, Ph.D. says:
    My sincerest condolences to the Morgan family (wife Carolyn and children Kristin and Eric). I had an opportunity to interact with Dr. Morgan on numerous committees while we were employed at Hampton University. Dr. Morgan was always a consummate professional and supportive colleague. His advice and comments on programmatic and academic issues were insightful and helpful. I will always remember him as a gracious and kind gentleman with a quiet sense of humor. Once again, I send prayers and deepest sympathies to the Morgan family during this challenging time. ~ Respectfully, Dr. Ruby Beale

  • March 09, 2022
    Drs. Mark and Rhonda Clark says:
    To Carolyn, Eric, and Kristin: Our hearts go out to you and all the members of your family upon the death of your husband and father, Dr. Morris H. Morgan III. His obituary attests to his excellence and pioneering achievements in engineering, academics, industry and athletics. We knew him first as Carolyn’s adoring husband and the father of Kristin when she was a student at Hampton Roads Academy along with our daughters, Michelle and Jennifer. We got to know Morris much better over the past decade as both he and I (Mark) are members of the Williamsburg member Boulé, Epsilon Delta of the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. Because of his personal and leadership qualities, Morris rose to become the Sire Archon or leader of Epsilon Delta. His leadership and focus truthfully served to mentor me (Mark) and, I am sure, other newer members of the fraternity. He was an organized and strategic thinker and committed supporter of our community service and social action programs and goals. He was smart, witty and truly caring. It should also be mentioned that Morris exuded the kind of pride in and devotion to his family which we admired and everyone longs for. He never missed an opportunity to tell us about major events and achievements in the lives of his accomplished children, Eric and Kristin. We are sure that you are receiving the important support that family and friends can provide at a time like this. But inner rationalization and an acceptance of the ultimate fate of all human beings are of little comfort and cannot fill the emptiness left by the passing of such a great husband, father and man. Rhonda and I know that, although Morris would expect you to mourn, he would not want you to suffer. Rejoice in his memory. Drs. Mark and Rhonda Clark