Richard A. (Dick) Volz
Professor Emeritus Richard A. (Dick) Volz, our friend and colleague and former head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, passed away on June 19, 2013.
An endowed scholarship for a student at Texas A&M has been established
in honor of Dick.
Contributions can be sent to the Texas A&M Foundation, 401 George Bush Drive,
College Station, Texas 77480. Please designate the "Richard A. Volz Memorial
Scholarship" in the memo line of the check.
Please contact Nancy Amato if
you have questions.
|Background image: Lake Tahoe, photo by Dick Volz|
|Name : The Family |
Affiliation : Family
Thank you for sharing your well-wishes, memories, and prayers. They are a great comfort to us and we have enjoyed hearing about how he touched other’s lives.
|Name : Bruno Siciliano |
Affiliation : University of Naples Federico II, Italy
To say I am deeply saddened cannot fully express the sense of emptiness
|Name : Hadi Moradi |
Affiliation : University of Tehran
It was a pleasure working with Dick. I was fortunate to work with him through the Industrial Activity Board (IAB) in RAS and learned a lot from his vision and management.
|Name : Frank Park |
Affiliation : Seoul National University
Dick put up a long and brave fight these past few months, and like others, I was deeply moved by his honest but ultimately always upbeat updates on his health status. As secretary of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society, I had the pleasure of working very closely with Dick these past few years, usually from one governance crisis to another, none of them of his own doing as some wrongly thought. It was then I realized that his always honest assessments of the situation, and his strong convictions about what he believed in, were two of the defining ingredients of Dick's nature: nothing really fazed Dick, and he never compromised on his core set of principles. I think it's accurate to say he cared much more about doing things the right way, and less about the results. I've yet to meet anyone who's done more for the robotics society than Dick. Rest in peace, Dick, you've been a great mentor to me, and the entire robotics community owes you a huge debt of gratitude for making RAS what it is today.
|Name : Peter Allen |
Affiliation : Columbia University
Dick was a great friend and mentor to me. His passion for our field was one of the great driving forces in bringing robotics research to the forefront of engineering. Personally, he was someone whose advice I always valued and sought.
|Name : Robin and Kevin Murphy |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
We will miss Dick very much. Dick was so helpful to my career over the past 25 years, there is too much to describe, and his involvement in the Boy Scouts and advice on nearby camping areas was greatly appreciated by my husband and son.
|Name : Dan & Monica Atkins |
Affiliation : Univ. of Michigan
Dick and Dan were colleagues in the EECS department at the University of Michigan. Our families became friends and both of us became very fond of both Dick and Mary. While at Michigan Dick was constantly innovating courses, curriculum and what is now called cyberinfrastructure. He was instrumental in getting the first DEC Vax for EECS and pioneered a computer controlled model railroad lab to use in teaching digital control. HE was always willing to help and always did more than his share with what seemed boundless energy. We were all sad to see him leave Michigan but pleased that he did so many good things at TAMU and through major national service. We also remember his love of the outdoors and outdoor activities and his love of family. When we came to the big symposium in his honor a few years ago we found out about another of his many talents: photography. We were blown away by the quality of his work and very honored to have a couple of his National Geographic quality pictures taken on his trip to Africa. What a fight he made in the last few years -- inspiring to all of us. We love you Dick and wil really, really miss you. Dan and Monica
|Name : Edward Jensen |
Affiliation : Brother-in-law & Friend
Dick cherished the gift of "Life" and gave it everything he could muster! His profession and career attest to his genius and uncompromising devotion, as witnessed by the kind remembrances added to this site by his colleagues. But Dick loved "Family" too, and Mary, Cindy and her family, Rick and Keith know the depth his devotion and love as well, though from the "Festschrift" and professional accomplishments, it might appear he had little time left over for family. The last five years, under the pall of Cancer and its insidious affects, Dick and the family made a bucket list and got it right! They "lived" those last few years as though they were his last, they completed most of the bucket list and shared intimately the truly important things in life -- their deepest passions and feelings. The end came unexpectedly and entirely too soon, but no one in the Volz family felt that Dick ever held anything back -- he gave it and them his all. Dick will be missed -- by the Volz family and by the Jensen family in which he became such an important part. We will miss you Dick. You fought the Cancer valiantly and with your every fiber, and held out far longer than the doctors thought possible! But your labors are now be over, Dick -- rest in peace, my brother and my friend! We take great pride in your life -- a life well lived! Know that you were loved by your entire family and that you will indeed be missed! May God grant you eternal peace as you now rejoin your ancestors.
