Morris College Receives Historical Contribution
Morris College recently penned another milestone in its noble journey when the largest individual gift in the institution’s history was presented in a check for $10 million by the Reverend Solomon Jackson, Jr. of Columbia, South Carolina.
As shared by Dr. Luns C. Richardson, who has served as college president since 1974, "The first milestone being the establishment of the institution by the founding fathers in 1908." "The second milestone is the accreditation of the college by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December 1978. Of course, in January 1982, the college was accepted into membership by the United Negro College Fund, the third milestone. And the fourth milestone is the giving to the college of the largest, most generous, and unprecedented gift by an individual — this day, January 7, 2010."
The momentous announcement was made in the college’s Neal-Jones Auditorium to a standing room only crowd of students, faculty, staff, members of the Morris College Board of Trustees, alumni, other supporters, and individuals from the Sumter community.
Jackson had the “good fortune” of winning the August 2009 lottery. I. S. Leevy Johnson, Jackson’s attorney, during his presentation shared with the audience that before it was confirmed he won, he said, “…if I am the winner, I want to do something special for Morris College.” Johnson went on to say of his lifelong friend, “…because of his love, admiration, and support of this institution, the priority with paramount concern has been to do something to benefit the students of Morris College.”
When Jackson stood to deliver his remarks, he talked about the influence of his then pastor and mentor, the late Reverend Dr. William McKinley Bowman, Sr. He fondly recalled Bowman telling him, “You have got to attend Morris College.” Jackson later in the 1970s attended the college’s then School of Religion. “When I was aspiring to be a minister, I studied here at Morris College,” Jackson said. “The experience helped mold me. I thank God for the training I received here.”
In keeping with his first priority, the students, portions of Jackson’s gift will be used to provide student scholarships, construct a new dormitory, and aid in the construction of a new Student Health Services Center, which will be an extension of the Garrick-Boykin Human Development Center. Other designated projects include construction of a new administration building, the purchase of a new coach bus, the roof replacement of an existing dorm, landscaping and beautification of the campus; and adding to the college’s endowment.
Plans also include the construction of a new maintenance building with vehicular shed. Jackson stated, “My father, Solomon, Sr., worked as a custodian and that’s how we ate. I was a personal witness to how hard he worked and how well he did his job.” “As I consider the work he did, I would like this facility to be constructed in my father’s memory and named in his honor.”
Describing Reverend Jackson as a “caring and sharing philanthropist,” President Richardson stated, “The entire Morris College Family expresses its most sincere thanks and lasting gratitude to you for giving to Morris College the sum of $10 million.” “We assure you the money will be used as announced and every dollar will be accounted for in a timely fashion. You have lavished your gifts upon Morris College and your benevolence will stand forever.”