Richard Neely Morrison has deep roots in Arizona. His family legacy is with Gilbert and Mesa’s agricultural industry. (Both the Neelys and the Morrisons started farming in the Gilbert area in the early 1920's.) His time spent in this industry, working from sunrise to sunset, prepared him for a life of hard work and service beyond himself.  


Mr. Morrison's adult professions include the practice of law, involvement in Arizona’s agribusiness industry, and committed service as a priest of the Episcopal Church. After graduating first in his class from NAU’s College of Business in 1970, Mr. Morrison went on to serve in the United States Navy as a naval aviator, and was a Distinguished Naval graduate from the Naval Aviation Schools Command. After his naval service, Mr. Morrison graduated with his Doctor of Jurisprudence from the University of Houston. In law, Mr. Morrison has been recognized nationally for his work, publications, and speeches regarding water law and environmental ethics. Early on in his career, Mr. Morrison also felt he had a calling to ordained ministry. He graduated from San Francisco Theological Seminary and serves as a priest for the Episcopal Church, currently as Interim Rector at The Church of the Epiphany- Tempe.

Richard’s business management and policy-oriented legal practice focuses chiefly on natural resources, real estate, water law and environmental law.Through his farming and law experience, he has a working knowledge of the myriad issues surrounding the use of natural resources and the design of food systems. 

Mr. Morrison has had many additional roles in his life as an avid civic leader who focuses on public policy and planning for Arizona’s water future. His civic involvement is extensive but is perhaps best exemplified by his 33 years of service on the Executive Committee of the Morrison Institute of Public Policy, as to which he was a co-founder.  He has also served as Chairman of the Board for the Institute. He is a long time member and supporter of Arizona Town Hall, recently serving on the board of directors and on the Executive Committee of the Board.  Mr. Morrison also serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Community Foundation, the state’s leading grant-making charity.  


In academe, Mr. Morrison has been a university trustee of three graduate schools, a fundraiser, an administrator, and a faculty member. His experience includes close association with several university academic units as a member of their governing or advisory boards.  At present, Mr. Morrison is a member of the External Advisory Board to the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona and recently served as Chairman of the Board of the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. 
When asked about Mr. Morrison, his friend Michael Elliott of Mesa, Arizona wrote “Richard is a civic leader in the finest traditions of our national life.  He is a wise, thoughtful elder with enough youthful energy to provide leadership that makes a difference.   While he may be best known for his commitment to an objective examination of public policy, he is frequently sought out for his advice about business, investments, philanthropy, personnel management, and human relationships.  His leadership incorporates wise counsel to the people involved in complex organizations and processes.  His business school training in systems thinking continues to pay great dividends.” 

Richard has been happily married for over 43 years and is the proud father of his two adult daughters.



Doctor of Jurisprudence, University of Houston, 1977
     Order of the Barons Scholastic Honor Society; American Jurisprudence Labor Law
     Summer Program in Mexican Law, Cuernavaca, Mexico  
     Summer Program at Oxford University, Oxford, England

Master of Arts (Values), San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA, 1991 
     Thesis: “Conflicting Values in the Settlement of Central Arizona Indian Water Claims:

     Outcomes Suggested by Christian Principles of Economic Justice”

Bachelor of Science (Business Management), Northern Arizona University, 1970

     Honors with High Distinction, 
     Elected to Blue Key and Phi Kappa Phi Honorary Societies
     Named Outstanding Graduate in Management