Five Questions with David Morris

In our Five Question series, faculty at the University of Kansas School of Business share their insights, experiences and advice for students.

KU School of Business
3 min readFeb 22, 2024
David Morris

Professor of the practice and Entrepreneur-in-Residence David Morris is a Topeka, Kansas, native and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Trinity University and a joint MBA/J.D. from Southern Methodist University.

Morris established a company to spin off the ZuPreem line of prepared diets for zoo animals from Hill’s Pet Nutrition following the completion of his graduate degrees. In April 2021, he sold ZuPreem to a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world. He is active in numerous charitable organizations and is a trustee of the Morris Animal Foundation and a member of Innovation in Motion, an early-stage venture capital group.

He leads the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, which works with undergraduate and graduate students who are actively working toward launching a venture.

What got you interested in your field, and what is the most rewarding part of being involved in it?

I grew up in an entrepreneurial family active in the animal nutrition space. Animals were a special interest of mine since I was a young boy, and I had the opportunity to combine my career with my passion while also continuing the family legacy.

Too often, young people believe they must first “find their passion” before making a career choice versus becoming passionate about whatever they may select. However, I was very lucky in that I was able to combine my career with something I was already passionate about.

To me, creating is fun and the core of entrepreneurship.

What is your favorite part about being a Jayhawk?

The opportunity to give back to the KU community, which starting in the early 1950s has been so important to my family. While I did not attend KU, most of my family did, and the university has played such an important role in our lives. I am so excited that my youngest son will become a freshman Jayhawk this fall.

What would you see yourself doing if you weren’t a professor?

Since I am a part-time professor, this is easy to answer. I spend a fair amount of time in social entrepreneurship, helping guide charitable organizations through their entrepreneurial journeys. Recently, I helped a relatively early-stage charity committed to building relationships between police officers and the local community in Kansas City, Kansas. They are doing amazingly important work and having a lot of success changing the lives of young people. I am also helping a very mature charity navigate the solidification of its operating and governance models following a period of significant transformation in its business model.

What advice would you give your college self?

To be very mindful that there is no “dress rehearsal” in life. In most cases, we only have one chance to be a college student, and the decisions you make today will disproportionately impact the trajectory of your career — and as a result — your life. This doesn’t mean there will not be opportunities to course correct or pivot to a new career path. However, the choices you make today will impact the degree to which doors will remain open or may be harder to pry open in the future.

If you could require students to read one thing before graduation (outside of your class reading), what would it be and why?

This is easy. It is Scott Galloway’s “The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning.” The book is based upon some of his off-topic lectures in his brand strategy class at NYU’s Stern School of Business. This is a book that I have shared with my oldest son, who is a junior in college, as well as some other college students. I believe Galloway provides some very sage advice on how life typically evolves for most people and provides a bit of a road map for decisions you can make both today and in the near future so you can “skate to where the puck will most likely be.” Plus, it’s an easy and entertaining book to read.



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