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Caitlin ConleyCaitlin Conley Wise will never forget the day she met Steve and Laura Morris, who are making her college dreams a reality.

“It seemed surreal that absolute strangers would invest in me and care about my journey through college,” said Wise as she recalled the dinner she had with Morrises. “I want to do something for them to say thank you. But they just want me to be the best student that I can.”

Wise is part of the university’s first-year class of Haslam Scholars and the first student to benefit from the M. Steven and Laura Capps Morris Endowed Honors Scholarship, awarded to an outstanding student each fall. The Morris Endowed Honors Scholarship was established in partnership with the university’s premier scholarship effort created by UT benefactors Jim, Natalie, Jimmy, and Dee Haslam. The Haslam Family Scholars Program Endowment provides each Haslam scholar with a laptop, a study-abroad stipend and other benefits while individual scholarships, such as the Morris Endowed Honors Scholarship, provide funding to recruit the brightest students.

Wise said, “I have traveled to Europe to learn about the history of the university and to China to serve in an orphanage. I have taken classes that have taught me about physics, biology, politics, pottery, and the human body.

“I am more than prepared to care for people in their hour of need as a nurse. They believed in my success, not as a statistic, but as an individual, creative soul—that’s truly priceless.”

Raised in the Morrises’ hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, Wise said she plans on staying in touch with the Morrises and hopes she can be a godsend like them someday.