George J. Morris '70, '74MS

Recipient of the 2020 Brother John G. Driscoll Award for Humanitarian Service

 George Morris was born in 1948 in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, where he grew up with his parents, a sister and two brothers.  He graduated from Sacred Heart Elementary School and Cardinal Spellman High School. He entered Iona in 1966 and graduated with a BA in 1970, and a MS in 1974, concentrating in Spanish and Education. He still lives in New Rochelle.

George began his teaching career in 1970 in the Yonkers Public Schools. He taught Spanish and Latin, and gradually changed to teaching of English as a Second Language. He taught in Yonkers for 32 years, mostly at Gorton High School, with shorter stints at the elementary and middle levels. He also sponsored high school senior class activities, student government, and theatre. He served the school district for several years as an English-Spanish translator for literature distributed in connection with magnet programs. He served twice as president of NYS TESOL, the ESL teachers’ statewide professional organization.

After retiring from full-time teaching, George continued with the school district until 2014 as an intake examiner for English language learners, administering placement tests. He used his Spanish (and "very limited" Portuguese and French) regularly in this work.

In the local community, George has served as a teacher and assistant youth minister with the “Relig” Catholic Youth Community since his freshman year at Iona. He regularly accompanies Relig teens on service days with the Fuller Center for Housing and civic activity with Volunteer New York. He is also active in the Inter-Religious Coalition of New Rochelle, having served as president and secretary in recent years, and is their representative to the Interfaith Dwellings Corporation Board, which works with developers to increase affordable housing. He is a member of Blessed Sacrament Church in New Rochelle, where he is a Eucharistic Minister and bilingual Lector. George has also used his ESL background to tutor Afghan refugee families who have settled in lower Westchester. Since the beginning of the pandemic, he has been a volunteer with the H.O.P.E. Community Services food pantry, helping several days each week with storage, packing, and distribution of groceries to local neighbors in need. 

In pre-COVID times (and hopefully post-COVID as well) George has served since 2014 with Habitat for Humanity's Global Village program in Guatemala, where the team helps to build sturdy, affordable housing in hurricane-prone areas.

In his leisure time, George enjoys visiting and dining out with friends and family, travel, music, reading, crossword puzzles, getting his hands dirty, and jumping out of airplanes (two skydives and counting.)