Columbia College-Rolla celebrates anniversary with substantial gift from Springfield-based philanthropist, Jim D. Morris

Dr. Gerald Brouder, Columbia College president, with Jim D. Morris
Columbia College-Rolla announced a leadership gift of more than $800,000 from Springfield-area entrepreneur and real estate developer Jim D. Morris at the campus’ 15th anniversary celebration held Sept. 23 at its North Bishop Avenue location. Morris made a donation of property with a building he owned located on Blues Lake Parkway in Rolla West, the city’s primary development zone. That property will be used for a new Columbia College-Rolla campus, nearly quadrupling its size. 
Morris’ gift is the second largest gift by a living donor in Columbia College history and the largest gift given to a Columbia College Nationwide Campus to date.

“This is an historic occasion for Columbia College,” said Dr. Gerald Brouder, president of Columbia College. “The generosity of Mr. Morris will have a profound and lasting impact on the institution for years to come.”
Dr. Greg Stratman, director of the Rolla campus, said, “We feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to move to this new facility. It allows us to expand our programs and implement plans for the future that until now have just been dreams.”
Morris, originally from Campbell, Mo., founded Morris Oil Company, Signature Bank and Morris Group Hotels; built the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater and entertainment complex in Branson, Mo.; and owned Chevrolet and boat dealerships.
His philanthropic resume is extensive, with donations to the Boys & Girls Town of Missouri; Care to Learn Fund for Springfield Public Schools, co-founded with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; a 1926 art deco theater in Springfield, the Gillioz; continuing education and athletic facilities for Missouri State University; fire departments, health centers and many more.
Established in 1992, Columbia College-Rolla was originally an extension of Columbia College-Fort Leonard Wood. In 1996, due to enrollment growth, Columbia College-Rolla was established as a separate campus.
Columbia College-Rolla offers six associate degrees, 11 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree program on campus as well as 23 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees online.