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.

Dick had many accomplishments and touched the lives of so very many people in many ways. Visit the website for the Festshrift held in his honor in April 2010 or read the Department of Computer Science and Engineering article to get a glimpse of the impact he made. You can also view the From us to Dick slideshow created by Bruno Siciliano for the Festschrift (other formats) or the Festschrift Photo Gallery.

In addition to the messages collected on this page, we also have a photo memorial; please send contributions for either to Nancy Amato.

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.
Thank you for your support and your wonderful tributes to Dick.

We would also like to send a special thanks to Nancy for setting this thoughtful website up.

The Volz, Jensen & Chisum Families.

Name : Bruno Siciliano
Affiliation : University of Naples Federico II, Italy

To say I am deeply saddened cannot fully express the sense of emptiness
and bewilderment which is pervading me.

I like remembering my first meeting with Dick in December 1990 at a
hotel in Honolulu during the CDC conference. Dick kindly agreed to meet
me at midnight to discuss about a paper I had submitted to Transactions
on Robotics and Automation. I was impressed by his loyalty, honesty and
sense of ethics. Since then he naturally became one of my mentors and I
was triggered to the Robotics and Automation Society (RAS). Dick has
been more than a father to me in my service to RAS. In the past few
years, during my term as President-Elect, then President and
Past-President, further to the several meetings at conferences and IEEE
level, we used to skype almost every other week to discuss about society
issues and the like. Each time I learned something from him and I felt I
could solve any situation thanks to his wise advise and tireless support.

On top of many years of mentoring and friendship, I had a big privilege
to spend a couple of days with Dick and Mary at the end of last March in
College Station. In particular, I recall a lunch just the two of us and
a whole afternoon he drove me around looking for spring flowers fields.
We talked a lot about both RAS and personal life. Even though he was
getting tired easily, he was not suffering and overall he was in a good
mood. He told me about his granddaughter graduation in June he was
hoping not to miss, as well as about a cabin in Yellowstone he had
booked for the summer vacation.

I like remembering one expression of Dick in the final picture of the
slideshow I prepared for his Festschrift three years ago. In that
expression one can read Dick's inherent goodness, generosity and
enthusiasm for life until the last days.

Dick has given a lot to his family, his friends, his colleagues and his
students. No surprise everybody has much loved him and his exemplary
life will be a deep source of inspiration for us all. While warmly
sharing the grief over this big loss, he will continue to live on in our
memory ... forever. We all love you, Dick!

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.
We will miss him greatly.

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.

A favorite memory of Dick was one of the times Kevin and I went to lunch with him and Mary and my mother-in-law. This time we were at La Fonda for Italian. The waitress served us and then brought over the parmesan cheese grater. When she got to Dick, he looked up and said, "you're going to be standing there a while!"

Dick will live on in our memory forever as a great professor, a great mentor, and a great guy. Our condolences to the family.

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.

Dick made many great contributions to the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) and the robotics and automation community. He was a wonderful mentor and inspiring leader.

He served as President of IEEE RAS in 2006-2007. Following that he was a member of the IEEE Board of Directors in 2010, as the Director of IEEE Division X. He received the Saridis Leadership Award from RAS in 2011 “For exceptional leadership in RAS governance, publications and society procedures.” His impact on RAS and the community has truly been great and will go on through the many ways that he has touched our lives both professionally and personally.

Our thoughts and prayers go with Mary and his family. At an appropriate time, we will be sure to honor him for his exceptional leadership and dedicated service to the IEEE Robotics and Automation Society.

From a personal standpoint, I am very grateful that he was an inspiring mentor to me. Perhaps the personal characteristics that I appreciated the most were his strong sense of fairness, and his continuous work for the common good in society affairs. And as others have mentioned, his work ethic was unrivaled.

I have a deep sense of loss at his passing because he was more than a colleague, but also a dear friend. I also have hope that his good work will continue to be a strong influence on the direction of the society, through those of us whose lives he has touched.

Thanks, Dick!

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.

Prayers and love to the family. Faye

Name : Yoonsuck Choe
Affiliation : Texas A&M University

Dear Dick,

It was a great pleasure to be your colleague and a friend. It is hard to believe someone can have such energy, intellect, and kindness as yourself. I am saddened that we cannot interact with you anymore. However, fond memories of you will live on.

Rest in peace,


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.

