UA Engineering Alum Sets Up Scholarship to Honor Former Professor

University of Arizona Engineering alumnus John Rodgers recently established a perpetual scholarship in honor of Tom Morris, former head of the UA department of mining and metallurgy.

Rodgers graduated from UA in 1972 with a bachelor's in metallurgical engineering, and in 1974 with a master's in the same. Rodgers describes his former professor and department head as “one of the greatest gentlemen I’ve ever met.” Tom Morris died in 1994 at age 78, and the metallurgical engineering major no longer exists, but both made an indelible impression on Rodgers as a Prescott High School senior in 1967.

Rodgers said that in high school he was uncertain about his career direction but had an interest in metallurgy, so he visited Morris on senior day in the spring of 1967. “He sat me down and explained all the ways he could help me financially through the course of my undergraduate education,” Rodgers said. “Tom cared a lot about his students.”

“I had no money, and neither did my parents. I survived college on scholarships and summer work in mines that Tom helped me secure,” Rodgers said. “Regardless of your background or where you came from, Tom was a very caring department head and teacher, and he did a lot for me and for many others. I’m establishing the scholarship to pass on the opportunity he gave me.”

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University of Arizona College of Engineering