Master’s graduate named 2013 COSAM Distinguished Alumna

18 Nov

Nancy Mitchell Morris, who earned a master’s degree in inorganic and analytical chemistry from Auburn University, was named the 2013 COSAM Distinguished Alumna.

Nancy Mitchell Morris, a native of Griffin, Ga., was named the 2013 COSAM Distinguished Alumna. A dinner was held in her honor on Sept. 13, at the Auburn Marriott Opelika Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National. During the dinner, Morris was presented with the award.

Morris received a bachelor’s in chemistry and education from LaGrange College prior to earning a master’s in inorganic and analytical chemistry from Auburn University. Her education prepared her for a 30-year career with the United States Department of Agriculture.

As a research chemist with the USDA, she used spectroscopic techniques to study agricultural products, chemically modified products, and their interaction with the environment. Morris’ research has been reported in more than 60 publications and presented at more than 40 conferences, both national and international.

In 1977, Morris was a member of the Technical Paper Competition Committee, which won second place at the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists National Technical Conference in Atlanta. She received the USDA Award for Overall Research Performance in 1983, and is a three-time recipient of the USDA Appreciation Award for Performance. In 1991, she was presented the Superior Service Award for the USDA, an award she would receive for the next six years. Once listed in the Outstanding Young Women of America, Morris is a member of Iota Sigma Pi, which is the chemistry honor society for women, and Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.

She met her late husband, Cletus, in the chemistry library at Auburn. As students, they spent many hours together in Ross Hall where they discovered a shared love of chemistry research. Each spent rewarding careers as distinguished researchers at the USDA Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans.

While in New Orleans, Morris organized “Fun Sciences for Families,” a joint venture of the American Chemical Society, Jefferson Parish Schools and local scientists. She served on several advisory committees in the Jefferson Parish School System and headed the first “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” in 1995.

Even in retirement, Morris stays busy as an integral part of many historical, civic and philanthropic organizations. She is a charter member of COSAM’s Society of Women in Sciences and Mathematics, and she has established scholarships in COSAM, including one in memory of her husband.

Morris is the ninth person to receive the award which is given out yearly to recognize outstanding COSAM alumni. To be eligible for consideration, candidates will have achieved significant stature in their chosen field, whether business, academic, military or government. In addition, nominees should have a history of commitment to Auburn University and COSAM, such as working with alumni, fundraising endeavors, and/or personal financial support.

Nominations are welcome from COSAM alumni and the general public and must be received by May 1. For more information, contact the COSAM Office of Development at 334.844.2931.

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