I have a long professional connection with Dick Volz, dating back to his days at the University of Michigan. When I was asked to start a journal for the newly formed “IEEE Council on Robotics and Automation” I needed two associate editors to help me through the difficult and time-consuming aspects of starting an IEEE publication. I knew Dick and realized that when he took on an assignment, he put his heart and soul into it. I recall calling him and telling him that I was looking for a fellow masochist to help me start the publication; he replied: “You found him”. Dick, Art Sanderson and I managed to get through the IEEE bureaucracy and the IEEE Journal of Robotics and Automation was born; eventually to become the Transactions. It was always a pleasure to work with Dick, both on the journal and in the society AdCom, where was always a voice of reason, who could calm heated debates and find solutions to issues that had evaded the rest of us. He carried this wonderful approach into his leadership positions, both with the Society and with the IEEE as a whole.

I would like to add one story of our relationship that is not widely known. Within a year or so after arriving at Texas A&M Dick was sued by a group of senior faculty who objected to his insistence on research and publication for raises and promotions. He was trying to change the image of the university, and they objected. Dick asked me to serve as an expert witness to support his position. I described my experience as department chair at USC, and indicated that research is a cumulative discipline, that all of us stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Without publication, this is impossible. Dick won the lawsuit.

My wife and would frequently sit with Dick and Mary at conferences, and truly enjoyed their companionship, since we had many views in common on a variety of issues. I still admire his ability to continue an active life style in the midst of his illness. In many ways, Dick taught the rest of us how to life fully. I miss him greatly.

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.

He, with few of us, were hired by him to enter a decade long efforts to turn the Computer Science Department from a teaching department to a research department. Yet, he did not let education become a victim of research excellence. He walked the walk with us, and he led the pack to take every opportunity to mentor faculty with no fear.

Dick taught me how to face life with courage and grace. He taught me that even in the hardest time, he will look at hopes and give the best he got. Rest in peace, Dr. Volz. God Bless.
Steve Liu

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.

Dick's accomplishments at Texas A&M are too numerous to describe. His professionalism and kindness have touched everyone's heart. I apologize for being unable to attend his service and celebrate his life's accomplishments. I pray the departed soul rest in peace. I also send my deepest condolences to Mary and family. I am sure God will give them enough strength to overcome this difficult time and huge personal loss.

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.

Dick's contributions and kindness will not be forgotten. We miss our dear friend. Deepest sympathies to the family of this remarkable man.

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.

My deepest sympathies to Mary and his children.


Name : Rajiv Desai
Affiliation : 3Di

It was my fortune and honor to have been Prof. Volz's student at the University of Michigan.
He was my mentor. He opened many doors for me and taught me so much professionally and about life.
I am deeply indebted to him. I shall always cherish his memory.

My sincere condolences to his wife and family.


Name : HwangSoo Kim
Affiliation : KNU

He was my advisor at UM. He was worm hearted and gave me many things.
Every year he sent me Xmas card before me; Alas, I should have sent it before him at least once! We had a little conversations in the last December, and I never knew that he would pass away this soon.

Rest in Peace my professor, I will remember you always.

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.

Over the years, Prof. Dick Volz is my advisor, mentor and inspiration in so many ways. I like to look at the photos from Dick from time to time. Each of the sparkling pictures speaks so much of him, full of energy and wonder. Dick's love to family, to others and to nature are truly unforgettable. Prof. Dick Volz makes life beautiful. I am very grateful that Prof. Dick Volz touches so much of my life and my 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.

My thoughts, prayers and condolences to the family.

Name : Maitreyi Nanjanath
Affiliation :

Prof. Volz was my thesis advisor through my Master's degree. He inspired me to then go on and acquire my PhD.

He worked closely with the students he mentored, and took an active part in guiding their research. I remember one problem we had in the project we were working on, where we had an unexplained delay occuring in what should have been a real-time program. Prof. Volz tracked down where the problem lay, narrowing down to the solution and eliminating every incorrect explanation by deduction. This was a great learning experience for me in how to break down a complex problem and solve it analytically. What I learned from him has stood me in good stead both in academia and now in my professional life.

I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing away and will miss him. I would like to convey my thoughts, prayers, and support to his family.

Name : Art Sanderson
Affiliation : RPI

I was very sad to hear of Dick's passing. He has been a personal
friend and academic colleague over many years. His service and
devotion to the IEEE RAS have been instrumental in its growth and
success. His outstanding technical contributions span broad areas
of the robotics and automation landscape.
We will greatly miss him.


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.

Dr. Volz is not only my Ph.D advisor academically but also a FATHER in my life. All of his mentorship and good spirits will continue to guide my life and career while I will miss him.

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...

Vladimir Lumelsky

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.

I had the privilege to grow professionally in this activity under his leadership, and I could appreciate over the years his hard work, integrity, and warm heart.

