ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – U2 lead singer Bono can now add the Fulbright Prize for International Understanding to his mantle in part because of one ACU professor’s nomination.

Bono and Abilene Christian University are two topics typically not brought up in the same conversation. However, for Dr. Jason Morris, Dean of ACU’s Honor’s College and Fulbright advisor for the university, his love for the singer and global charity have brought together two unlikely parties.

The Fulbright Prize for International Understanding aims to recognize those with “outstanding contributions toward bringing peoples, cultures, or nations to greater understanding of others.”

Nearly two years ago, Morris wrote a two-page nomination for Bono after reviewing the list of nominees for the award. Morris cites Bono’s work in Africa as the main focus for his nomination.

“Bono had done a lot of work particularly for the continent of Africa, particularly in debt reduction and also helping to fight AIDS on the continent,” Morris said. “I noticed his name wasn’t on the list and thought he’d be a great nomination for that award.” 

Due to the pandemic, Morris was unable to receive word on how his nomination was taken, until just a few months ago. The lifelong U2 and Bono fan received an email from the Fulbright Association saying his nomination for Bono was accepted and he had won.

Morris and his wife were able to fly to Washington D.C. to be apart of the event because ACU was elected a collegiate sponsor and was able to meet one of his heroes.

“I got to be there and watch his acceptance speech and see him be given the award,” Morris said of the event.

While it was only brief Morris was able to speak with the Irish musician, shaking his hand and bonding over one legendary country singer.

“I knew he was a big fan and friend of Johnny Cash, and one of my colleagues here at ACU, Dr. Richard Beck, wrote a book recently about the life of Johnny Cash.” Morris said.

Morris, with book in hand, presented Bono with the book and spoke of ACU’s efforts to encourage students to pursue Fulbright scholarships and become mission oriented individuals.

“To see someone like Bono receive the award on a national level really motivates me to come back and work with these great, bright, talented students who are interested in being apart of that program.” Morris said.

Morris said ACU has had a longstanding relationship with the Fulbright Association, and was apart of the 2018-19 list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most Fulbright students.