Donor Profile: Dr. Kenny Morris
Kenny Morris, MD ’62, is committed to paying it forward, which is why he has made dedicated gifts to the School of Medicine, to support student scholarships and an endowed teaching professorship.
“I was born in Bentonville, N.C., to parents who were small-time farmers,” Morris recalled. “I came to UNC for my undergraduate degree, and then stayed to get my M.D.
“There weren’t many scholarships for medical students, in those days—at least, I didn’t know anyone who had one. We had to work, borrow money, and rely on whatever help our families could give us. My parents helped me out as much as they could.
“It was only when I got out of school and began working that I realized what a burden it had been for them. How much they had sacrificed so that I could go to medical school. They said they didn’t mind—that they were happy to have been able to do it, and happier that I was having some success in life as a result of my education.”
Because Morris remembers how difficult it was for him at times, he knows what medical students have to go through and wants to make it better for them today. To that end, since 1992, he has made 22 gifts to the Loyalty Fund for student support. In 2012, for his 50th class reunion, he established the Kenny ’62 and Carolyn Morris Medical Distinguished Teaching Professorship to honor the sacrifices his parents made for him.
“I wanted to do something for junior faculty, because this is where the future of medical education lies,” Morris explained. “They need our support to develop their research as well as their teaching skills.”
In the end, Morris said, he has received as much as he has given.
“I love this university. It has provided me with a means to be successful in life, and I wanted to repay that in some small way. And I wanted to leave a legacy here in honor of my family, especially my mom and dad. Finally, the truth is that helping a few folks like this, as I’m able, just gives me a good feeling.”
(The Kenny ’62 and Carolyn Morris Medical Distinguished Teaching Professorship will be awarded for the first time in 2014-2015.)