|Name : Sherry Escalante |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
Dr. Volz challenged me to be the best and most productive that I could be, and to always ensure that the information provided was absolutely correct. This 'breaking in' as a department head assistant has helped me in my career each and every day since then. My prayers and support to the Volz family during this time of great loss.
|Name : Tony Maciejewski |
Affiliation : Colorado State University
I had the privilege of working with Dick during his tenure as President of the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. I will never forget the long discussions that went late into night about how to create an equitable financial process for best serving our members. It was during these times that he exhibited all the characteristics that I will remember as quintessential Dick: the indefatigable pursuit of the perfect solution, an unparalleled sense of fairness, and an overwhelming commitment to serving others. He will be greatly missed, and never forgotten.
|Name : John Yen |
Affiliation : The Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Volz is my first mentor in my academic career, and I will always remember him. As I reflected on all the wonderful things he did at the Computer Science Department at TAMU, and all the supports he provided to me (and many other junior faculty), I realized how lucky I am to be mentored by him. It's time like this that made me realize what is truly important in life, what lasts beyond one's life, and what makes us remember, respect, and honor him ... always.
|Name : David Orin |
Affiliation : IEEE Robotics and Automation Society
Dick was one of the great leaders in the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. I wrote the following message to our Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, and past presidents when I learned of his passing.
|Name : Faye Eckblad |
Affiliation : Family Friend
What an amazing man! Always compassionate and caring and I have nothing but fond memories. When someone that is special to us is gone it can be difficult to continue. Memories are forever and will always be treasured.
|Name : Yoonsuck Choe |
Affiliation : Texas A&M University
|Name : George Bekey |
Affiliation : USC-emeritus
Dick Volz was a friend, a colleague, a distinguished researcher, and, above all, a warm and caring human being. I can think of few people in robotics who genuinely cared for others and for the field as much as Dick.
|Name : Steve Liu |
Affiliation : Texas A&M University
1984, when I began to write a first paper in my career, Dr. Volz had this really cool new computer called Lisa, which could draw pictures. I ran to that Lisa, used it not knowing that I was supposed to have his permission. I used it for a while until the secretary could not get her work done. Dr. Volz politely told me that his staff needed to get work done, yet he kindly let me finish my few pictures.
|Name : Carol Cantrell |
Affiliation : Texas A&M University
It was very sad to hear that we have lost Dick Volz. I first began working with Dick when he became department head in Computer Science and I was in the engineering administration. I had always prided myself on being a hard worker. However, that was until I met Dick Volz. It is no wonder he achieved as much as he did with his combination of brilliance and hard work. But not only this, he also was very kind and courteous to me even in the most challenging times. He was a fine man who will be missed.
|Name : Laxmi Bhuyan |
Affiliation : University of California
I am extremely sorry to lose one of my best friends and colleagues during my tenure at Texas A&M University. He was the most visible researcher in his areas of research and brought incredible visibility and strength to Texas A&M. He was the reason I moved to Texas A&M in 1989 and stayed there until after he retired. In early 1990's, he hired many faculty members to invigorate the department's status. He lifted the department to a new level and put Texas A&M in the map among top-rated computer science departments.
|Name : Wei Zhao |
Affiliation : University of Macau
I was deeply saddened to learn of Dick Volz's death and I would like to express to my sincere sadness and sympathies to Dick's family at this difficult time. Dick was a highly valuable and respected member of Texas A&M University, serving as a leader, a mentor, a colleague, and a friend to so many of us. For those of us who "came of age" at Texas A&M in the 1990s, and most certainly since, Dick made an incredible impact on our lives; one that will always be cherished and honored. The loss of such a wonderful teacher, pioneer, and person is palpable.
