Katie Jane Morris ’02 realized the great need University of Montevallo students had during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It brought back memories of her time as an undergraduate student on the red brick streets. Morris remembered how a helping hand made all the difference in her trajectory toward obtaining a college degree.
“Part of my college experience was funded by scholarships I received from UM donors,” Morris said. “Paying it forward is a way for me to make sure someone else has an opportunity to learn and grow.”
Morris said she feels an obligation to continue giving today to pay it forward in honor of those who paved the way for her.
“Since I graduated, I have tried to give regularly to UM,” Morris said. “But, during the pandemic, I realized that there was a greater need than ever, and I had the ability to be generous. So, I made a much larger donation. Then I realized I could do it again. So, I did. It makes me happy to think that I am helping support an institution that was so important to me, that will be important to so many others.”
The generous support from donors was tremendously meaningful for Morris nearly 20 years ago in the same way she is making a difference in the lives of students today. Morris earned her bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology in May 2002 and obtained a master’s degree in library and information studies from The University of Alabama. Morris started her career at the Hoover Public Library as an undergraduate student at Montevallo after learning about a part-time job opening through the Career Center on campus. She continues to utilize the skills her Montevallo education provided two decades later as a children’s librarian at the Hoover Public Library.
“UM gave me a solid educational foundation,” Morris said. “The speech-path program at UM is top-notch. I’m a children’s librarian, and I use quite a bit of my speech-path training – especially normal language acquisition and sign language. It also provided me the opportunity to meet and work closely with a diverse group of people. As a public librarian, it is so important to represent and serve every member of the community.”
Morris made the most of her time at UM, quickly finding a home in the Honors program, Concert Choir and Purple Side family.
“I knew I belonged immediately,” Morris said. “The class size made the college transition so comfortable, both academically and socially. I quickly found my people in the Honors program and as a member of the Concert Choir. And, of course, I loved College Night. PV!”
Morris’ participation in the Concert Choir left an indelible impression on her UM memories.
“My four years in the Concert Choir under Dr. Robert Wright hold all of my best memories of UM. My closest friendships were all forged in music. Recording an album was one of the top highlights. My advice to current UM students is to enjoy your time on the bricks! UM is a special place.”
Morris said it took some time for her to settle on her pathway to a professional career, and she encourages students currently in college not to be disheartened as they search for their own path to success.
“When I started at UM, I had a very clear vision of what my future would be,” Morris said. “When I finished at UM, that vision had completely changed. And that’s okay. UM is a great place to figure it all out.”