Provost Peggy Agouris sent the following message to the campus community Feb. 23, 2021. - Ed.
I write to share the news that Richard “Dick” Prosl, Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus, passed away peacefully on February 14, 2021. Professor Prosl was born in Springfield, MA on April 21, 1938. He received his B.S. from William & Mary, a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Dick Prosl joined the W&M faculty in 1966 as a professor of Mathematics. In the fall of 1984, Professor Prosl joined with other mathematicians and computer scientists to form the Department of Computer Science, which he chaired from 1985 through 1991 and again from 2000-2003. Under his leadership, the Ph.D. program was started in 1986.
His enthusiasm for teaching was central to his career. Students always enjoyed his sense of humor and style of teaching. His 8am, Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes were always a “full house.” He is remembered for always taking the time to talk with his students, and he shared a genuine interest in making meaningful connections with them. In his personal and professional life, Dick was known for his warmth, wit and intellect.
Professor Prosl is best known by his colleagues for his truly outstanding record of service to his alma mater. He served as a freshman/sophomore advisor for 34 years, winning the Outstanding Advisor award in 1988, and served as both a concentration advisor and graduate student advisor. He was a Faculty Marshal for 35 years, the last eleven as Chief Marshal, leading academic processions at graduations and other official ceremonies. He served on the Commencement Policy Committee for eleven years, on the Committee on Academic Status for ten years (three as chair), and on the Educational Policy Committee for six years (two as chair). He also served on both the 1974 and 1985 Self-Study Committees, each time chairing a sub-committee. Professor Prosl also served on the Board of the Wesley Foundation of William & Mary.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 57 years, Carol Lovell Prosl, and daughters, Elizabeth P. Arnold (Jeff) of Brentwood, TN, Karen P. Firestone (Rob) of Midlothian, VA, and grandchildren, Caitlyn, Kyle, and Hayley. He is also survived by his sisters, Janet Ragland (Ron) of Richmond, VA, and Nancy Mader (Fred) of Staunton, VA. His parents, Harry and Verna Prosl, predeceased him.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Respite Care Program at Williamsburg United Methodist Church (WUMC Respite, 500 Jamestown Rd., Williamsburg, VA 23185), or to the Fund for William & Mary (https://giving.wm.edu/).