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by Abi DobsonStudent Contributor

Ryan Morris, a first-generation graduating senior from Dryden, Virginia, came to Alice Lloyd College in hopes of pursuing a degree in two majors: History and Communication Studies. Coming from Virginia, Ryan heard about ALC his senior year of high school when Cross Country Coach Brandon Arnold contacted him. ALC had everything Ryan was looking for and allowed him to be close enough to home that he could visit every weekend.

While Ryan came to ALC for an education, he also developed skills and passions outside the classroom. Through the theatre program, he flourished on the stage and found a love for the performing arts. During his time at ALC, he has performed in Peter Pan, Bathroom Break, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Digging Up the Boys. This past spring semester, ALC’s Theater Department produced the play Radium Girls. In Radium Girls, Ryan performed as Tom Kreider, the main character’s boyfriend, and Jack Young Wood, a reporter. ALC professor Mrs. Natalie Holt directed Radium Girls. As a Communication Studies major, Ryan has had the opportunity to form a close bond with communications professor Dr. Charles Mullins. “He’s one of the best professors any student can have, and he’s also a director that every actor dreams of working with. His impact on my career and life is too great to put into words. I’m forever thankful for his teaching, directing, and guidance.”  

Through his performance on stage, Ryan has developed several leadership skills and found an ability to write plays himself. He is a published playwright of Unintent, which he wrote his first year at ALC. Unintent is about a young boy who fell ill and received medical treatment from a doctor specializing in a different field of medicine than the boy needed, which led to the young boy’s death. The script was successful and has been widely read. Ryan states, “A drama teacher from Australia emailed me a few years ago and told me she enjoyed the play and that her class was using it for educational performances.”

Additionally, ALC has allowed Ryan to further pursue his passion for running. He began running his junior year of high school and has been in love with it ever since. Ryan participated in ALC’s Cross Country and Track teams for six years. During his career, he received the Bill Melton Champion of Character Award, qualified for NAIA Nationals twice, and has been named an NCCAA All-American three times. Everyone on campus saw Ryan’s dedication and persistence in these sports as he was always running with his teams and on his own for personal goals.

Ryan has faced many challenges and successes during his athletic career at ALC. He credits his perseverance, hard work, and strict disciplinary routines for his overall achievements. Ryan advises, “I believe discipline and consistency make you successful at achieving your goals. You have to have a short-term memory, even with success, if you want to keep moving forward.”

His love for cross country and track, combined with his memories, led him to enjoy Scott Cornett’s coaching class. He states, “Coaching is something I want to do in the future, I enjoyed this class every time we met, and I learned valuable coaching skills I can use in the future.” Just because he is graduating does not mean that Ryan will leave his love of running in the past. He plans on running and racing for years to come and has already joined a road racing team.

At ALC, students must complete a 160-hour work contract and work approximately 10 hours a week on campus. Ryan exceeded this expectation and worked 20 hours a week for the Sports Information Director, Gary Stepp. At his job, Ryan assisted Mr. Stepp with his leadership and political science classes, checked the mail, picked up packages, and helped Mr. Stepp with statistics and information for the sports teams. Ryan also serves as an announcer for home basketball games and tournaments. The work-study program teaches students responsibility and allows them to establish a strong work ethic before entering the workforce. Ryan states the work-study program has helped him “pay extra towards my tuition, gave me work experience, and has allowed me to develop professionally.”

During his time at ALC, Ryan has also found his love of servitude through various campus community service projects, such as Operation Christmas Child. Operation Christmas Child provides shoeboxes full of necessities and small toys to children in underserved countries. Ryan has also participated in several community service projects through the NCCAA. Ryan hopes to carry this love of service with him onto his next chapter of life.

Mrs. Alice Lloyd’s wish was to instill a sense of servitude in every student who walked the Purpose Road. As Ryan’s time as a student along the Purpose Road comes to an end, he will take the lessons learned with him wherever he goes. He is not going far, though, as ALC has employed him to help others on their journey down the Purpose Road. “As an ALC employee, I feel like I am giving back to those who made everything possible for me.” Ryan has proved himself as a leader in every area he has participated in. Now, Ryan is establishing himself as a servant leader by giving back to those who gave him so much and hoping to give the next generation the same experience he had at ALC.