Leri Morton - fuelling education in memory of her father

Leri Morton had a deep family connection with the University of Sheffield. She left a gift in her Will of over £140,000 to set up a new scholarship in memory of her father John William Morton, who was a proud Sheffield alumnus.

Leri Morton portrait picture

The value of education

Leri was born and brought up in South Yorkshire. She massively valued education and particularly benefited from it. She gained an undergraduate and two postgraduate degrees in teaching. Following which, she herself became an educator, teaching Geography for her whole career. 

She saw the importance of education in her father's, John, life too. He initially missed out on the benefits of education, when he was sent to work at the age of 14. Instead of heading to Secondary school, John began work at Kiveton Park Colliery. However, determined to better himself and his craft, John attended engineering courses in his evenings for 6 years. He then moved to his next big step, from 1921 to 1923 he attended the University of Sheffield and earn his first-class certificate in Mining Engineering. He also became a member of the Institute of Mining Engineers. 

Throughout his life, he wholeheartedly believed in the benefits of education. He worked hard to give his four children the chances he wished he had and encourage them to take their education as far as they could.


The John William Morton scholarship

Throughout this article, you will meet the first three recipients of The John William Morton scholarship: Macole Lannaman, Aisha Mariam and Grace Tivnan. They will tell you a bit more about what their scholarships mean to them…

Grace Tivnan - John William Morton scholar

I am extremely grateful for being given this support as it has made a massive impact on my university experience. The scholarship has enabled me to be less worried about finances and focus more on my degree, and for that I am so thankful. Learning that the scholarship was funded by Leri in memory of her father made me feel even more appreciative, because I too lost my father when I was 12 and always found him as an inspiration to achieve in my education. I cannot begin to explain how much the Morton family and their gift has helped me and my family -  all I can say to Leri and John is thank you!” 

Grace Tivnan

BA Education, Culture and Childhood, Year 1

Aisha Mariam, John William Morton scholar

I am of the first generation in my family to have attended university and the only girl to have done so. Growing up I faced difficult times. I lost my father when I was 10 years old and my mother looked after my siblings and I, including my autistic older brother. Making the decision to pursue a STEM career as a woman was also very difficult too, as I was actively discouraged from doing so. I don’t lament these hardships, as they have shaped me to be the tenacious and hardworking person I am today. 

I am super grateful to receive this scholarship, more than I can express. I have not taken this for granted, I am making the most of the opportunity and want to give back in the future, just as I have been helped. 

Thank you for changing my life. God bless you Leri and John.”

Aisha Mariam

MSc Materials Science and Engineering

Macole Lannaman - John William Morton scholar

Personally, I wouldn’t really consider myself as ‘academic’. Reading and writing is not something that has ever come natural to me. My dissertation came from my passion and commitment to justice and equality, and was influenced by my own experiences in overcoming social and educational barriers. So I hope to represent a role model for others from minorities backgrounds in and out of education."

Macole Lannaman

MSc Psychology and Education (Conversion)

A family gift

Leri said it best herself:

“Dad himself was denied the opportunity to develop his considerable abilities further, and it fills me with respect and amazement that after gruelling manual labour he had the energy to study and make such a success of it. Thank you University of Sheffield for the opportunity he did have, and it is this opportunity which has led to my decision to leave you a bequest in the hope that it will benefit local students where possible.”

Leri felt that education had made such a difference to both of their lives that she left over £140,000 to be endowed to support student scholarships in her father’s name. This endowment will support one new undergraduate and one new postgraduate scholarship every year.  

The University is extremely grateful for Leri’s support to student scholarships.  If you would like further information about leaving a gift to the University in your Will, please contact our Philanthropy Manager, David Meadows. He would love to have a confidential chat with you about legacy giving or your specific wishes.

Telephone: 0114 222 1073
Email: d.meadows@sheffield.ac.uk