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RL "Bob" Morgan

October 29, 1954 - July 12, 2012
Friend, Colleague, Mentor and a truly awesome guy.
We have all the people to prove his identity.

Personal and Family Tribute Web Site

A Memorial (archived) was held Sunday, July 29, 2012
Obituary in Seattle Times
University of Washington Announcement
Highlights of Bob's Life - by daughter Annika

See the comments below for all those who helped affirm Bob's identity
with the attributes of all the people he touched.
It was a community effort - just as he would have wanted.
If you wish to contribute - contact gettes at

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The Morgan family asks those interested in making a donation to the college educations of Bob and Eve's daughters Annika and Julia to send a check made out to "Bob Morgan Kids College Fund". Be sure to include the account #6027180 on the check in the memo section.
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Mail a check to:
Olympia, WA 98507
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or you can mail a check directly to Eve Perara at:

Department of Chemistry
Attention: Eve Perara
University of Washington
Box 351700
Seattle, WA 98195-1700



In recognition of the many years of Bob's leadership in IT for Higher Education and generally,
the community who loved and respected Bob so much,
attempted to acknowledge his many contributions by presenting him with
the Internet2 President's Leadership Award on April 24, 2012.  

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   David Lambert, President & CEO of Internet2, presenting the award to Bob.
Believed to be the only time Bob was on stage, front and center, and never spoke.


The plaque given to him reads: 

Given in gratitude to

RL "Bob" Morgan

For exceptional global leadership
in the evolving world of digital identity.
For keen vision and acuity in enabling
new paradigms and services of enduring benefit
to global research, education and beyond.
For mentorship and personifying the essence of
true collaboration and membership in
Internet2 and InCommon.

April, 2012



His professional life in Information Technology was filled with leadership, design and lots of hard work.  Just some of the things he has done in the Identity and Architecture space (in no particular order):

  • A founder of the InCommon Federation (involved in nearly every aspect of creating and developing the federation and the concepts of federation)
  • Co-Chair of InCommon Technology Advisory Committee
  • Chair of MACE (Middleware Architecture Committee for Education)
  • Senior Technology Architect, Computing and Communications at University of Washington
  • Bread Baker's Guild of America
  • Internet2 Middleware Initiative
  • National Science Foundation Middleware Initiative (a primary lead, key contributor and definer of new terminology)
  • co-creator of Shibboleth
  • InCommon CAMP & Advanced CAMP (leader, presenter, contributor)
  • IETF (working groups: ldapext, SASL, PKIX, TLS, ASID, KRB-wg), his specific RFC contributions
  • Internet Society
  • Directories (particularly for use in Higher Education)
  • MACE Grouper Project
  • MACE Signet Project (deprecated)
  • fping, versions 2.x
  • Bob's EDUCAUSE Biography and related body of work
  • Google Tech Talk, Sept 2007 (Bob and Ken) Internet Scale Identity, Collaboration, and Higher Education


We lost Bob on July 12, 2012 to his battle with cancer which he documented, in his own very unique way.  We believe the following from his blog demonstrates his humor, insight, ability to explain complex things in simple ways, nature to make you think.  It's quintessential Bob.

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Just to clear this up, for all you computer people.
Last time was “re-install OS and restore from backup”.
This time is “install a different OS”.
Next time is “migrate to the cloud”.
Got it?

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Yup, we got it!



Pictures of Bob are here

If you have some you would like to contribute you can add them yourself or email Michael Gettes or Steve Olshansky.

From Kevin Morooney at the Pennsylvania State University comes the story of the Penn State water bottle and the idea from Renee Shuey (also of PSU):

Renee and Bob were having a conversation.  Eventually, Bob got a chance to speak.  They were talking about what his condition was and what he was going to do to try and get better.  Renee, of course, wanted to know what she could do to help.  Bob told her that it was going to be a marathon, so perhaps she could provide water.  So she got a water bottle with Penn State on it and once she explained what it was for, I asked if I could help by taking some pictures with it.  I carried it around with me since that day, and have taken pictures of it all around campus, central PA, and even places where I've traveled while on business and pleasure.  My family was quite helpful at times, as have work colleagues been.  Everyone came to know what the bottle was for.  In fact, I got asked twice the last two days why I was so down and in both cases all I had to say was that my water bottle friend passed away.  They knew immediately that it was a big deal to me.


And, here are some of the "Bob-isms"

"Innaresting ..."
"grumble, grumble"
"ummm, uh."
"Dunno, let's discuss."
"I s'pose"
"mmmore or less"
"rub shoulders with"

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This gem is from Jeff Hodges with some detective work by Terry Gray to find the web page referenced in the following email

Subject: Re: speaking of pix..
From: "RL 'Bob' Morgan" <>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 22:27:08 +0000 ( )

Hmm, so was it you who sent this URL to my boss's boss via anonymous remailer?

  • RL "Bob"
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What others are saying:
From Nathan Dors, University of Washington and Bob's manager (morning, July 16, 2012):

Subject: RL "Bob" Morgan

[Sent to all of UW-IT]

It is with deep sadness that I share the news that RL "Bob" Morgan passed away last Thursday, July 12, at the UW Medical Center.

RL Bob was receiving treatment related to myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer for which he received a stem cell transplant in June.

Although his title was that of our identity architect, many of us revered him and labeled him "spiritual adviser". He brought wisdom, humor, and clearheadedness to the complex problems presented by online identity, and to the challenges of getting key people in higher education and industry to agree on the mechanics needed to enable it, so that ultimately everyone would trust it. His contributions here were immeasurable, involving the foundations of identity federation, as well as major projects like InCommon, Shibboleth, SAML, and much, much more.

In April, he was honored with the Internet2 President's Leadership Award in recognition of his vision and ability to lead, mentor, and collaborate with others, which he continued to do via email and on conference calls right up to his recent admittance to the hospital.

RL Bob leaves us a rich legacy of ideas and examples to work on and live by. Among the latter: generosity, reciprocity, mumbleocity, and simply knowing when to close the laptop and go enjoy what one loves most: family, friends, baking, soccer, reading, dry wit, and a myriad of other things in his case. For me and many others, he exemplified human flourishing; he will be missed. Immensely.

Now our thoughts, hearts, and sympathies turn to RL Bob's family: his wife Eve and daughters Annika and Julia. They are planning a memorial event for the weekend of July 28, and suggesting that remembrances be made to a college fund for the girls or to Mercy Corps. As soon as details are known, I will share those with the UW-IT community.



From Paul Madsen


Shel Waggener, Sr. VP of Internet2 NET+ Services, spoke about Bob at the Joint Techs workshop at Stanford University on July 16, 2012.  Skip to time index 6:45 in the video to see Shel's remarks.

Eve Maler, long time Identity expert, has a nice story involving Bob and his role in the identity realm from 2007.

Kantara Initiative Salute, by Joni Brennan

Jeff Hodges - long time friend and more from Jeff about Bob's Stanford University work.

Twitter Feed it would appear twitter has lost the older tweets of others talking about Bob ever since a twitter failure

the Shibboleth Consortium has a piece remembering Bob

REFEDS (Research & Education Federations) have remembered Bob