Upon the opening of New York’s New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music (NS/J) in 1986, there was an immediate bond between NS/J and Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA), thanks to the outreach of NS/J’s founding artistic director, Arnie Lawrence (1938 – 2005). Largely due to Mr. Lawrence’s efforts, HSPVA bassist Chris Walker was a member of NS/J’s very first student body, having been heavily “recruited” by Arnie. In the subsequent years, many of HSPVA’s best jazz students have enrolled at NS/J, virtually all with substantial scholarship support from the university.
Robert “Doc” Morgan retired in 1999 after a twenty-three year career as Director of Jazz Studies at HSPVA. To commemorate his career and the invaluable opportunities afforded HSPVA graduates by NS/J, in August, 1999, Doc and Helen Morgan, in partnership with the SBC Foundation, endowed the “Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship” at the New School. One “Morgan Scholar” is chosen each year, with he/she receiving a substantial tuition credit from the endowment fund. The student must be a graduate of HSPVA, and, once awarded, the scholarship may be renewed to same student for a total of four years (assuming he/she remains in good standing, etc.).
Recipients of the Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship to date include:
2000: Alan Hampton (bass/singer/songwriter)
2003: Chase Jordan (vibraphone)
2007: Corey King (trombone)
2008: Cory Cox (drums)
2011: Brenton Johnson (piano)
2013: Sterling Overshown (piano)
2017: Bryant Troy Hunter (drums
2018: Elijah Micheaux (trumpet)
2019: Thomas Swindell (guitar)
2022: Phineas Davenport (piano)
Congratulations to the 2022 scholarship recipient, Phineas Davenport, Kinder HSPVA class of 2019!
Thus far, DocFest has contributed over $200,000 to the Helen and Bob Morgan Jazz Scholarship.