No Task Too Small for PTC Staff Excellence Award Winner

January 28, 2021

Legendary football great Roger Staubach once aptly noted: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” If that is so, then Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Financial Aid Counselor Deshawn Morgan is the king of the road indeed. The 42-year-old, two-time PTC alumnus, who has worked in financial aid at the college for more than a decade, recently was honored by his work peers with the 2020 Staff Excellence Award.

“Deshawn is always willing to assist a student, even if that means giving up part of his lunch break or going home late,” Financial Aid Director Missy Perry wrote in her nomination of Morgan for the award. “If he is in the middle of working on a task and a student needs to ask him a question, that student gets his full attention.”

Morgan can personally relate to the students he counsels. He holds two degrees from PTC, one in building construction technology (1999) and the other in general business (2005). He worked in construction for a couple of years before returning to school after the company he was working for went out of business. Associate Dean of Students David Rosenbaum remembers Morgan well from when he was a student. Rosenbaum was impressed by Morgan’s positive attitude and consistent delivery of excellent customer service when the then-student worked on campus.

Rosenbaum said that Morgan continued to exemplify those great qualities when he transitioned over to working in the Financial Aid office, which is where he has made his greatest contributions as a PTC staff member.

“I know that his primary responsibilities in the Financial Aid office are challenging enough, and I always find him to be helpful when I am needing assistance with a student situation,” he added. “I have also appreciated that Deshawn has been willing to get involved in extra activities that probably fall under the ‘other duties as assigned’ category.”

For his part, Morgan takes inspiration from another sports legend, LeBron James.

“If I had a motto, it would probably be: ‘Whatever you do, strive for greatness,’” Morgan said, quoting the NBA star. A strong work ethic, combined with a natural affinity to befriend young people, help the outgoing bachelor in his chosen field. “I think I have been blessed because, for some reason, kids love me. My friends’ kids seem to enjoy playing with me and stuff when I come over to their house. It may be because I’m not there 24/7. I like to play games with them and listen to what they have to say.”

Perry noted that, among Morgan’s many great qualities, is a “naturally calming demeanor,” which serves him especially well when dealing with students who may be under some financial stress. Morgan, who attends NewSpring Church in Greenwood, attributes that grace to a higher power.

“It comes from meditation and having a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father,” Morgan said.

Morgan’s co-workers seem united in their high regard of him. Fellow Financial Aid Counselor Jessi Greenbough wrote a letter of support for his nomination for the Staff Excellence Award.

“Deshawn has always been one of my ‘go-to’ coworkers whenever questions arise, and he never hesitates to lend a helping hand,” she wrote in her letter. “His warm personality and kindness to students and staff are a much-needed and appreciated asset in the Enrollment Center. As one of the first points of contact with students, Deshawn is exactly the type of person our students need.”

If Morgan could have one job-related wish granted, it might be to reduce the processing time for students’ FAFSA applications. Waiting truly is the hardest part, because timing can be critical for those wanting to begin classes on a certain date at the start of a term.

“Sometimes that can be very challenging,” he said. “There can be drops for non-payment. I have to help them come up with a payment plan until their funding comes through.”

Morgan says he gets along with everybody in the Financial Aid Department and appreciates the camaraderie they share. “I think it’s a pretty dependable team. Anything we may need, we have each other’s back.”

Perry admires that Morgan enthusiastically seizes any professional development opportunity that comes his way. His conscientiousness led him to earn a National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) credential in Direct Loans.

“Deshawn is always offering advice and ideas of making things run more smoothly within the office,” she said. “He is a product of PTC. He is a graduate and has recognized how his PTC education assisted with transforming his life, and he strives every day to make sure that each student and employee he encounters has the same positive experience.”

In his free time, Morgan likes to be outdoors, fishing or hitting the links. He played competitive golf as a junior at Greenwood High School. Now as an adult, he feels almost like a parent when he witnesses the successes of students he has assisted.

“I like working directly with students and showing them how financial aid works,” Morgan said. “I also like to see them through to graduation ― to see them walk across the stage.”

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PHOTOS:

Deshawn Morgan receiving the PTC Staff Excellence Award
Morgan hits the links.
Morgan with the day’s catch.
Morgan in one of his favorite pastimes.