Outstanding Graduate, Michael Morris, Shines Light on Finance Sector and Foster Youth

By Olivia Santos | Published: December 11, 2019

Outstanding Graduate, Michael Morris, Shines Light on Finance Sector and Foster Youth

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – With adversity stacked against him, and opportunity awaiting – Michael Morris, finance major in the College of Business at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, is down to the finish line for his undergraduate degree and has received the honor of being named one of two Fall 2019 Outstanding Graduates. He will walk the stage on Saturday, Dec. 14, along with 1,021 of his Islander peers, and will begin his post-graduate life with memories of the Island University and the support he received not far in the rear-view.

“I transferred from a community college, so being able to attend such a beautiful campus that is experiencing so much growth was an overall amazing experience for me,” said Morris. “The business department here is second to none and the professors are passionate and truly care about shaping the futures of their students. Being in a place where individuals have similar aspirations and goals was a critical turning point for me.”

A long-held dream since childhood, Morris began attending Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in spring 2018. Hitting the ground running, he took on roles as a mentor in the Island Harbor Program and President of the Student Finance Association. As a first-generation college student and former foster care youth, Morris says his choice of study was set long-before his collegiate career began.

“Growing up without any financial security influenced me to not want to follow the same path I grew up in,” said Morris. “I was naturally attracted to investing and the stock market from a very young age and thankfully, I had a lot of really great mentors growing up who worked in real estate, venture capital, and the wealth management community who strongly suggested that I pursue finance. I haven’t looked back since.”

In his time at A&M-Corpus Christi, Morris mastered courses in financial accounting, security analysis, corporate and international finance, and investments. Working through independent study courses in his final semesters, Morris developed scholarly reports and research regarding the financial sector. Morris also earned an internship in downtown Corpus Christi with Merrill Lynch, an investing and wealth management division of Bank of America. After his internship, Michael was extended an offer as a Client Associate with the Bielski, Bielski, Hampton Group where he oversees variances for his team.

“Michael’s current research positions him to help his generation of students learn how to invest in products that are different from my generation,” said Dr. Armand Picou, Professor of Finance. “He has the heart of a teacher, and I believe he will continue to benefit his community no matter where he goes.”

Outside of his passion for finance, Morris has served as a catalyst for change and policy reform for foster youths throughout the nation. In June 2019, he was chosen from hundreds of candidates to represent foster youth and lobby for the betterment of transitional services and financial literacy for the National Foster Youth Institute in Washington, D.C.  A former foster youth himself, Morris served as student mentor for the Island University’s Island Harbor Program, which is a program on campus that helps former foster youth transition into the college environment.

“Less than 5% of foster youth ever graduate from college and being in their shoes previously, I was able to provide guidance and be a resource,” said Morris. “Having those students come to TAMU-CC from high schools all over Texas to hear what the Island Harbor Program had to say was very empowering, not only to everyone who help runs the program but also the students themselves. It’s their time now. Being able to lobby for them to Congress was life-changing.”

Morris is moving to New York after graduation with hopes to become a financial analyst. After working for 4-5 years, Michael plans on getting his MBA and transitioning into Private Equity. Morris says although his aspirations for the future are high, as an Islander, he’s learned a thing or two about perseverance.

“During my college career, there were a lot of ups and downs and plenty of times where I felt like giving up, but I didn’t – life’s too short,” said Morris. “Sooner or later, everyone’s faced with unique challenges that get in the way of the blueprint that we envision for our future. I’ll never let those challenges slow me down. I always say, if you want something bad enough, give ten times more effort than everyone else – good things will come your way.”