Memories of Dr.Morris

The News Magazine of HCU

” I first met Dr. Stewart Morris in early 2005 after my family purchased a large tract of land in Cypress, Texas to help the Community of Faith Church in Cypress build its sanctuary and campus. We had more land than the church needed, so my son, Cary Dunham, a graduate of HCU, suggested we develop the remaining land. Dr Morris heard about the transaction and asked if he could visit with me and show me several of the development projects that he and his family had constructed. That full day in the automobile, showing me the great housing developments that he was involved with, began a lifelong relationship with the Morris family. Stewart was first a man who loved his family and the Lord. There probably would not have been a Houston Christian University without Stewart’s initiative and relationships with others in Houston who, together, had the financial resources and belief that Houston needed a Christian-based university. Later, Stewart asked me to serve on his Family Foundation which he chaired until his passing, never missing a meeting. He remained alert always asking important questions and eager to share his financial wisdom and resources with Houston Christian University, Second Baptist, Memorial Hermann, and other institutions that he loved. He will be missed by his extended family, and his many friends, but his love of the Lord will continue to impact Houston and Texas forever. “

Dr. Archie W. Dunham
HCU Benefactor and Retired Chairman of ConocoPhillips

” We seldom have the opportunity to meet someone of hero status, but that was Dr. Stewart Morris, Sr. to me and to the many others who loved him and his passion for HCU. For more than 60 years, our Founding Father demonstrated his love and commitment to our students, alumni, faculty, and staff and to the city of Houston, living his life in relentless pursuit of excellence in Christian higher education. His love for his faith and his family were his strength … as strong as the Morris Columns … which he placed on the campus as a tribute to the Ten Commandments. His vision was apparent from the first endowed scholarship with others to follow to landmark buildings scattered across the campus bearing his and his family’s name — all reminders of his generosity, the lives that he changed, and his heart for The Huskies. We all loved his campus visits and the enthusiasm he invested in every event. He was such a part of everything here. Plus, his quick wit made every conversation a delight and quite memorable! I treasure a copy of a note that Stewart wrote to our incoming freshman class several years ago when each student was presented with a Bible from the University. His inscription read… “The clock is watching. We each have 24/7 but what you accomplish makes a difference between you and me and the others. HCU has been waiting for YOU for 60 years. My best to You! ~ Stewart.” It was true to Stewart’s style … always encouraging others. One of my favorite places on the HCU campus is the statue of Dr. Stewart Morris holding his Bible. It’s also a favorite to so many students who want a selfie with Stewart! “

Sharon Saunders
Vice President of Advancement and University Relations

” Everyone and every university need an encourager like Stewart Morris, Sr. Every time I saw him, he was full of compliments—for the University and for what Robert and I were doing. I have heard his children, both Lisa and Stewart Jr., talk about how he was an encourager. He woke up every day thinking about how he could help HCU and strengthen us through his words and suggestions. He used his time, money, and personality to make the University the best it could be, and through his encouragement, he inspired us to do the best we could for the University too. Though he will be missed, we are forever grateful for his care and influence. “

Sue Sloan
First Lady of HCU

” Col. 3:17 describes Stewart Morris perfectly! His words and deeds were always done in the name of The Lord Jesus. He had such a giving heart (and pocketbook) and was full of wit and wisdom. Who else would call Stanley at 5 a.m. to talk about raising money for HCU? Or be teased by Stanley about his car leaking oil on the fresh concrete of the Cultural Arts Center when it was under construction? Or ask to expand the building to make room for the Southern History Museum when it was half finished? Only Stewart Morris, a gentleman who will be missed dearly! We are honored to be included among his many friends! “

Dr. Diane Williams
’93 HCU Alumna and HCU Board Member, and husband, Stanley Williams, Long-time supporters of HCU

“One of the traits I admired most about Dr. Morris was that he was always focused on the future. We would have regular BBQ lunches at his house so I could update him on various projects, and during our visits, I would try to get him to share some war stories or stories about growing up in Houston. On rare occasions, he would indulge me. Most of the time, he would simply turn back to his favorite topic, which was “How do we make HCU better tomorrow than it is today?” I just found it a really admirable quality that even at 104 years old, he was thinking about the future, and how to improve the University. I never once heard him complain about old age, not once, in over a decade of friendship. The other thing I admired was that the man could eat! If you put a giant plate of chocolate chip cookies or carrot cake in front of him, you better watch out, because he would eat the whole plate! I once saw him eat a giant chocolate chip cookie that was probably meant to be shared with a whole table of people. He had a real sweet tooth. Maybe that’s the secret to longevity. I’ll miss hearing his voice and seeing him on campus.”

Dr. Chris Hammons
HCU Professor of Government and Director of the Morris Family Center for Law & Liberty

” I’ve been in, maybe, 100 various charitable board meetings with Stewart through the years. Always, always, he was the smartest guy in the room – but said very little. But, when he did, it was always profound and with ideas ‘out of the box,’ that no one had considered. Always brilliant. He always gave me, after the meetings, a little scrap of paper that he had scribbled an idea – always thinking!! There simply will never be another Stewart Morris!!! Period!!!! “

Jim R. Smith, Sr.
HCU Advisory Board Member, and Houston Retail Real Estate Developer

” As I reflect on the life of Dr. Stewart Morris, Sr., what an honor to have witnessed a life full of extraordinary achievements, unwavering integrity, and profound humanity. He was a visionary and founding father of Houston Christian University. One of many things that I will remember most about Dr. Morris is that he was always present. He always made time to share his wisdom, knowledge, and most often his “Stewartisms.” He was so very kind and thoughtful that on occasion he would invite me to his ranch to ride with him and Stewart Jr. on one of his many carriages. I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity to serve alongside him as a fellow board member at HCU. I admired his visionary mindset, always looking beyond the horizon to prepare a better future for the students who would attend HCU. His immeasurable financial contributions are too many to mention but can be seen throughout the University landscape. The impact of his life upon HCU and the students who will walk on this campus will be felt throughout eternity. What a remarkable legacy. He was more than just a great man; he was a beacon of hope, a pillar of strength, and a source of endless inspiration to all who met him. He will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. Thank you, Dr. Morris. “

Rev. Garry Blackmon
Chair of the HCU Board of Trustees

” I met Stewart about 30 years ago through his role at Southern National Bank and then grew our relationship through our involvement at Houston Baptist University. As the founding father of HBU, Stewart was always an enthusiastic encourager, creative thinker, and gregarious personality. I always admired that Stewart would follow through with his passions, whether it was through his Christian faith, business dealings, and various collections, he was ALL in! What I remember most about Stewart, is even though we were some 50 years apart in age, he was always so nice and interested in me. Truth is, he was that way to everyone. “

Tadd Tellepsen
99 HCU Alumnus, HCU Board Member and CEO of Tellepsen Builders

” After my husband, Dr. Doug Hodo, became the second President of HBU and I, the First Lady, Stewart Morris, accompanied by his pilot, flew to San Antonio and stayed overnight at our home. He came to bolster our spirits and to assure us of his support as we embarked on our new journey—a promise he kept throughout all of our 19 and a half years at HBU. His integrity, proficiency, achievements and devotion to both HBU and Jesus Christ, established him as a steadfast advocate. In times of joy, sorrow and adversity, Stewart was a pillar of strength for Doug and me, for which I am profoundly thankful. His presence was a bedrock and a formidable force at HBU. The dignity, astuteness, care and empathy he carried, will indelibly mark the campus of HCU. The Hodo family is honored to be a part of the enduring legacy he left at HCU. “

Sadie Hodo
Former First Lady of HBU