News

May 23, 2008

Larry Morris ’67 Brings Past to Life

He is former Maryland American History Teacher of the Year

Larry Morris ’67 thought he was going to be a math teacher. Then he took a history class with Professor George Heath, which hooked him on the subject and continues to influence his teaching career.“His ability to relate anecdotal stories about characters in history made history more alive than just routine, traditional approaches to chronological progression,” he says. “People coming alive made history come alive. He had such passion for his profession. What I try to do is delve into the lives of the people. Kids get interested and realize they’re not just marble statues somewhere but had frailties and shortcomings, and they get to see it’s not a perfect world.”

Morris teaches advanced placement American history and world history at Worcester Prep School in Berlin, Md. In 2006, Worcester Prep nominated him for the Maryland American History Teacher of the Year Award, which he won.

“I was very honored by that – surprised and honored,” he says. “There are a lot of very talented teachers in the field right now. What was most gratifying was that it required students in class to write letters on my behalf, which the school solicited. When the people you deal with on a daily basis say nice things about you, that’s the greatest reward.”

Outside the classroom, Morris remains active in athletics. He was inducted into the Carbon County (Pa.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. Each year, the towns in the county nominate one person and the organization accepts three or four nominees. His acceptance was especially meaningful as his father, Lawrence B. Morris Jr., was a posthumous member of the hall’s introductory class.

Morris was a member of a state championship basketball team, as well as a second-place team, while a student at Jim Thorpe High School. He played basketball at Lafayette for his first three years. After he graduated, he coached basketball in the Parkland and Upper Perkiomen School Districts. At Upper Perkiomen, he served as athletic director for ten years, coached tennis, and was an assistant football coach. He was head basketball coach at Allentown College, now DeSales University, and was assistant basketball coach at Ursinus College. At Worcester Prep, he helped begin a tennis program and is assistant girls basketball coach.

“[Worcester Prep] didn’t have a tennis team,” he notes. “I stepped down as coach last year, but it has become the most respected tennis program on the shore. I’m very proud of that accomplishment because now they have tennis courts and another sport for the kids to participate in.”

Morris also has had success in the Maryland Senior Olympics. He won a silver medal in mixed doubles tennis and a bronze medal in the basketball shooting competition.

He credits his father, who was a teacher and coach, his high school basketball coach, and Lafayette’s former head basketball coach, George Davidson, with influencing his decision to become a lifelong coach and teacher.

Morris enjoyed his undergraduate years as a history major. He tries to steer students he believes would benefit from what Lafayette has to offer toward his alma mater. Two of those have included civil engineering graduate Katrina Gibbons ’03 and Bryan Carey ’11.

“I don’t think I could’ve made a better choice,” says Morris. “The institution itself, the quality of instruction, and just the academic aspect plus the people I met there were fantastic. The history department was a marvelous department with very dynamic people in it.”

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