January 2019 Volume 15

Neville McMorris: A Life Brilliantly and Humbly Lived

Robert Buddan
Text Size
  • -
  • +
  • reset

Michael Neville McMorris (1934-2018), beloved graduate and Old Boy of Kingston College passed away on October 19, 2018. He was a first generation student between 1945 and 1950 at the then still young school who specialized in French, Latin and Mathematics, well-loved subjects of his first headmasters.

Out of his own love for teaching he taught at KC for two terms upon graduation and then spent a career as a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Mona. By then he was making his career in the sciences.

Neville received a government scholarship to the University (College) of the West Indies to pursue a degree in physics and mathematics, earning that degree in 1956.

He was then awarded Carnegie and Leverhulme fellowships in physics to Trinity College, Cambridge and thereby earned his B.A. and PhD.

With his newly crowned doctorate, Dr. McMorris joined the Faculty of Natural Sciences in 1961 as an Assistant Lecturer. At a time when expatriates dominated that faculty, the young Jamaican PhD was soon promoted to Lecturer in 1963, then to Senior Lecturer in 1973. By 1975 he was appointed Head of the prestigious Department of Physics. He went even further, being subsequently appointed Dean of the Faculty of Pure and Applied Sciences in 1993 and continued in that post up to his retirement in 2000. After retirement Dr. McMorris continued to give service to the Faculty up to 2003.

As a doyen in his field, Dr. McMorris also served as a visiting lecturer at Bedford College, University of London, and had made short-term visits to the University of California, Berkeley, and the London School of Economics. But his career and commitment were always deeply rooted in Jamaica.

Neville was the older brother of the West Indies batsman and former Jamaica cricket captain, Easton McMorris, also of Kingston College. Neville himself was a KC cricketer and close follower of the game throughout his life. Incidentally, his nephew Michael McMorries headed the committee that oversaw the construction of the new and modern gateway entry to the North Street campus of the school in 2013.

Neville was the cousin of one of UWI’s first graduates, Trevor C McMorris, and who himself was among the first natural sciences graduates who had specialities in chemistry, physics, mathematics, botany etc.

Neville was the author of The Natures of Science (1989) in which he applied a historical and philosophical synthesis between nature and science. There, he also discussed modern wave-particle duality, an idea of great current interest. His knowledge of the arts and humanities learned at KC equipped him with the analytical skills of linguistics and sociology to make his vital insights into the physical sciences.

His funeral took place on November 5 at the University Chapel.

The Kingston College family extends belated condolences to the McMorris family and expresses its deepest gratitude to them for Neville’s contribution to Jamaica and for a life so brilliantly and humbly lived.

Top of Page