Faculty, staff and alumni of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment at the University of Virginia are mourning the loss of a colleague and former associate dean at the School of Engineering, David Morris. Morris, a resident of Charlottesville and Rockbridge Baths, died Sunday, June 16, 2019.

In addition to his teaching and research, his long career at UVA was distinguished by his service as assistant dean and associate dean for academic affairs, and his involvement in numerous UVA organizations such as The Raven Society. He retired in 2002 as professor emeritus.

He was involved in developing numerous new programs, including the Rodman Scholars Program; minority programs, now housed in the Office of Diversity and Engagement; and an overseas exchange program for graduate students.

Paxton Marshall, professor emeritus of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a former associate dean, worked for Morris in the dean’s office. They remained friends in retirement and Marshall was often by his side when he became ill.

“Dave Morris was the prototype of the humane engineer. Well-read, kind and sympathetic, he reflected these characteristics, through his role overseeing the Engineering School’s educational programs, into a vision of the broadly educated, socially conscious engineer,” Marshall said. “He introduced design courses and seminars that required students to address engineering problems within a social and ethical context.”

Marshall said Morris not only recruited underrepresented minority students, he made sure to provide them the resources and support to succeed. As a far-ranging traveler, Morris also developed programs of international study and internships to prepare students to contribute to an increasingly interconnected world, his friend said.

“By his own example of compassion and fairness, he demanded high standards of effort and performance from his students,” Marshall said. “He provided his students with the very model for work and life that UVA Engineering has long been known for instilling in its graduates.”

During Morris’ time as a School administrator, he also served with Richard Miksad, dean emeritus of UVA Engineering and Thomas M. Linville Endowed Professor emeritus of the Department of Engineering Systems and Environment. Miksad remembers Morris as a “gentleman and a scholar” whose disposition could turn your whole day around.

“Every morning became a sunny day when he walked through the door,” Miksad said. “David was a one-of-a-kind colleague, who personified the civility of academic life. Saying a final good bye to David is an extremely sad moment in my life.”

Morris was born May 9, 1933, in Jackson, Miss., to the late Helen Crossman and William Worth Morris, and grew up in Shelby, N.C. He earned his B.S. in civil engineering and an ROTC commission in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1955 at Clemson College, now Clemson University. Following active military service, he earned an M.S. in structural engineering from North Carolina State University and spent two years in private practice before returning to school for his Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1964. He joined UVA’s civil engineering faculty in 1966.

Morris taught a broad range of topics during his tenure. His research focused on operations techniques for planning, analysis, design, optimization and cost-benefit analysis of large-scale civil engineering projects, according to the obituary. His research led to two National Science Foundation-funded sabbatical leaves at Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies and Clare College at Cambridge University in England.

Morris was active in both civic and professional organizations, including the Virginia Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Surviving him are his wife, Dougie; his daughter, Catherine Harrington, and husband, Jim; his son, Steven, and wife, Molly; grandchildren, Sophie and husband, David Riedl, Aja Wood and fiancé, Austin Jones, Logan Morris, and Roland Morris; and his younger brother, Robert, and wife, Julie. His granddaughter Gaelen Wood and sister Mary Sue Fryer are predeceased.

At his request, there will be no memorial. Interment will be private. Condolences may be sent to the family at www.hillandwood.com. Read the full obituary here.