Back in 2008, when we were expanding from a company providing courses for professional development into a fully-fledged college of engineering, Dick was not only an enormous support, but his involvement contributed to the success we enjoyed. He was hearty in his encouragement of our efforts and he shared his expertise generously. Dick’s enthusiasm certainly carried us through those tenuous early years, when doubts can often undermine one’s confidence and dampen persistence.
We, at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT), had adopted a fairly innovative live and interactive online platform of learning, placing us a little ahead of our time. Our methodology certainly caused the regulators in the industry some consternation, but not Dick.
His support for us was reflected in his involvement with the college; he became a member on our Academic Board and gave the introductory lectures on our Advanced Diplomas in Industrial Automation.
To accommodate the time zone differences of students scattered across the globe, our online sessions have to be repeated three times during the day. (Dick had no problem with this as he needed little sleep.) Interestingly, though, many of our students chose to attend all three live webinar sessions; it was clear to them that they were engaging with an engineering rock star.
Dick Morley at The Barn alongside his automated loader
Sharné Pretorius was instrumental in rolling out the earliest versions of our online learning methodology and was deeply saddened at the news of his death. She recalls:
“He was brilliant but unpredictable so moderating his webinars was always a bit of an adrenaline rush”
Dr Steve Mackay, a passionate engineer and our Dean of the college, reflected on a man he considered a friend and mentor:
“What really struck me about Dick was his can do attitude and his encouragement to, ‘just get on with it, don’t hesitate’, admitting, ‘you will often fail, but what the hell’. He was extraordinarily supportive and very interested in our engineering college activities. I could call him at any time (did he ever sleep?) for his valuable counsel on the content of our courses, on marketing and he offered vital contacts. Dick served for many years on our Academic Board and taught on many of our courses (for which, unsurprisingly, he received great accolades). He also kindly, but with gritted teeth (the travel from New England took a good few days) presented at one of our conferences here in Australia. I loved his wry and eccentric sense of humour; he was always thinking from left of field. He will be missed”
In his honour we have created a Dick Morley Prize for Engineering Excellence. Graduates from our Master of Engineering (Industrial Automation) will have the opportunity to win the award - for a thesis considered the most innovative and useful. Dick will be remembered as the Father of the Programmable Logic Controller, certainly. But for us, at the Engineering Institute of Technology, he will be that someone splendid who helped us gird our loins and forge a brave and determined path towards creating a college of excellence in engineering education.