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 at its North Bishop Avenue location.


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 at its North Bishop Avenue location.

Morris made a donation of property with a building he owned 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.

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.