Each year Onondaga Community College recognizes distinguished graduates who have made a difference in their community and professional life, naming them "Alumni Faces" honorees. On the night of Wednesday, October 18 at 5:30 p.m. in the Frederick Marvin and Ernst Schuh Recital Hall in the Academic II building, we will pay tribute to the Alumni Faces Class of 2023. In the weeks leading up to the event we are proudly profiling our honorees on our website and social media. Today we introduce you to Bryan Morris '14.
Bryan Morris served his country as a member of the military, returned home to Central New York, and made Onondaga Community College his first step on the road to a career. Today he's an engineer at Micron Technology in Boise, Idaho and a member of OCC's Alumni Faces class of 2023. "It's an honor to be selected. OCC was the foundation for the trajectory of my life after the military and I truly value the education and experience I received there."
Morris grew up in tiny Red Creek (population 488) which is about an hour northwest of the OCC campus. He graduated high school in 2004 and, without any sort of a life plan, decided to join the United States Air Force. He would spend four-and-a-half years serving his country, doing tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait. When he wasn't deployed, he was stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho. While in Boise, he would begin dating the woman whom he would eventually marry.
Morris was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 2012 and returned to Central New York. He knew he wanted to pursue an engineering-related degree but wasn't sure where to begin. A family friend gave him valuable advice. "He suggested I do 2 years at OCC, then 2 years at Syracuse University which he had done when he was younger. I was a little nervous about starting at S.U. because I hadn't been in school in 8 years."
Morris took his advice and enrolled at OCC in January of 2013. He was an outstanding student, earning membership in the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. When he wasn't in class he could usually be found in the Student Veterans office where he was a work-study student, was good at finding a quiet space where he could do his coursework, and bonded with fellow Student Veterans. "I spent a lot of time in there doing homework and sharing stories. It was a great environment. I absolutely loved it."
In the summer of 2013 he got married. The next year he completed his Engineering Science degree at OCC. He would transfer to Syracuse University and earn his bachelor's degree in 2016.
Morris and his wife would eventually move back to Boise where he now works as an engineer at Micron Technology. He helps develop the production equipment that makes what is known in the industry as "wafers" which hold semi conductor chips. In 2022 Congress passed a bill which incentivizes building chips in the United States. Shortly after that, Micron announced it would build a $15 billion dollar high volume manufacturing plant in Boise next to where Morris works.
Eleven years after leaving the Air Force and deciding to come to OCC, Morris' life couldn't be much better. He and his wife have two sons, ages 7 and 5, and he has an in-demand job in an in-demand industry. "It's been a long process but I'm pretty happy where I am. I'm always looking toward the future but I feel pretty lucky."
As he reflects on his journey, he's grateful for his OCC experience and the home he and fellow Student Veterans had in what is now known as the Office of Veterans and Military Services. "The military to civilian transition is difficult, especially when going to college since your perspective on life is vastly different from surrounding students, so much so that it can be rather isolating. My experience at OCC connected me with fellow Veterans and helped guide me along the way."
Earlier this year Morris was profiled in a story by WSYR TV NewsChannel 9's Andrew Donovan and Bill Goldschmidt. You can view the story by clicking on this link.