Arts & Humanities

Nicholas Morrison Recognized with Cazier Lifetime Achievement Award

By Marcus Jensen |

Video by Taylor Emerson, Digital Journalist, University Marketing & Communications

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University and the Caine College of Arts congratulate Professor Nicholas Morrison from the Department of Music for being awarded the 2022 Cazier Lifetime Achievement Award. Morrison was presented the award at USU’s second annual faculty awards ceremony on March 31.

“To be chosen from all the USU faculty is very humbling,” Morrison said. “I think this award is very representative of all my colleagues in the Caine College. Music and all of the arts are very collaborative enterprises. To me, this is a broader recognition that is about our programs and colleagues; I would not be here without them. I am very humbled, honored and grateful.”

One of the university’s most prestigious honors, the Cazier award recognizes senior faculty members who have demonstrated more than 20 years of consistent excellence in their academic careers. In his more than three decades at USU, Morrison has continually served the institution, faculty, students and the extended communities.

Morrison joined USU in 1991 and serves as professor of clarinet. Since joining the USU faculty, Morrison has taught clarinet studio, coached chamber music and has assisted with rehearsing and conducting large ensembles, including the Symphonic Band and Symphony Orchestra. During his time, he has also served as the director of the marching band and director of the alumni band. Through all his interactions with students, Morrison has loved seeing their growth and their thirst for knowledge and improvement. His view of giving everyone a chance to succeed is one he feels the university shares.

“I feel like we owe everyone a shot,” Morrison said. “And Utah State has an interesting story to tell that has always resonated with how I have approached things. At many major music schools, you don’t get a shot unless you are already good. Here, we understand that some students may come here not having had private lessons consistently in high school, because we are still a rural state. To be able to take those students and bring them along so that after four years they can have a successful career as a music teacher — that is special. This place has figured out how to support those students.”

Morrison has also been extremely involved in leadership positions at USU. He served as the senior/executive associate dean of the College of Arts from its founding until 2020 and also served as associate dean in the College of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences, interim head of the Department of Music, interim director of the Interior Design Program and as interim director of the University Honors Program. According to Morrison, one of the highlights of his career has been being involved in the formation of the Caine College.

“That is a unique experience to be in on the ground level of seeing what it takes to put a college together,” he said.

Morrison recalled the changes that have happened at USU since he first came to the campus 31 years ago. He recalled not having email to communicate with fellow colleagues and students. He also shared how professors used to travel around the state to teach courses, and now the internet can bring classes anywhere there is a connection. He has loved seeing USU grow, both in total number of students and the university’s reach via statewide campuses.

“The institution had about 13,000 students when I first came and we have more than doubled that now,” he said. “And there were no such things as regional campuses at that time. It’s been amazing to see the institution grow up in that service to the whole state.”

Morrison started playing clarinet at the age of 12 in North Carolina, still remembers his first instructor: Ms. Sikes. Morrison is the principal clarinet of the American Festival Orchestra and is a frequent substitute for the Utah Symphony and he still loves to perform. He is grateful his position allows him to have those opportunities.

“From the very beginning, all of my administrators have realized that, as a performing musician, you can’t make your career without leaving the valley,” he said. “All of my administrators have been very generous in allowing me time to travel for performances, master classes and other professional work.

It is great to bring that experience back to the students as well.”

Because the Cazier Professor Lifetime Achievement Award is an endowed award, Morrison will carry the title of Cazier Professor throughout the rest of his career at USU.


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Nicholas Morrison
Professor of Clarinet
Department of Music
(435) 797-3506


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