Posted May 12, 1999
Meredith Morgan, who, as professor, dean and professor emeritus, helped guide the School of Optometry through 67 of its 75 years, died peacefully in the early morning hours of May 1. Morgan had been terminally ill with lung cancer for a year. He was 87.
Known for his research into basic mechanisms of eye focus and alignment, Morgan was a beloved professor for 33 years and dean of the School of Optometry for 13, during which time he carried the school to international prominence.
"He was quite remarkable," said current Dean of Optometry Anthony Adams. "Hardly anyone came through this school who didn't have contact of some kind with Morgan. An unbelievable number of optometrists view him as a mentor, colleague or model; many others simply think of him as a father or grandfather."
Grateful successors named the school's clinic after him and made him honorary chairman of last year's 75th anniversary celebrations. Throughout 1998, after he knew that lung cancer had reappeared, Morgan continued to be actively involved with the school, even writing the lead chapter in the recent book "Cal Optometry -- The First 75 Years."
"He was a direct, very genuine man. His integrity was obvious, and he had this booming, contagious laugh," said Adams. The laugh was so famous among those who knew Morgan that the school played a tape recording of the sound at clinic dedication ceremonies last year.
Graduating with honors from Berkeley in physics-optometry in 1934, Morgan earned a PhD in physiology here in 1942, after which he began to teach, earning professor rank in 1951.
His research into the elements of binocular vision resulted in two dozen papers laying out a basic understanding of how the two eyes work in synchrony to focus and converge on objects at close range. He also contributed to textbooks on the vision of children and aging patients.
During his years as dean of the School of Optometry (1960-73), Morgan expanded the curriculum to include a doctoral program and recruited world-renowned vision scientists to the campus.
Morgan is survived by a daughter, Linda Morgan, of San Pablo, and two grandchildren, Lauren, 16, and Colin, 14, also of San Pablo. Morgan's wife, Ida, died in the late 1980s.
A memorial service will be held in the Great Hall of the Faculty Club on June 8, at a time to be announced.