Dr. Miller reminisces about Herb Morris (1919 - 2012)
April 23, 2013
Herb Morris came to Bradley University in the fall of 1965 to direct Computing Services, which was located in Holmes Hall, and to establish an academic computing program. Herb had worked in the computing industry from the early 1950’s making him one of the early pioneers in the computing field. In addition, he had taught computing classes, mostly at the graduate level, to working professionals during his time in industry. He leveraged his background to begin the computing program at Bradley. The original coursework was created at the graduate level initially and was listed in the Graduate Catalog in the latter part of the 1960’s. Thus, the Department of CS&IS has always had a graduate program associated with it – graduate education is a part of our legacy from Herb.
By the early 1970’s there were both undergraduate and graduate coursework offered by a part-time faculty of four (they also had other positions), and a separate academic program was created. Originally it was a free standing academic unit within the University (1972) and later became a full department within the College of LAS (1973) with Herb as the first (founding) Department Chair with the first graduating class in 1974. Herb continued as Department Chair into the 1980’s. Herb retired in 1993 and became the Department’s first Emeritus faculty member.
Herb was “green” before it was fashionable – he walked to school almost every day. Herb wore his hiking boots to school and kept his wing-tip shoes (and socks) in the bottom drawer of his desk and would change shoes when he got to school and back again at the end of the day. He would frequently sponsor hiking trips to various parks for students during the spring break. Herb was a gardener and helped to run the Sierra Club’s garden plots in town.
Herb loved teaching and working with students. He would spend hours in his office with students – there were frequently lines of students waiting patiently outside his office. He was willing to work with students about things outside of computing. He once spent hours tutoring a student in calculus to ensure that the student could meet the required mathematics requirement for the major. He also spent time just talking with a student who was gifted academically but socially awkward.
Herb is no longer with us but his presence and impact on the department will always be remembered.