(Biography as published in Commencement Program 12/97)

Ben Rankin Morris, former publisher of The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C., rightfully claims deep NC State roots. His late father Theodore Page Morris (NC State Class of 1919) was the nephew of Walter Hines Page, one of the university’s founding fathers.

Morris, himself, earned a degree in textile engineering from NC State after service in the Army Air Corps in World War II. The Gaston native spent 20 successful years in the textile industry, before entering newspaper publishing. He transformed the family-owned newspaper into a thriving corporation with eight subsidiaries in four states.

As an executive with Knight-Ridder, he championed many public issues, including a movement to restrain state and federal government spending. His efforts led to the approval of a constitutional amendment being approved by South Carolina voters to tie state taxation to growth in personal incomes. He later spearheaded a statewide petition drive calling for a U.S. Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

Morris was president of the S.C. State Chamber of Commerce in 1974, was appointed by Gov. John C. West to the first state Commission on Human Affairs, and was named to the S.C. Business Hall of Fame in 1990. He is an advocate for the Junior Achievement Program and has served on its local advisory board and as honorary chairman of the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame. He has won numerous awards which recognize his contributions to the community and society.

Morris and his wife, Henriette, live in Columbia and have four married children and nine grandchildren.