|Name : Trevor Mudge |
Affiliation : U Michigan
I work with Dick during his tenure at the University of Michigan. I was an assistant Professor at the time and Dick was a formative influence on my subsequent career. Our research activities were closely intertwined during those years and I had a great deal of fun during the collaboration. Dick was tireless as many of you know and it was a challenge just to keep up with him! He was also brilliant to a degree that I don't think was fully appreciated because of his natural modesty and desire to promote others rather than himself. I will miss him and his boundless energy. We've lost one-of-a-kind.
|Name : Rajiv Desai |
Affiliation : 3Di
It was my fortune and honor to have been Prof. Volz's student at the University of Michigan.
|Name : HwangSoo Kim |
Affiliation : KNU
He was my advisor at UM. He was worm hearted and gave me many things.
|Name : Richard Blomberg |
Affiliation : Dunlap and Associates, Inc.--On ASAP with DIck
It was a great privilege to be able to call Dick a colleague and friend. He was the quintessential scientist, scholar, advisor, photographer, husband, father, and friend. I learned much from Dick when we served on the ASAP together and always enjoyed our forays to the NASA centers to determine what really was going on. My already boundless admiration for Dick increased markedly as I witnessed his courage, grace, and perseverance in dealing with his illness. I will miss his friendship and counsel, but I take comfort in knowing that he made the world a better place.
|Name : Feng Gao |
Affiliation : Pi-Coral, a Startup
I am deeply saddened to hear Prof. Dick Volz has passed away. My heart goes out to Mary and Dick's family.
|Name : Nirmal Patil |
Affiliation : Former student of Dr. Volz.
Whilst I'm saddened to hear the news, Dr. Volz will be remain a true inspiration for me. I am forever indebted to Dr. Volz for being my advisor and mentor during and after my TAMU days.
|Name : Maitreyi Nanjanath |
Affiliation : Amazon.com
Prof. Volz was my thesis advisor through my Master's degree. He inspired me to then go on and acquire my PhD.
|Name : Art Sanderson |
Affiliation : RPI
|Name : Sen Cao |
Affiliation : TangoMe
I was so lucky to be one of Dr Volz's Ph.D students. His unique combination of sharp insight, quick wit and patient made my research endeavor full of challenges and fun and the time most cherished in my life. He also set a good example in my whole life with his good spirits, such as leadership, dedication and hard working, listening and respecting, and always being helpful with warm heart.
|Name : Sam Ade Jacobs |
Affiliation : Parasol Lab, Texas A&M University
I had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Volz about three years ago when I volunteered to help video record a Festchrift organized in his honor and then later helped him clean out his office. After helping him, he insisted on taking me and some other students from our group out for lunch. My first thought was; he doesn't have to do this, but he insisted not minding that several months have passed since when I helped him. He was generous enough to share his time and thoughts on several subjects; robotics, leadership, travels, family, photography, and life in general. I was deeply touched by his bravery (in his battle against cancer) and humility. May his soul rest in peace, and may God give his family the fortitude to bear his passing.
|Name : Vladimir Lumelsky |
Affiliation : University of Wisconsin - Emeritus
How sad... Dick Volz has been a good friend and a solid colleague. A person of good common sense, he knew how to separate fantasies from reality - a big asset in his efforts to maneuver this robotics community to stability and prominence. We'll miss Dick...
|Name : Satoshi Tadokoro |
Affiliation : Tohoku University
I feel really sad to hear the news. Dick's contribution to the scientific field of robotics and automation was really significant. He always promoted good initiatives and led our activities. I beg to join many friends in tendering our heartfelt condolences.
|Name : Alessandro De Luca |
Affiliation : Università di Roma "La Sapienza"
Among his many achievements, Dick Volz has been fundamental in developing and sustaining Publications in RAS.
