U.S. Air Force Veteran Awarded 2023 Legendary Service Award

Nicholas Morgan

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Nicholas Morgan, a decorated U.S. Air Force veteran and a junior earning his bachelor’s degree through The University of Alabama Online, is the recipient of this year’s Legendary Service Award.  

Morgan will be honored Saturday, Nov. 18, during the football game at Bryant-Denny Stadium, where the Crimson Tide faces the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The Legendary Service Award celebrates a past or present member of the armed forces who is a UA Online student and has made an exceptional impact serving their country and community.  

“We are proud to honor Mr. Morgan’s distinguished service in the military and continuing commitment to serve his community,” said Dr. Robert Hayes, associate provost for the Office of Teaching Innovation and Digital Education, which houses UA Online. “His perseverance in pursuing a degree through UA Online exemplifies the passionate drive for personal improvement that inspires us to deliver educational opportunities to lifelong learners every day.”

Morgan enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1999, working his way up to the rank of senior airman. He deployed to regions including South Korea, South Africa and the Middle East, and served as part of the Fly Away Security Team and undertook dignitary protection, counter-surveillance and counter-terrorism operations. He earned a V Device for valor in combat, a National Defense Service Medal and recognition for expert marksmanship. He later served as a flight trainer and Security Forces Leader at his home base.

Morgan worked on his personal and professional development through the Air Force, earning his associate degree in criminal justice. The 41-year-old disabled veteran will soon earn a bachelor’s degree in commerce and business administration from The University of Alabama. He receives a tuition grant for online courses through UA Online as part of the Legendary Service Award.  

Morgan said that when he began to continue his career outside of the military, “I was going up against folks who have formal education, but I don’t, and so that kind of restarted my journey.” The Las Vegas resident researched his options and chose UA Online because he found it the best suited to him.  

Despite having a full-time job with a food distribution company that requires travel and a family with three kids, Morgan keeps a consistent 4.0 GPA and still finds the time to volunteer and give back to his community. 

“I have a responsibility to go out and help other folks and, for my children, to teach them,” said Morgan. “You know, not everybody has a nice house and a pool.” 

Morgan helps through charities such as HopeLink, assisting job-seekers with resume creation and interview preparation; Project 150, which benefits homeless youth in Las Vegas; and several southern Nevada food banks, as well as charity events involving his local VFW chapter and Masonic lodge. 

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.


Deidre Stalnaker, UA Strategic Communications, deidre.stalnaker@ua.edu, 205-348-8718


Frank Farrar, UA Online, jffarrar@ccs.ua.edu, 205-348-2599