A widely held belief among geographers is that no single individual has had greater influence upon applied and educational geography in Oklahoma than Dr. John W. Morris. Many of these geographers had Dr. Morris as their teacher, for he has spent more than 40 years as an educator in our State. Others were influenced by his publications. For instance, John has published 7 books and 23 articles that deal specifically with the geography of Oklahoma.
Dr. Morris received his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, respectively. His Doctor of Philosophy Degree was earned at George Peabody College for Teachers in 1941.
His career as an educator began in the Oklahoma public schools; later he taught in a junior college and then at Southeastern State University at Durant. In the latter part of the 1940's after a tour of duty with the Navy in the Pacific Theater, he joined the staff of the Department of Geography at the University of Oklahoma. He became chairman in 1963 and retained that position until his retirement in 1973.
The world outside of Oklahoma also has been influenced by the life of this man. His book World Geography, co-authored with Dr. Otis Freeman, is a widely used text, and currently is in its third edition. Among his 135 publications, 32 appeared in Geopaldia, the German Encyclopedia of Geography. He is past president of the National Council of Geographic Education, and served 8 years as Director of Publications for that organization. Finally, Dr. Morris has been a visiting professor at seven universities outside our State.
Among his impressive accomplishments, not the least is the fact that since his retirement, Dr. Morris has published four books. He currently is working on two new books.
On behalf of the membership of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, we gladly add the name of John W. Morris to the list of distinguished scholars who have received the Award of Merit.