Ten Lambda Chis, Including Two Biological Brothers, Have Won Arkansas State University’s Most Prestigious Award

Photos courtesy of Robert Morris
Earl Morris, left, won the R.E. Lee Wilson Award from Arkansas State University in 2015. Robert Morris, his fraternity and biological brother, won it this year. It is the university’s highest honor for a graduating senior.

The R.E. Lee Wilson Award is Arkansas State University’s highest honor for a graduating senior. This year, Robert Morris, a brother of the Iota-Theta chapter, snagged that top honor.

But he is not the first brother to win the award. In fact, he is not even the first in his family to win it. Nine other Lambda Chis have won the award since its inception more than eight decades ago, including Robert’s biological brother, Earl Morris, who won it in 2015.

The Wilson Award is named in honor of a Mississippi County planter and businessman who served on ASU’s Board of Trustees in the early 1900s. Winners are selected based on their level of character, determination, leadership, service, participation and academic achievement, which would explain why so many Lambda Chis have earned it. It comes with a $1,500 scholarship for post-graduate study.

“It means a lot,” Robert said. “I started out in our chapter as the High Theta, so I always love serving. Getting recognized for something I didn’t expect to be recognized for … it’s very humbling.”

He completed a two-year term as Theta. During his tenure, he organized a color run and a barbecue for veterans with disabilities; and he helped collect more than 100,000 pounds of food for the local food bank as part of Lambda Chi Alpha’s national philanthropy, Feeding America.

Joining Lambda Chi and serving as High Theta led Robert down a path toward service. He is graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in strategic communication with plans to pursue a Master’s degree in public service at the University of Arkansas Clinton School. He hopes to work in communications and marketing for a nonprofit organization after graduate school.

“I’m keeping my options open. All I know is I want to help people,” Robert said. “It’s really my experience as Theta that pushed me to realize I thrive when serving others. Lambda Chi is how I found my passion for the rest of my life. Having so many brothers be willing to go all in to help people they don’t even know … it’s the reason I’m pursuing a career as a public servant.”

Robert Morris, left, poses with a check to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

In addition to his service in Lambda Chi, Robert was heavily involved in numerous charitable causes, including serving on the executive board of the university’s fundraiser for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He helped raised more than $105,000 this year. He was also active in the Honors College, the Student Activities Board, the Student Government Association and new student orientation. He completed internships at the Downtown Jonesboro Association and United Way of Northeast Arkansas.

As he moves on, remaining close with his brothers is extremely important to him.

“This brotherhood has been second to none. Literally each and every day … they have been there for me every single step of the way. It’s because of them that I am inspired to do good in this world. I truly would not be where I am today without them. Being a member of Lambda Chi Alpha over the past four years has shown me how to be a man in immeasurable ways,” Robert said.

“There is never a day that passes without thinking about this fraternity, the teachings of our ritual and the passion that each of our brothers have for impacting other people for the better,” he continued. “Even past graduation, I will forever have love for this organization and my brothers — both undergraduate and alumni — as each and every one of them inspire me to serve others in ways I never thought possible. I believe in Lambda Chi Alpha and will always have hope for its future.”

Earl shared similar sentiments.

Brothers of Iota-Theta Zeta at Arkansas State University

“Lambda Chi Alpha gave me the passion to serve and chase my dreams while, at the same time, fostering a confidence to lead,” Earl said. “While the world around me continues to change, I have values and a ritual to cling onto. I have brothers (who) I know will continue to have my back and alumni connections with men all around the world. Lambda Chi Alpha taught me the lessons that the classroom was not able to.”

He is so proud of his brother, and his fraternity brothers.

“It means the world to me to get to share this experience with my brother and to share the joy with both my family and my fraternity,” he said. “Our parents instilled three things in us from a young age: respect, a strong work ethic, and an appreciation for the importance of education. I credit my family for developing us into the young men we are today, but I credit the fraternity for instilling the personal courage to serve others and follow our dreams.”

Earl is a graduate student at the University of Arkansas, where he is pursuing a Master of Public Health and a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. He plans to work in academia as a researcher.

The one thing he appreciates most about the fraternity is that all of his brothers respect diversity and encourage it.

“While Robert and I come from the same background, our paths and future careers could not be more different,” Earl said. “One aspect of our brotherhood that encourages me and gives me hope for the future of Lambda Chi Alpha is the fact that Robert and I were believed in and encouraged all the same, regardless of our differences.”

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