|Name : Anthony Gargaro |
Affiliation : CSC
Professor Volz was a very dear friend and colleague. It was a privilege, and indeed an honor, to have known and worked with him.
|Name : Ruediger Dillmann |
Affiliation : KIT
I am very sad to hear that Dick has passed away - its a very big loss. My condolence and respect to his family helping him on his last road to may be a better world. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet him within IEEE RAS as a guide and mentor beeing very dedicated, personally warm, giving advice and inspirations both as a researcher and engineer, a leader and a friend.
|Name : Shigeki Sugano |
Affiliation : Waseda University
I am deeply sorry to hear of Dick's passing.
|Name : Raja Chatila |
Affiliation : President Elect of IEEE RAS. (CNRS and University Pierre and Marie Curie, Paris)
Dick has shaped the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society in many ways. I had the privilege to serve with him on the Transactions Editoral Board in 1994-1997. He has contributed greatly to build the Transactions' quality and imprinted RAS governance when he was President. We owe him a lot. I will miss him.
|Name : Stefano Stramigioli |
Affiliation : University of Twente
We unfortunately knew this was coming, but we were all hoping an unexpected miracle would arrive. I am very sad. Dick has been a mentor, a teacher and an example of fairness, transparency and correct behaviour. Of course he did a lot for the society and his contributions have been very many, but most important he was really a good person. Dick was there to listen about anything and was taking the time to coach and help: many people could take an example from how he was. I wish Mary and the all family a lot of strength in this difficult period, but the good memories and the pride we all share are here to stay.
|Name : Heidi Zhou |
Affiliation : Verayo, California
I am deeply sad to know that Professor Volz passed away.
|Name : Kazuihto Yokoi |
Affiliation : AIST, Japan
I am deeply shocked to hear of the sudden death of Dick. I have a lot of things to learn under Dick as an AdCom member of IEEE-RAS. I would like to offer my deepest sympathy to Mary.
|Name : Yu Zhang |
Affiliation : Trinity University
|Name : George Gleghorn |
Affiliation : TRW Space and Technology Group - Retired
I was saddened to hear your sad news of Dick's death. He had fought such a courageous fight that one almost believed he could win.
|Name : Kazuhiro Kosuge |
Affiliation : Tohoku University
I am very very very sad.
|Name : John Weese |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
Betty and I are very sorry to learn of Dick Volz's death. He was a fine friend and colleague during the years we were both department heads in the College of Engineering. Dick was a very smart worker and came up with good ideas during department head council meetings, yet he was always a very pleasant person to be around. I felt very privileged to have known him quite well.
|Name : Kang Shin |
Affiliation : University of Michigan
I am saddened by Dick's passing away.
|Name : Kevin Lynch |
Affiliation : Northwestern University
|Name : Jing Xiao |
Affiliation : UNC Charlotte
It is still very difficult for me to accept this sad reality. Having known Dick for so many years, I had been expecting a miracle, even after reading his final status report of June 16. I thought he could overcome any setback. He had been so resilient and always in good spirit. He was brave till the end. As my PhD advisor, mentor, and friend, Dick had taught me not only professionally but also great life lessons. I feel truly blessed to have been able to see him almost every year in my entire career and benefit from his continuous guidance. I am deeply indebted to him and will always cherish his memory. May he rest in peace.
|Name : Way Kuo |
Affiliation : City University of Hong Kong
Dick and I have served at the same time as heads at Texas A&M. It was an enjoyable period of time as we shared many common views related to the academic issues. Although he was big physically, his mind was always clear and he took actions very promptly. We will always miss him, as professional colleagues and personal friends.
|Name : N. Viswanadham |
Affiliation : Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
I am extremely sorry to hear about the passing away of Professor Dick Volz. I have interacted with him quite closely for the last two decades. He is an extremely nice gentleman and man with vision. He has promoted manufacturing and automation in RAS society and has attended all the events. He was in Bangalore for my 60th birthday conference and myself and family were indebted to him for his presence at that time.
