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Jason Morris, dean of Abilene Christian University’s Honors College and big fan of Irish rock band U2, recently cheered on lead singer Bono as he accepted the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding.
Nearly two years ago, Morris wrote the nomination for Bono — with help from one of the Texas university’s communications experts, Ron Hadfield — making sure to note the singer’s global activism and influence on Morris’ own life.
Morris was himself a recipient of a Fulbright student grant 20 years ago while studying at Texas Tech and has since served on the Fulbright Student Program National Screening Committee and as a Fulbright Grant application reviewer.
He’s also been the Fulbright advisor for ACU, which is associated with Churches of Christ, leading a record number of students — nine — to be named semifinalists this year.
When Morris was notified the Fulbright Association was taking nominations for the 2021 prize — which aims to recognize “outstanding contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others” — he knew Bono would be a great fit among previous winners like Angela Merkel, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.
“I thought he was an obvious choice with his accomplishments in the humanitarian realm,” Morris said in a press release.
Then, he waited. Finally, a few months ago, Morris got the news: Thanks to his nomination, Bono would receive the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
ACU signed on to sponsor the event with four other universities so that Morris and his wife, Heidi, who attend the University Church of Christ in Abilene, could be there for the event — and meet the winner.
“It was a fantastic evening,” Morris said. “It was surreal to meet Bono and other influential people in D.C., but it was also exciting to see our institution highlighted as a sponsor at this event. ACU is becoming more recognizable within the Fulbright community with several of our students and faculty being named Fulbright recipients.”
Morris also took the opportunity to give Bono, a friend and fan of the late Johnny Cash, a gift: a copy of “Trains, Jesus and Murder: The Gospel According to Johnny Cash” by ACU psychology professor Richard Beck.
“He seemed pleased,” Morris reported.
For more information on Morris and the nomination, visit ACU’s website.
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