Although expected, I am very sad for this news.

My sincere condolences to his wife Mary and family.

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.

Dick, I will miss you

Name : Shigeki Sugano
Affiliation : Waseda University

I am deeply sorry to hear of Dick's passing.
When he served as President of IEEE RAS, I served as Secretary.
It was an honor for me to have worked with Dick.
Dick and I had many discussions and I learned so much from him.
I will miss him so much.

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.

I am so grateful to be a student of his. He opened the door to a new world for me.

I will miss him very much.


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

Dear Mary,

There's no word that can express how sorry I am to hear about the death of Dr. Volz. As his previous Ph.D student, I have been benefited by the valuable knowledge that he had shared with me before and after Texas A&M. I know how difficult this must be for you and your family. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. May God bless you and your family during this time and always.

Best regards,
Yu Zhang

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.

He surely will be missed.

George Gleghorn

Name : Kazuhiro Kosuge
Affiliation : Tohoku University

I am very very very sad.
I would like to express my sincere condolences to his family and
his academic family.


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.

Please give Mary and the rest of Dick's family our deepest sympathy.

Regards, John

Regents Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University.

Name : Kang Shin
Affiliation : University of Michigan

I am saddened by Dick's passing away.
Dick was a colleague of mine at Michigan during the 80s before moving to A&M.
I recall Dick as the hardest working and worrying most person with warm heart.
We will all miss him and his dedication to whatever he chose to do.

Name : Kevin Lynch
Affiliation : Northwestern University

Dear Mary,

I enjoyed getting to know you, and Dick outside of robotics, over dinner at our IEEE RAS events. My deepest sympathies to you.

I learned a lot from Dick's passionate and tireless work for RAS and his promotion of robotics in general. Our field owes a great deal to Dick's unselfish leadership over many years. Dick's was a life well lived, a life of impact, and I hope that knowledge brings some solace.

Northwestern is proud to claim Dick as one of our own.

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.
I wish to convey my deepest condolences to his family.
I pray for his soul to rest in peace.
N. Viswanadham

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.

No matter how busy he is, he has always found the time to reply my email. Recently, I've noticed that he didn't reply to my email. My gut feeling was that his health might have gone worse. And his health has been in my prayer since then.

After receiving Dr. Amato's notification, I was sadden by the sad news. However, I know he is in a better place now. He will surely be missed.


My life is but a weaving
Between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oftimes He weaveth sorrow,
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I, the underside.

Not till the loom in silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Shall God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

- Author Unknown

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.
Roland Haden

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.
Mary and I wish to convey our very best wishes to Dick's family.

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.
We will treasure his memory, and grieve with Mary, his children and grandchildren.

Name : John Junkins
Affiliation : Texas A&M

Dear Friends and Family of Dick Volz.

My Sincere Condolences. Dick's passing represents a great loss. Dick has suffered for several years. While death comes to us all, it is always shocking and sad even when expected. This day is a punctuation mark in a life well-lived. Dick was a talented, hard working, generous man who contributed on many levels. My collaboration with him in the early 90s to co-lead the DUAL program was one of the early successes in cross - department collaborations. A large fraction of the computer science and aerospace faculty participated, many students benefitted and our sponsors at USA/NASA were well-pleased. Dick's contribution to this program is typical of his life. Do a great job and don't expect fanfare in return. I learned to appreciate his capacity for benevolent leadership and effective time-sharing firsthand.

While we will all miss him, the impact of his work will live on.

RIP Dick.

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.

Dick, we miss you. May God receive you in peace and glory, and bless Mary and the rest of the family.

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)


Please offer my condolences to Mary and the Volz family. I knew that Dick was in serious trouble when I met him at MD Anderson about 3 years ago. I considered Dick one of my friends who always tried to work with others and to cross disciplinary boundaries. We had many discussions when he was at Michigan and when he was at TAMU. Working with NASA/JSC was very fruitful. So, yes, Dick will be missed, but his life surely was a success.

Del Tesar

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.
Dick and I were classmates at Northwestern in the undergraduate days where we were known as "Those curve breakers" by our classmates and "Those unnamed prank players" by the faculty and staff.
At the Festshrift dinner in Dick's back yard we got to telling tales. A most memorable comment was made by a young faculty member whose shouted response to a prank Dick had just described was a shouted "Guys of your stature don't do things like that!"
Dick and I did not see each other frequently over the years but we sure enjoyed hearing of the other's pranks and adventures.
When l last saw him on May 30th he was still Dick with good attitude and conversation.
Blessings on you Dick and condolences to Mary, Rick and Keith.

Ed Hassler

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!