|Name : Jenny Walter |
Affiliation : 2000 PhD graduate of CS at TAMU
Professor Volz was the chair of the CS department at A&M when I started school there in 1994. He was an extremely fair-minded and kind man who I thoroughly respected. He will be missed.
|Name : Jianer Chen |
Affiliation : Texas A&M University
I came to Texas A&M University when my career started, and was very fortunate to have had Dick as the department head. He provided great leadership in building a strong department and he was very successful. Personally, he acted as a mentor providing advices and guidance in my entire career, which had helped me greatly. I feel very lucky to have had Dick as a friend and colleague. He will be missed!
|Name : Stanley Guan |
Affiliation : Oracle
Dr. Volz was my mentor and adviser at TAMU. After losing contact for over 20 years, we have reconnected at the end of 2008. Since then, I have the honor to have him share with me his good experience such as his Africa safari and his bad experience with cancer.
|Name : Roland Haden |
Affiliation : TAMU retired
It was my pleasure to serve as Dean while he was the department head. Dick was always willing to put the good of the department ahead of his own. This required great courage at times, but Dick did not flinch--he moved ahead. Now he has moved on to another plane--let's hope that he is just as kind, just as nice and blessed as he was here on this one. Thank you, Dick.
|Name : George Haddad |
Affiliation : U.of M
I was very saddened by the news of Dick's passing. He was a wonderful colleague and he worked tirelessly as Assoc. chair of EECS during my term as Chair. He made many significant contributions to our academic programs at Mich. and served the Dept. with distinction as a professor and in administration. I truly appreciated his loyalty and council and was disappointed he left Michigan, yet I was proud that Mich. produced such great talent that we could share with our peers.
|Name : Rosalyn Snyder |
Affiliation : IEEE-RAS Admin (ret.)
It's never a good time to say goodbye, but I am grateful that Dick is no longer in pain. In the 25 years that I knew him, he was always an excellent colleague and boss as AdCom member, Pubs VP, President, and IEEE Director, and he became a good friend. I never ceased to be amazed by his attention to detail and his interest in everything related to robotics and automation. His enthusiasm and dedication to the universities and society he faithfully served were unbelievable, matched only by love of photography, travel and SCUBA diving, and surpassed only by his love and dedication to his family.
|Name : John Junkins |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
Dear Friends and Family of Dick Volz.
|Name : Toby Teorey |
Affiliation : University of Michign
I worked with Dick in software systems (EECS Department) at the University of Michigan in the 1970's and 80's. We collaborated mostly on administrative matters, but he shared many of his technical insights with me as a new faculty member. We kept in touch over the years and it was delightful to spend time with him at the Dan Atkins Symposium in 2012 in Ann Arbor. Dick will be greatly missed by his colleagues here.
|Name : Padmanabhan (Paddy) Krishnan |
Affiliation : Oracle Labs, Australia
I consider myself to be really fortunate to have had Prof. Volz as my PhD supervisor. I could not have found some who was technically brilliant and who genuinely cared about his students. He was always there to provide me with the guidance and mentoring through out my career. My hearfelt condolences to the entire family. He will be missed.
|Name : Jon Whetzel |
Affiliation : Sandia National Laboratories
I was privileged in being one of Professor Volz’s last students before he retired. I can also attest to his dutifulness as a mentor, remembering many long meetings as he went over my project code in painstaking detail. I can’t say I completely enjoyed those hours-long sessions in his office, but always left amazed by his brilliance (and relieved when he found the errors that I couldn’t track down for days). Even with his busy schedule, it seemed he always found time for his students, which made me work even harder knowing he truly cared about us. I couldn’t attend his Festshrift due to scheduling conflicts, but visited him months later at his home in College Station. I remembered him then the same as from my days in school: vibrant, happy, and still willing to listen and impart his thoughts. Professor Volz shaped me both professionally and personally for the best, and I will sorely miss him.
