December 18, 2014

Alumni: Charles Morrissey at the Frontiers of eLearning

Fifty years ago, Professors John Kemeny and Tom Kurtz at Dartmouth College made history when they unveiled computer time-sharing and the BASIC programming language. These technological innovations became a key part of providing computer resources to anyone across the globe and the foundation for the digital age.

Charles Morrissey

Charles Morrissey (PhD, Executive Management, 1997) became a part of these innovations, by supporting Dartmouth’s breakthrough by launching a new firm that would provide curriculum materials to support faculty and students and expedite the use of this new resource. It was the first step in what we now call “eLearning.”

“The opportunity was incredible,” said Morrissey. “Professor Kemeny turned to the small audience the night of the first demo where three students from around New England had logged in to write and share a small program. Kemeny noted that anyone in the world could have access to such a resource ‘anytime, anywhere.’”

Morrissey’s start-up, TimeShare Corporation, immediately developed applications and online service for the K-12 market. TimeShare developed an alliance with Houghton Mifflin Educational Publishing Company in 1968, and the publisher eventually acquired the start-up in 1977. Shortly thereafter, Morrissey, a graduate of Harvard Business School and Colby College who also served as an officer in the US Air Force, moved to California. There he became an advisor to venture firms’ portfolio companies including Xerox Technology Ventures. Morrissey started his management education career in 1984, joining the University of California, Irvine to develop and teach an entrepreneurship and information systems program. He joined Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Management in 1989 from where he retired last year as emeritus professor of strategy. He enrolled in the Drucker School of Management’s PhD program in 1989 where he focused on the role of the Internet in management education. His dissertation led to the development of Study.Net, which provides course materials to management students online. He became a life-long friend of Paul Gray, his dissertation chair and an influential CGU information systems professor. Morrissey continued to support CGU by helping Gray with the development of the PC Museum named for him.

He joined the Drucker Board of Visitors in early 2013 to support its mission of providing strategic feedback and financial support.