John Morrison

Emeritus Professor

Citation delivered by Professor Alison Jones, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health at the University of Wollongong on the occasion of the admission of Robert John Morrison as an Emeritus Professor of the University on 16 December 2014.


Deputy Chancellor, I present John Morrison.

Born in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland Professor John Morrison has for more than forty years pursued his passion for science and has become one of the world’s most esteemed environmental scientists. Studying, teaching, and undertaking research in the United Kingdom, Uganda, Fiji, and elsewhere (sometimes in curiously difficult circumstances), Professor Morrison has dedicated his career to producing high quality scientific outcomes aimed squarely at making the world a better place, for everyone.

Professor Morrison joined the University of Wollongong as the BHP Professor of Environmental Science in 1992. Professor Morrison remains a very active and inspiring researcher and university educator. He has published 260 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals and research monographs at the international and national level. He has written a range of environmental topics including the chemical dynamics of soil systems, the taxonomy and mineralogy of soils and environmental issues in estuaries.

Professor Morrison has also been a pivotal figure in the success of the Bachelor of Environmental Science, our degree program which has graduated over four hundred students since its inception, providing high intellectual rigour and dedicated pastoral care. It is testament to the success of this program that students consistently obtain employment prior to their graduation.

Furthermore, Professor Morrison has successfully supervised a great many Masters and Doctoral students who have gone on to bigger and brighter things.

Professor Morrison’s leadership at UOW has not been limited to assisting students; other contributions to UOW include his role as founding Director of the Environmental Research Institute (1993 – 2000) and Coordinator of the Oceans and Coastal Research Centre (2001 – 2003). In 2000, Professor Morrison received the Vice-Chancellor’s award for Outstanding Contribution to UOW. But mentioning these achievements does not reveal the depth of Professor Morrison’s commitment and effort on behalf of UOW over the past twenty years, in fact they barely scratch the surface.

Nor has his dedication been exclusively orientated toward UOW. He has made many contributions to community organisation and initiatives including working with the Lake Illawarra Authority, the Port Kembla Harbour Environment Group, the Booderee National Park Joint Board of Management, as well as various Wollongong City Council Committees. Internationally there are many others, including the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research project and the Coral Reefs under Climate and Anthropogenic Perturbations project, to name but a few. Professor Morrison’s intellectual generosity is legendary and seemingly inexhaustible.

Science may, as Louis Pasteur remarked, know no country and Professor Morrison has pursued his quest for knowledge throughout the world. Professor Morrison’s journey in service of scientific enlightenment has been made regardless of circumstances or personal risk, and always he has endeavoured to grow and share his passion for environmental science. In this we know he has been an exceptional success.

Deputy Chancellor, for his service and dedication to this University and his outstanding contribution to the environmental sciences, it is a privilege and pleasure to present John Morrison for admission as an Emeritus Professor of the University of Wollongong.