Samuel Morris' Impact
The continuing story
With men of great faith come great testimonies. Samuel Morris is no different. Within months of his passing, his incredible story began a journey around the world continuing far into the next century and beyond with a voice that could not be silenced.
Books and movies
Morris' life story has been retold in five novels, almost a dozen booklets and translated into several languages, including Hindi, New Guinea Pidgin, French and Chinese. Taylor University has reprinted Jorge O. Masa's, The Angel in Ebony. This book is available at the campus store. In 1954, Taylor had a world premier of the film, Angel in Ebony, which cost $25,000 to produce and was so popular, a secretary was appointed for the sole purpose of handling its bookings.
DVDs of Angel in Ebony are available for $10.00. This DVD is available at the campus store.
Note that the quality of the movie is due to its age and original format.
Buildings and monuments
Over the years, Taylor has visually commemorated Morris' life through the construction of three residence halls and several statues.
Funds and scholarships
Beginning as early as 1891, when Jacob Kichler offered President Thaddeus Reade a five dollar bill marking the first contribution to the Samuel Morris Faith Fund, Taylor has sought to aide others like Morris around the world.
In 1996, after receiving a $3.15 million grant from Lilly Endowment, Inc., Taylor established the Samuel Morris Scholars program. The endowment awarded approximately 125 Indiana high school students with amounts ranging from $2,000 to $6,000. It ended with the 2003-2004 academic year.
When Lowell and Virginia Hatfield learned the original Faith Fund had been inactive for several years, they quickly acted to ensure Morris' testimony would continue by establishing a scholarship for international students.
To contribute to the Sammy Morris Endowed International Student Scholarship Fund, send a check payable to Taylor University and include "Sammy Morris Scholarship Fund" on the memo line. For more information, contact Kelsey Mitchener at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 800-882-3456, ext. 5114.
Sinoe County Association in the Americas (SCAA)
On a number of occasions, groups of Liberian-Americans from the Sinoe County Association in the Americas (SCAA) have visited Taylor University to learn more about Samuel Morris and raise awareness of his legacy within the Liberian community.
Founded in 2000, the SCAA has continuously contributed to the overall development of Sinoe, Liberia, through regular shipments of medical and educational supplies to the country. The association has secured a 30-acre parcel of land for the construction of a multi-purpose complex in Sinoe County. When completed, the complex will be named in honor of Samuel Morris.
Taylor University is pleased to carry on a rich and rewarding relationship with the members of the SCAA. Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick, Taylor University Professor Emeritus, serves as the official University liaison with the SCAA, attending their annual conventions and speaking for their gatherings. In addition, Dr. Kirkpatrick hosts guests to the Taylor campus who express a special interest in the Morris story.
In late March and early April 2010, four members of the SCAA and Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick traveled to Liberia to continue developing plans for the Morris Center. The group was welcomed by Dr. Emmanuel Bailey, President of the United Methodist University in Monrovia. Other meetings took place with the Samuel Morris Legacy board of directors, the official trustees of the incorporation under which the Morris interests will be managed.
A special highlight of the journey was a meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was moved by the Morris story and gifts received from the group. President Sirleaf promised to expedite the finalizing of the deed for the land where the Morris center will be built.
After a week-long stay in Sinoe County, that included an important visit to the Morris Legacy Foundation property, the group returned to the States determined to press forward on the plans for the Samuel Morris Learning Enrichment Center.
In March 2013, the ground was broken for the Samuel Morris Educational Resource and Conference Center in Greenville, Sinoe County. Taylor representatives, Kirkpatrick and Gary Friesen, were present, as well as the Greenville mayor, a member of the Liberian national legislature, commissioners and other community representatives.
When completed, the Center will serve a critical need in the Greenville area to bring hope to the community and a spiritual and educational uplift to the children and young people there. It may also serve as a future site for a Taylor University-sponsored mission outreach.