William S. “Billy” Morris III is founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Morris Communications Co. and publisher of The Augusta Chronicle, the company’s first newspaper.
Under Morris’ leadership, MCC has grown to become a diversified, midsize media company operating across the United States and abroad. The privately held company owns and operates newspapers, radio stations, visitor publications, outdoor advertising, magazine and book publishing businesses and online services.
Morris is a leader in the media industry. He is a past member of the Associated Press board of directors and the Advertising Council Inc. and has been a president of the Newspaper Association of America. He received the first Bottom Line Award from the Media Management Club of the University of Georgia for his contributions to publications management education at the school and was inducted in the Mass Communication Hall of Fame at Texas Tech University School of Communications.
A strong advocate of giving back to the communities where MCC serves, Morris has received numerous awards including the Greater Augusta Arts Council President’s Award for initiating a study that was instrumental in forming a downtown cultural arts corridor that enhanced revitalization of Augusta’s riverfront.
Morris is chairman of the board of the Morris Museum of Art, which he established in memory of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. William S. Morris Jr. In memory of his father, he also established the Eminent Scholars Chair of Art at Augusta State University and the William S. Morris Chair of Newspaper Strategy and Management at the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. In memory of his mother, he has established the Florence Hill Morris Memorial Scholarship at Columbia Theological Seminary, where he currently serves on the board of trustees.
Morris was instrumental in starting the Augusta Futurity, the largest cutting horse competition east of the Mississippi, and he helped found the National Barrel Horse Association and is its chief executive officer.
A native of Augusta, Morris holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and was named the 1983 Outstanding Alumnus of the school’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.