Dr. Hugh C. Morris was born in Rangoon, Burma in 1932. His professional life was one of devotion to the earth sciences. At the University of Witwatersrand (Wits), South Africa, where he studied economic geology, he received highest honors, including the Chamber of Mines Gold Medal and Scholarship (1954), which enabled him to travel to North America. On that trip, he visited more than 65% of the continent’s mines, an experience that profoundly shaped his future. He was soon employed as a junior geologist at the Sullivan Mine in Kimberley, B.C. He returned to South Africa to complete his doctoral degree while teaching economic and structural geology, and lecturing in the planetarium.
In 1962, Dr. Morris joined Cominco as a senior exploration geologist, working his way up to the position of Director of Exploration, Worldwide, over a period of 18 years, during which time he and Pat, and their growing family, lived in Port Arthur, Montreal, Kimberley and Vancouver. In 1979, Dr. Morris joined the Geomex/E&B group of companies as president, before leaving to become Chairman and CEO of Imperial Metals (1983-1993). In 1995, he joined Eldorado Gold Corporation and served as President and CEO between 1998-1999, remaining on the Board as non-Executive Chairman until 2009.
His passion for mineral exploration and his standing in the mining community led him to serve on the boards of such prominent mineral exploration and mining companies as Eldorado Gold Corporation, Canterra Minerals, Cathedral Gold Corporation, Diamondex Resources Ltd., Paciﬁc Northern Gas Co., and Anglesey Mining plc. The latter company returned him to his boyhood home, where he helped to oversee the rehabilitation of an ancient Roman mine.
Throughout his career, Dr. Morris maintained strong engagements in research in both geosciences and mathematics, assuming a leadership role on several major Canadian initiatives. He was a fellow of the Geological Association of Canada (GAC), for which he served as President in 1983, and a member of the Canadian Geosciences Council, which he steered as Vice-President and President in 1994 and 1995. A member of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, he was also a Chartered Engineer of the Institution of the Mining and Metallurgy of the United Kingdom, and a member of both the Geological Association of America and the International Council of Scientiﬁc Unions. For seventeen years, Hugh served as a member of the Canadian Geological Foundation, a charitable foundation promoting earth science-related activities. For his extraordinary service to the GAC, he was honoured with the J. Willis Ambrose Medal in 1993. He became a ‘Distinguished Fellow’ of the GAC in 1995.
Dr. Morris’ contributions to the sciences encompassed service on several committees for the National Research Council of Canada and the National Research Council of the United States. Additionally, he served Natural Resources Canada as a member of the Minister’s National Industrial Advisory Committee to the GeoScience Council from 1993-1997 and served as President in 1996. He was also a member of the Standing Finance Committee of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) based in Paris. In 1989, he became Chair of ‘Lithoprobe,’ the largest and most ambitious seismic exploration of the earth’s crust ever attempted. In 1991, he became a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Global Change Program, a joint initiative of the Royal Society of Canada and Environment Canada devoted to the study and mitigation of climate change both nationally and internationally. He served as its Chair between 1993 and 1998.
He also had a lifelong interest in mathematics. He was a founding board member and Chairman of the Paciﬁc Institute of Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) from 1997 to 2009, and Chairman of the Board of the Mathematics of Information Technology and Complex Systems (MITACS), a Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence and also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Mathematical Science Research Institute (MSRI) based at Berkeley University.
In his capacity as a leader of the mineral resources industry, Dr. Morris represented British Columbia as part of the delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1989. And for his contributions to the Canadian scientiﬁc community, he was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1997. Throughout his career, he advocated and worked towards the fullest collaboration between professionals from all sectors: from academia, industry and government. The breadth and range of his activities is a testimony to this commitment and interest.
A man of enormous generosity, Dr. Morris was deeply committed to the values of philanthropy, and promoted giving through a variety of initiatives. Following the death of his beloved wife, Pat, in 2003, he established the Kimberley Foundation, devoted to the promotion of education broadly defined and research in the geosciences. In 2011, he endowed the lecture series in mathematical sciences that now bears his name, through PIMS at the University of British Columbia.