Alumnus Morris Morrison to Speak at Winter Commencement on Dec. 18

Thursday, December 09, 2010

About 250 students will graduate during Winter Commencement for Fairmont State University. The ceremony begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Feaster Center. A reception in the Falcon Center will immediately follow the ceremony.

Fairmont State alumnus Morris Morrison, a motivational speaker and leadership development profession who is the owner of Morris Morrison Development Group in Lake Norman, N.C., will be the speaker. Katrina Marie Oswalt of Wadestown will be the student speaker representing the graduating class.

Morris Morrison was born in New York City. Shortly after his birth, his parents died, leaving him an orphan. Upon the last request of his parents, Morrison was cared for and raised by the late Gwendolyn Sanders, of Fairmont. Although she died when Morris was very young, Mrs. Sanders left Morris in the hands of a community that would be instrumental in assisting him as he fulfilled a bedside promise that he made to Mrs. Sanders before she died: to keep a never-compromising level of courage to pursue his true potential, all while growing and helping others through his journey. 

Despite the challenges that Morrison faced at an early age, he continued to remain focused and passionate towards his personal leadership development. He was a member of the 1996 State Championship basketball team at Fairmont Senior High School. He was a recipient of West Virginia University’s Health Careers Opportunity Program Scholarship for Pre-Med Students at West Virginia University. He ultimately chose to attend West Virginia Wesleyan College where he was a Bonner Scholarship award winner for leadership and service, prior to transferring to Fairmont State College. 

As a student at Fairmont State, Morrison was actively involved in campus life. He served as a two-term member of the Board of Advisors, where he participated in capital campaigns and campus development initiatives. He was also elected by his peers as Student Body President, Homecoming King, President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and was a member of the Fairmont State men’s basketball team. 

Morrison received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fairmont State and a master’s degree in industrial labor-relations from West Virginia University. He was selected by BB&T Bank as a distinguished member of the financial industry’s top Leadership Development Group:  the BB&T Management Development Program.

He is the current owner of Morris Morrison Development Group, based out of Lake Norman, N.C. In addition to becoming a highly sought-after motivational speaker and leadership development professional, Morrison is also fulfilling his current role with Pfizer, Inc., the world’s leading pharmaceutical company. He recently finished a term as a board member for WVU’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes Program. He serves on the Board of Directors for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of North Carolina and as a board member for the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. 

Selected by the Office of Student Affairs, Katrina Marie Oswalt will present remarks on behalf of the graduating class. The daughter of Kevin and Cindy Tustin and the late Paul Oswalt, Katrina was born in Great Falls, Montana, and moved to Wadeston, West Virginia, in 1998. She is a 2006 graduate of Clay Battelle High School. Today, she will graduate Cum Laude from Fairmont State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphics Technology and a minor in Education. While attending FSU, Katrina was active in various student organizations. She was president of the Collegiate 4-H Club for two years, secretary of the Student Graphics Organization, and was a Freshman Counselor for four years. Katrina’s hobbies include sewing, playing sports, photography, and spending time with her nephews and niece.

Handicapped parking will be available on Dec. 18, and parking attendants from the Department of Public Safetywill be on hand to direct traffic. The Feaster Center parking lot located directly across Squibb Wilson Boulevard from the Duvall-Rosier Field parking lot will be used for handicapped parking. This lot allows guests to enter the Feaster Center directly onto the arena floor.

Seating will be available on the bottom rows of the arena for those with special needs. For more information, call the Office of Disability Services at (304) 367-4686 or the Department of Public Safety at (304) 367-4157. Sign language interpreting services will be provided during the ceremony.