Alumnus Spotlight: Nicholas Morris Reflects on his Time Studying Finance at USF
By Keith Morelli
TAMPA (July 13, 2021) -- Nicholas Morris just finished his degree in finance with a minor in entrepreneurial studies and the Tampa native, who studied both in the Muma College of Business and the USF Judy Genshaft Honors College, is on the threshold of the next chapter of his life. Still, he looks back at his academic career fondly.
“USF seemed to be a perfect fit for me,” Morris said. “I chose USF not just because I live in Tampa, but also because I knew that as both the city of Tampa and USF continued to grow, so could I. I was ready to take advantage of the amazing opportunities this community has to offer.”
Morris graduated in May. He plans to work for a year, then it’s off to law school to pursue a professional goal of working as an attorney focused on mergers and acquisitions. He knows his future success is rooted in his love of business, a love that stretches back to his first business class in the senior year of high school.
He decided that a degree in finance would be the best fit for him, and he soon discovered the value of learning experiences outside the classroom.
“Through my junior and senior years, I truly pushed myself to take on every opportunity,” he said. “As a junior, a business I had proposed to USF Connect was accepted to be a part of the 2019-20 cohort of USF Connect’s Student Innovation Incubator. My company, drvwy, set out to tackle local parking problems through the creation of a peer-to-peer parking platform that would allow individuals to rent out their driveways or other private properties to expand the parking infrastructure in their local areas.”
The effort led to Morris having a booth at the Synapse Summit at Amalie Arena. Last year, Morris was selected by the USF Center of Entrepreneurship to solely represent USF at the Governor’s Cup, a statewide pitch competition taking place at FAU in late April.
“That May, after pitching my business in the Frank and Ellen Daveler Entrepreneurship Program, I was selected as a Daveler Scholar, one of five in Florida and the only USF student to achieve the honor for 2020,” Morris said. “Unfortunately, COVID-19 had temporarily halted most activities related to the company.”
In November 2019, Morris was named the investor database and relations intern at the Tampa Bay Wave, an accelerator program for early-stage technology companies started by several local Tampa business founders in 2008. Through this experience, he connected with a trove of talented people throughout the Tampa Bay area and beyond.
He was named event coordinator for a joint three-year, non-solicitation EDA grant-powered initiative called Upsurge Florida.
“This initiative was led by the Tampa Bay Wave and an Orlando-based accelerator called StarterStudio,” Morris said. “Through my efforts with Upsurge Florida, I connected myself and others to the companies, the investors, the colleges and universities, the community leaders and the entrepreneurial support organizations that drive innovation from the Space Coast to the Gulf Coast.
“Beyond the classroom, I dedicated a lot of time to the USF Student Investment Club,” he said. “For the last two years, I have served as the head of marketing, helping the club become the largest business organization on campus with over 850 members.”
Reflecting on his USF career, Morris offers the following advice to his younger, first-year self: “Challenge yourself and stay curious with the understanding that these things will lead to personal and professional development.”