Women of Distinction


Jillian Fitzmorris (Middle)

Jillian Fitzmorris, Guthrie and Mariscal


  • University Women's Club Scholarship, 2010-‘11
  • Pearson "Touch the World Essay" National Social Work Scholarship
  • Americorps "Careers for the Common Good Volunteer" at Quail Run Elementary School, 2010-‘11
  • Best Buddies Media/Fundraising Coordinator, 2010-‘11
  • Multicultural Scholars Program, 2008-‘10
  • Holiday Inn Employee of the Year, 2009
  • BSW Student Group Vice President, 2009-‘10
  • Non-Traditional Student Leadership Scholarship, 2010
  • Leadershape 2010 Graduate
  • Dot Simmons and Dodie Abbot Scholarship 2011

How I became interested in my field:

Growing up as a minority and low-income student, I’ve met several Social Workers who were inspiring and helped me and my family in times of need and distress. Also, when my father passed away, a hospice worker was very supportive to my mother and showed compassion to her.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:

Being chosen to carry my school’s banner (Social Welfare) at Graduation-May 2011. It meant a lot because there are many exceptional students in social work that could have been chosen and knowing that the Social Welfare faculty regard me as worthy of this high honor was very special. All my years of hard work seemed to pay off and be valued by others and that was a great feeling of pride and inspiration.

Someone who has been a role model for me and why:

My mother (Rose Hernaez Proctor) because of her resiliency, strength, passion and love for life and her family. Although she faced challenges as a Filipina American with physical disabilities and our family was low-income, she never acted like we were poor. She always motivated my brother and me to reach for our dreams and always supported us any way she could!

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:

My father, the late Gordon Proctor, who was an US Army veteran, business man and artist. He said ‘you never stop learning.’ and instilled a love for education, music, travel, storytelling, comedy and finding lasting friendships in me.

My favorite KU memory:

Holding the Social Work banner at my Master’s degree graduation this past May, 2011 while being pregnant with my first child, Brenya and seeing my husband, Eric, and mother, Rose, smile at me from the stadium stands, holding up signs cheering me on. It was a great memory!!

An important life lesson I have learned:

It is up to me to succeed and reach my goals. Despite the setbacks- emotionally, financially, and health related- as long as I believe in myself, anything is possible. Also, many people care about you if you reach out and care about others.

If I had a sister just entering college, I would want her to know…

That it is important to be involved with the campus and local community. This helps you learn a great deal about yourself and the world and also provides opportunities to win scholarships which can help cut the cost/burden of paying for college on your own when you have no parental/family financial support. Also, you have to find these opportunities yourself, but it’s worth the paperwork and time!

A favorite quote or saying and why it is meaningful to me:

“No man is a failure who has friends.”
Jimmy Stewart from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”

I’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have such wonderful family and friends throughout the good and bad times in my life who have encouraged, supported and loved me. My life is a great success in that light and everything else is a bonus.