Michael Carroll, Rice’s Dean of Engineering from 1988 to 1998, passed away the other day. He was a remarkable man in more than one way, deeply intelligent and fantastically well read but also joyful, curious, and full of the spirit of adventure. The official account of his life and his many and varied contributions to Rice and to the world is here, and our mutual friend Patrick Kurp has also written about him on his blog here.
All I can add is that I loved every single minute I spent talking with him. He gave me one of my first doses of real honesty about the state of higher education, both the funny parts and the tragic ones, an eye-opener that I sorely needed at the time. He also penned one of the greatest memos I’ve ever come across in the archives (and I’ve read a lot of memos). He could, I think, make absolutely anything funny.
This is what it felt like to be around him:
Michael Carroll, Rest in Peace.
Please share his memo with us.
Oh, I wish I could! It would not be prudent.
Great man, with a knack for saying exactly the right thing at the right time.
Creator of wicked crossword puzzles (a hobby).
We traded many golf and drinking jokes over the years. He was a wonderful man. I took the above photo shortly after he arrived.
Thanks, Tommy. It’s a really nice shot.
Such a wonderful tribute. It’s lovely to remember him like this. My father enjoyed an exceptionally rich and fulfilling life, one that took him from a small Tipperary town to Providence, Rhode Island, then Berkeley, California, and finally to Houston. I can honestly say that his years at Rice were some of the most rewarding — he loved this university and all of the people who make it so great.
Thank you so much for your note. I learned so much from him and I’ll never forget his kindness.