BRISTOL, Tenn., April 30, 2016 – Esteemed for putting “service above self,” Dr. Sharon Morrison received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award from King University during its Spring Commencement ceremony on April 30, 2016. The prestigious award was presented to Dr. Morrison, a King alumni, for her outstanding work in the community through The Morrison School, which she and her husband, Arthur, founded in 1977 for children with learning disabilities, attention deficits, or emotional disturbances.
Speaking about the school, Dr. Morrison said, “My heart is captured by each of these young people the moment I first interview them as potential candidates for the school. The look deep in their eyes that reveals the despair, the cynicism, and the lack of belief that anything can change. Yet, as the interview goes along, the head is held higher, the indifferent ears perk up, the face becomes a little brighter, and finally I see it—that glimmer of light reflecting the hope that maybe here it will be different. ‘Maybe here all those things I want to be and want to do can happen? Maybe here I can stop being and doing what I don’t want to be or do? Just maybe …. ?’ I never forget that look and it becomes the obsessive force that drives me to make the ‘maybe’ become a resounding ‘yes!’ for each of these wonderfully unique and so very fragile little folks.”
Dr. Morrison also co-‐founded Vantage Foundation in San Clemente, California, a school offering counseling, testing, and tutoring services for learning disabled, attention deficit disordered students. She served as a Tennessee Juvenile Court Counselor, Florida Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, and director of the Kohn Foundation, a school for learning disabled and behaviorally disordered students in Long Beach, California. Additionally, Dr. Morrison has worked in private practice and conducted numerous conferences on learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and youth at risk.
Dr. Martin Dotterweich, associate professor of History at King, says of Morrison, “Certainly Sharon Morrison exemplifies those traits that the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award celebrates. A woman of deep Christian faith, she has participated in several events at King related to faith and learning. She remains committed to lifelong learning, as exemplified by her intense professional interest in educational and developmental psychology. She has devoted her life to serving the community through The Morrison School. She has applied spiritual qualities to practical life throughout her career, and is a superb standard bearer for King University, one by whose character we are fortunate to be judged.”
Dr. Dotterweich’s two autistic children attend The Morrison School. “Frequently, my wife and I marvel at Sharon’s voluminous work. She knows each child at the school, not just by name, but also in terms of diagnosis, educational strategies, and personal care. When she isn’t meeting with a student or some parents, she is fundraising—witness the new building near exit 3 or the numerous scholarships awarded—or reading more about educational psychology. Sharon has helped hundreds of children in our region achieve lives beyond all expectation, and in doing so, she has transformed culture for Christ in a tangible and vital way.”
Annette Tudor, The Morrison School board member, adds, “Dr. Morrison has been the most influential person in my career path. My first teaching position was under her leadership. She inspired me to change my career and pursue a degree in special education and ultimately school leadership. Dr. Morrison is the most considerate, compassionate, and caring person I know. She puts all others before herself. Most importantly, she is the strongest advocate for her students. She has high expectations for their success and holds them accountable for their own learning, yet is empathetic of their unique needs and strives to help them overcome their challenges. I can think of no one more deserving of this honor.”
The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation
Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Mary Mildred Sullivan Awards have honored graduating seniors, alumni, and community members for more than 125 years. Using criteria maintained by The Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, select southern colleges and universities present the awards. People whose lives of service have changed the world, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell, and television icon Fred Rogers, have won this special honor. Recipients, recognized for excellence in character and service to humanity, receive a medallion, a certificate, and a biography of their award’s namesake.