|Name : Peter Luh |
Affiliation : University of Connecticut
I appreciated Dick's leadership at IEEE Robotics and Automation Society. Over the years he mentored so many, including me, starting as an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. His dedication, leadership and wisdom are unforgettable and set great examples. His effort to create the new IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering turned out to be visionary and of great success. His fighting for cancer was courageous and provided opportunities for doctors to test our new medications. He maintained calm and positive in difficult situations.
|Name : Dianxiang Xu |
Affiliation : Dakota State University
I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Dr. Volz as a research associate at TAMU. His mentorship provided me with the basis for starting an academic career in the US with a Ph.D. degree from a Chinese university.
|Name : Delbert Tesar |
Affiliation : UT Austin (TX)
|Name : Galip Ulsoy |
Affiliation : University of Michigan
Dick was a wonderful person, and an exceptional scholar. I will miss him very much and remember him fondly. He was a colleague and friend at the University of Michigan, and we continued to interact (editorial tasks, award nominations, etc.) after he left. I was very happy to have had a chance to have lunch with him and Mary during his visit to Ann Arbor last October. He gave me a wonderful photograph ("Botswana Lion") that hangs in my office, and reminds me daily of him. My condolences to Mary and his children.
|Name : Sean Graves |
Affiliation : University of Virginia
I so sorry to hear of Dick's passing. He was a true mentor to me, and spent many hours advising me, and reading, editing, and commenting on my dissertation. He was definitely a stickler for good writing, and (especially) for defining your terms BEFORE you use them! He and Mary treated me and my family so nicely when my first son was born, and we still have the gift they gave him (a little white lamb crib toy). Dick contacted me about six months ago, to send me an inscribed copy of my dissertation, and I was happy to exchange some messages about how he was doing, and how I was doing. It was wonderful to hear from him, and the inscribed copy of my dissertation means very much to me. Dick was a good man, and I'll miss him.
|Name : Ed Hassler |
Affiliation : Texas Instruments - Retired
Thank you Nancy.
|Name : Dezhen Song |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
I am very fortunate to have Dick as my faculty mentor and a best friend. Dick helped me so much in my career. He is the reason that I came to Texas A&M after I finished my Ph.D. in Berkeley. He always gave me great advices. He read my NSF Career proposal line by line and helped me to improve it. Very few people can go that far to help others. I am permanently in debt to Dick. We usually meet during lunch to discuss research and life and enjoy the time together even after his retirement. As a great role model in academe, he always occupies a special place in my memory, which will be stories that I will pass to my students and students’ students.
|Name : Ken Goldberg |
Affiliation : UC Berkeley
We will all miss Dick Volz. He leaves behind a rich legacy of research in robotics, controls and teleoperation, mentorship, and leadership that will continue to be an inspiration to all of us. His dedication to the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society was boundless. Dick had the utmost integrity and worked tirelessly to improve the society; when he asked anyone to volunteer time for the RAS, they could not refuse knowing how dedicated Dick was. He traveled around the world to attend IEEE meetings and would answer every email within minutes, even if sent during the middle of the night. He was the driving force behind the Conference Editorial Boards and the Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering. He was a wise and caring mentor, working behind the scenes to advise and advocate for the careers of so many junior and senior researchers. Dick was also a talented photographer and family man, proud to have his loyal and charming wife Mary at his side at conferences. Although he was modest and self-effacing, he knew how to enjoy life and had a rich sense of humor. I recall sitting on his back porch in Texas, smoking a cigar with him in the midst of his cancer treatments, and asking him if it were okay to be smoking while undergoing chemotherapy. His answer was typical: “Well, at least I know these cigars won’t kill me”. Dick was a friend, advisor, and inspiration in every way. I will always treasure his memory.
|Name : Nancy Amato |
Affiliation : Texas A&M
I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to know and learn from Dick. He provided great leadership and vision in transforming our department, and was also a great personal mentor providing guidance and introductions that opened up new opportunities for me. At his Festschrift, I was amazed by the scope of his activities and the number of lives he had touched. We are all very lucky to have known him and his legacy will live on in all of us. We will miss you Dick!