Contact: Lauren Dyke
Michael G. Morris Named 2009 Horatio Alger Award Winner
Chairman, President & CEO of American Electric Power to be Inducted in April in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, February 2, 2009 – The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is pleased to announce that Michael G. Morris will be presented with the 2009 Horatio Alger Award and inducted as a lifetime member of the association for his determination in achieving success despite his humble upbringing.
Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power in Ohio, will be officially inducted into the prestigious association on April 3rd in Washington, D.C. Recipients must have overcome humble beginnings or adversity to achieve success and serve as outstanding role models to the national community.
“We welcome these extraordinary leaders into the Horatio Alger Association. Each has demonstrated steadfast determination and amazing achievements that support our unwavering mission of honoring true American success stories,” said David L. Sokol, president and CEO of the Horatio Alger Association. “Michael will serve as a role model for today’s youth by encouraging motivation, purpose and superior accomplishments.”
Morris was born and raised in Fremont, Ohio. He spent his childhood helping family finances by delivering papers, cutting grass and painting houses. Morris was the first in his family to go to college when he entered Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in 1964, earning a degree in biology. The Vietnam War was in full swing during his college years and Morris joined the ROTC, becoming a commander of EMU’s Reserve Officer Training Corps brigade during his graduate school years.
After the war, Morris earned a law degree through four years of night school, working during the day for American Natural Resources. From 1997 through 2003, he served as chairman, president and CEO of Northeast Utilities in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2004, he became chairman, CEO, and president of American Electric Power (AEP). Since joining AEP, Morris and the company have been at the forefront of efforts to develop and integrate technology solutions for greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.
This fall AEP will begin operating the largest carbon capture and storage demonstration to date, capturing more than 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually from a coal-fired power plant in West Virginia and injecting it for storage almost two miles beneath the earth's surface. Morris and AEP are also advocating development of a national electricity grid to better link the nation's wind and solar resources with metropolitan areas in need of electricity. AEP is the largest electricity generator in the U.S. and one of the largest utilities, with more than five million customers in 11 states.
Sadly, Morris and his wife Linda lost their beloved son, Justin, in 2005 when he was just 23. Morris says of this tragic time in their lives, “Through the help of friends and family, Linda, our other son Ryan and I have found peace and are able to look back and celebrate Justin’s life. I’ve relied heavily on the advice my mother gave me so long ago: if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be, and the good Lord will never send you a challenge you aren’t able to handle.”
In addition to Morris’ award, ten other outstanding individuals who have accomplished remarkable achievements through hard work, self-reliance and perseverance, will receive the 2009 Horatio Alger Award. They are:
- James S.C. Chao, chairman, Foremost Group
- David Foster, producer, composer and arranger, Reprise Records & 143 Records
- Clayton Paul Hilliard, president and owner, Badger Oil Corporation
- Rebecca MacDonald, founder and executive chair, Energy Savings Income Fund (international recipient)
- Indra K. Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo Inc.
- Carl H. Ricker, Jr., founder, chairman and CEO, Azalea Holdings; partner, Campus Crest Communities; chairman, executive committiee, Capital Bank Corp; co-founder and chairman, MXT Card Services, LLC
- Thomas Joseph Shannon, Jr., founder, T-Bird Restaurant Group, Inc. and Village Development Co.
- Denzel Washington, Academy Award winning actor and director
- Robert L. Wright, Jr., chairman, FE Holdings, Inc.
- Stephen A. Wynn, chairman and CEO, Wynn Resorts
The new members will be presented with their awards April 3rd at the Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies. Activities include three days of meetings and celebrations in some of the nation’s most historic buildings. The Horatio Alger National Scholars, remarkable high school seniors, will also be formally honored during the three-day gathering.
A complete list of all of the Horatio Alger Members can be found at http://www.horatioalger.com/members.cfm.
About The Horatio Alger Association
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association offers three annual scholarship programs: the National Scholarship Program and state scholarship programs, and graduate grants. The association awards nearly $7 million annually in college scholarships and has given more than $63 million to deserving students since 1984. The association is a 2008 Combined Federal Campaign participant, ID# 77062. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.