Bill Morris Advanced Flight Scholarship


Type

General Endowment

Value

$175,748 (2021)

Year Established

1992

Purpose

Scholarship in Aeronautics. (GF000030)

Description

This scholarship is administered by the Office of Financial Aid to advanced flight students enrolled in the College of Aeronautics. Recipients will be chosen by the College of Aeronautics based on merit of students in need of financial assistance to maximize their studies.


History

Bill started to fly airplanes at age 15 and he flew with the same enthusiasm and passion he put into his treehouse. By the time he arrived at Florida Tech, he was ready to learn everything about flight. He was constantly honing his skills and he read every technical treatise on aerospace he could find. Bill was an enthusiastic and involved College of Aeronautics student.  He then became an excellent and highly respected flight instructor at Florida Tech from 1984 to 1992. Bill Morris was also the coach of the Falcon Flight Team in 1991 and he developed and taught Florida Tech’s course on turbo prop jets. Bill was devoted to the pursuit of excellence in aviation, both as an adjunct faculty member and as a flight instructor. He was proficient in fixed-wing, land and sea, as well as rotary wing aircraft, and was respected by his students for his dedication to the high standards of safety and proficiency. Bill also attended the British aerospace course on the jet stream 31. He was preparing to enter the USAF Officer Training School, when, on January 30, 1992, he was tragically killed while piloting a mechanically defective helicopter. His fellow instructors and students remember not only his remarkable skills as an aviator but, also, his ability to recall obscure facts from his rich store of aviation knowledge. More importantly, they remember Bill’s genuine joy in sharing his information, his skills and his love of flying with them as colleagues and friends.

Aside from piloting, Bill was an excellent tennis player and was number #1 varsity in each of his schools. Bill also logged in more than 4000 hours in the air. He was an excellent card player and sandcastle builder. Bill took the “greatest pleasure” in helping others excel. He was considered the wind beneath the wings of the plane of his students. Throughout his life, excellence was his motto. Bill also had a great sense of humor and marched to the beat of his own drum, he loved doing touch and go’s and high spiraling turns. When Bill invited his mother to fly with him one day she said, ‘I’m afraid of flying.’ Bill’s first response was, ‘don’t be silly, that’s like being afraid of the dark’, she went on to say I am afraid of the dark. Being the compassionate person that he was he realized that she was truly concerned about flying in the small plane. So he said to his mother, “that’s cool I understand, but if you decide you want to go I’ll take you.  If not, that’s okay too.”  His mother ended up joining him in the airplane that day and she was so glad that she did.  She shares this short story because it was one of the most memorable experiences she’d ever had and also it illustrates Bill’s compassion and mercy for people. He was sensitive to others, an excellent trait for a teacher and flight instructor to have.  Bill’s mother, Margaret Plum is accomplished at many things, but what she is most proud of are her two children Bill and Julia.

A foundation was created in 1992, by his family, as a perpetual memorial to Bill Morris, honoring his life, his work, his excellence, and his passion for flying. This scholarship fund was intentionally established to offer worthy aviators a chance to realize their goals, follow their dreams and honor Bill.



Recipients:

1994                            Jonathan M. Holden

1995                            Milo M. Zonka

1996                            Brian R. Tardiff

                                        Stephen M. Dress

1997                            Jan Marie Bumba

                                        Gerald Medvigy

                                        Joshua A. Daniel

1998                            Thomas Alton Blanton

                                        Kimberly Joy Church

                                        Shawn Matthew Thomas

1999                            Samir M. Ahmed

                                        Joseph Manna

2000                            Sarah K. Goode

                                        Jose Ernesto Molins

2001                            Samir M. Ahmed

                                        Erica Lee Gough

2002                            Dennis Eric Brandt

                                        Steven Tyler Winkelman

                                        Nicolaas Cornelis Kuyper

2003                            Selamawit Firdaweke

                                        Paul M. Sliwinski

2004                            Adam R. Kline

                                        Christopher L. Perry

2005                            Ryan M. Plumeau

2006                            Ryan M. Plumeau

2007                            Ryan M. Plumeau

2008                            Ismael Cremer

                                        Mary Allison Navia

2009                            Ismael Cremer

                                        Nicholas Johnson

2010                            Joshua Black

                                        Benjamin White

2011                            Kristopher Joy Henegar

2012                            Christopher Joseph Sailer

                                        Jason Barry Waters

2013                            Christopher Joseph Sailer

                                        Jason Barry Waters

2014                            Brian Timothy Bosse

                                        Daniel Phenicie

2015                            Joseph Michotek

2016                            George A. Lopez

2017                            Erik B. Hutchison

2018                            Michael Patrick Lynch

2019                            Nicholas Matese

2020                            Nicholas Matese

2021                            Orlando Gonzalez Fuentes                                   

                                        Blake Wolanin 

If you would like to contribute to this fund, please go to Panther Fund and use the "other" designation to identify that you wish to give to this named endowment fund.