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.

 


Service

Friday, March 11, 2022
11:00 AM

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

Visitation

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

Bucktrout Funeral Home - Directions
4124 Ironbound Road
Williamsburg, VA 23188
757-229-3822

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  • March 09, 2022
    Randolph S. Ashton says:
    To the family of Dr. Morris H. Morgan III, I would like to convey my sincerest condolences. As a graduate of the Chemical Engineering Department at Hampton University, I had the pleasure of being mentored both then and throughout my career by Morris. He was one of my most trusted mentors and colleagues, and despite being my former chair and professor, his persona was always that of a friend. Future visits to my 'Home By the Sea' will not be the same without his smile and laughter, and he will be dearly missed. To his family, please know that Morris had an outsized impact on the students that came through his department, and he was personally instrumental in their accelerating their career trajectory. He was and continues to be a personal role model for me and many others. God Bless and rest in peace Dr. Morgan . . . you have truly been a 'good and faithful servant'.

  • March 10, 2022
    Dr. & Mrs. Danny Myers, Yorktown, VA says:
    To Carolyn and family, we are truly sorry to hear of Morris’s passing. He was such a wonderful man with a generous, warm and funny spirit. We have known each other for years from our many social gatherings we have attended, organizations we belong to, as well as our connections with our perspective alma maters in Nashville. Always cherish the wonderful memories of him, as he leaves an inspirational legacy for all of you. May God’s loving presence comfort you, his perfect peace restore you, and his promises of eternal life sustain you during this time of your loss, and in the days ahead. “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me will live, even though they die…John 11:25

  • March 11, 2022
    Ray and Denise Pincham says:
    Our condolences to our cousin Carolyn and the family. We will continue to keep you all in our prayers.

  • March 11, 2022
    Rosevelt Noble says:
    To the family and friends of Dr. Morris Morgan, I send my deepest prayers, thoughts, and condolences during this difficult time. I will never forget the laughter we shared during your interview with me years ago at Vanderbilt. Rest easy, brother.

  • March 11, 2022
    Michael Washington lit a candle:
    Lit since March 11, 2022 at 3:16:53 PM