2020 Distinguished Past Student Winner 

Morris (Morrie) graduated from the Queensland Agricultural College (now The University of Queensland’s Gatton Campus) in 1972 with a Bachelor of Applied Science. In addition to his scholastic interests, he threw himself into the sporting and cultural life of the college. He was awarded half colours in debating in 1969 and full colours in soccer in 1970. In addition, Morrie served as Thynne House Captain and won a shearing competition in the Foundation Day sports in 1971.

After graduation, Morrie’s career took a different path from many of his colleagues. By chance he attended a lecture by Stuart Robertson who had just returned from working in South-East Asia. This was a defining moment in Morrie’s life. 

In 1977, having completed a Graduate of Theology course from Malyon Theological College in Brisbane, he volunteered as a missionary in the Baptist Church and headed to Bangladesh where he spent several years.

Morrie returned to Australia in 1981 and married Roslyn Webster, a nurse from Toowoomba, the following year.  The pair went to Bangladesh to work and raise a family.

For nine years, their family lived mostly in provincial towns and rural communities serving poverty-stricken people. In 1991 Morrie returned to Australia and three years later set up Symbiosis International, a registered Australian charity.

With headquarters in the Brisbane's Mitchelton, Symbiosis was formed to tackle the problem of social change in an ultra-conservative Muslim country. It works with those who are illiterate and landless, mainly women in rural areas, and other disadvantaged groups including ethnic minorities and people with disabilities. Its motto is ‘working together for good’. Currently, Symbiosis International sponsors 65 CBOs and 976 village groups in various parts of Bangladesh. In 2020, Morrie retired as CEO of Symbiosis International but is still active within the organisation.

Morrie has been an outstanding ambassador for UQ Gatton and the nation.