Distinguished Alum: Jackie Morris-Henderson, 1962-2019

Jackie Morris-Henderson, who died Aug. 26, 2019, leaves a legacy of leadership and passion for the Sac State community.
Tue Sep 10, 2019

By University Communications Staff

During her long career at Sacramento State, Jackie Morris-Henderson '87 (Business Administration), '92 (Communications Studies) displayed an energetic persona and time and again showed a singular ability to work across organizational boundaries and carry out leadership roles that helped define the University.

In recognition of her achievements, Morris-Henderson, whose Aug. 26 death at age 56 shook the University community, is being honored as one of Sac State's 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients. The presentation of the Distinguished Service Award is to be made to her family during a Sept. 12 dinner and ceremony during which this year's other DAA recipients also are to be honored.

In his note to students, faculty, and staff following Morris-Henderson's death, Sacramento State President Robert S. Nelsen wrote, "My heart is broken."

In her more than 30 years with the University and beginning as a student employee, Morris-Henderson was a highly visible presence representing varied Sacramento State offices at functions ranging from fundraisers to Commencement to tailgate gatherings.

One of her lasting legacies was the establishment of the Sacramento State Alumni Association's Black Alumni Chapter (BAC), which she founded in 2007. She also served four years as its president. BAC provides holistic support for the University’s black students through scholarships and social events such as the annual Black Student Welcome in September and the Soul Food Supper in February. 

Morris-Henderson began her tenure at Sacramento State as a student employee before graduating in 1987 with a bachelor of science in Business Administration. She subsequently earned a bachelor of arts in Communication Studies in 1992. She completed her master of science in Human Resources and Organizational Development in 1999 at the University of San Francisco.

She worked in several departments across campus, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, Outreach and Retention, and University Advancement. Her University Advancement tenure began in University Development, and she later moved to oversee the stewardship of scholarship funds. She was passionate about the opportunities created by scholarships and the role they could play in supporting the next generation of students. She displayed love for her work and took great pride in her role, which she executed with great purpose.

As an energetic member of the Sacramento community, Morris-Henderson served with numerous groups and committees to better the lives of people around her. Her associations included: the Cultural Advisory Council for the California State Fair; the California State Fair Scholarship Committee; the Graduate Diversity Scholarship Committee; the Project Rebound Program Committee; the National Association of Professional Women; the Honors Program Scholarship Committee; the Black Alumni Chapter; the Martin Luther King Jr. Center Task Force; the Campus Educational Equity Committee; and the Cooper Woodson College Campus Graduation/Celebration Committee.

"We will remember her for her boisterous laughter, ever-present smile, vivacious spirit, and relentless commitment to our students and alumni," Nelsen wrote in his note to the University community. "She brought joy to everything she was involved in. Her work at Sacramento State will stand as a testament to her love for this University."

A campus-wide celebration of Morris-Henderson's life was held on Sept. 5. The Black Alumni Chapter has renamed its main scholarship the Jackie Morris-Henderson Scholarship.

Contributions can be made online and also by check.

For online contributions, please designate Scholarships and Student Programs, and for the account, choose Jackie Morris-Henderson Scholarship.

Check donations may be made payable to University Foundation at Sacramento State and sent to Sacramento State Development, Attn: JMH Scholarship, 6000 J Street, MS 6030, Sacramento, CA 95819.