Lessons in Service and Leadership from Army Captain Nick Morton ’02

Nick Morton ’02 was a few weeks into his senior year at Milton when the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, stirred in him the need to serve. Before graduating from Milton, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve — and began a lifelong military career.

Now an army captain, Nick was the 2019 Veterans Day speaker.

“We spent the days and months trying to process what had happened” after the 2001 attacks, he said about the many conversations he had with classmates. “I can’t speak to what my classmates felt at that time, but for me, it began to synthesize this sense that I wanted to become part of something bigger than myself. I started wondering if I had something to give, if I could be of value.”

As a soldier, Nick has served as a weapons troop commander, infantry company commander, air operations officer, platoon leader, and civil affairs sergeant, with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. His military education includes graduation from the Army Ranger School, where he finished in the top 15 percent of students that completed all phases of the grueling program on the first attempt. Nick has been awarded the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal, among others.

He received his bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Maryland at College Park and his M.S. in organizational leadership from Columbus State University. He is currently working toward his master’s degree in public administration at Harvard Kennedy School.


The curiosity to ask why and the courage to speak out are qualities that lead to innovation and change. The individuals featured in this issue embody these qualities. Through their questioning, leadership, and willingness to share their views, they are making a difference–in their professions and in the world.