Remembering Dr. Richard Uray: 1956

Dr. Richard M. Uray A Man Ahead of His Time

Dr. Richard M. Uray
A Man Ahead of His Time


I’m feeling old. Maybe it’s the fact that this year my 1956 St. Thomas High School class is celebrating our 60th graduation anniversary. Maybe the truth simply is – we are old.

Damn we’re old! And damn-if-i-know where the time went. All I know is – the Basilian Order priests at dear old STHS  did their very best years ago to goad us into knowledge that would help us find the wisdom trail once we were old enough to appreciate the lessons of personal experience that awaited each of us singularly along the way.

During the summer of 1956, using today’s linguistic expression, I was uber pumped to be starting college in the fall. I was happy, single, in love, playful, still playing some baseball in a summer CYO league, still catching a few games at Buff Stadium, working in a little men’s clothing store downtown, and just taking in all the joy I could find in each Houston summer day. Man, I was wired. The whole summer of 1956 was a golden time for me.

I was going to have to work to go to college, but that was OK with me. I would be enrolling as a freshman radio and television major in September and looking forward gratefully to the fact that I had been accepted for admission into one of the great pioneer programs of media study at the University of Houston. Sadly, but like so many others, including most of the faculty themselves, we lacked the clear wisdom at that time that television was far more of an ever-expanding media phenomenon unto itself – and not merely an expansion of radio, but with pictures.

Only one of my instructors, Dr. Richard Uray,  seemed to “get” the point I just tried to make, but I was among the limited segment of the herd who “got” the intellectual part of his message between 1956-57, while still lacking the divine inspiration of its Delphic truth until years later – when I saw it unfolding all around us through the technological advances that proved him a prophet without honor in his time.

Uray used to say things about TV like the following: “There’s an old expression in show business that goes like this: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet!’ – Well, that old saying covers where TV is today in the late 1950s. – We ain’t seen nothing yet. – Color television is coming soon. And that will be followed by better, larger picture quality on sets at home. – Then you can count on other things too that friends tell me are not far away. We will soon enough, within the next ten to fifteen years, have a working tape technology that will allow us to record moving pictures with sound. Unlike motion picture film, these television tapes will require no development. They will be immediately available for broadcast use on television as we now use audio tapes on radio. – The implications for where this technology alone may take us defies our human imagination. – Maybe someday we will even figure out ways for people to use television directly with each other. I’m not quite sure how that might happen, but, when it does, television is going to change the whole way we now see our world.”

Dr. Uray understood. Progress is a direction, not a destination. Progress says : Anything that works well or serves a useful purpose can possibly be improved, if we have the desire, the will, and the energy to pursue it over however much time it takes.

Thank you, Dr. Uray, for being a visionary and an inspiration. I will always be grateful, even if I did change my major field to psychology in 1958. Thank you for helping me to see what I wasn’t totally ready to see or appreciate when I first heard you speak of such things. I did finally “get” the whole apple – and I’ve never let it go. Your hopeful and expanded view on how to look forward to even greater possibility in anything that is good and true now has lived within me for sixty years. And I’m still counting. At least, through the time it takes to finish this column and go to sleep.


Note: Dr. Richard M. Uray (1924-1998) was only 32 and he then had a full head and mustache of jet black hair when I first met him as a broadcasting instructor at UH. He also had one of those beautifully resonant baritone speaking voices that churns out clearly spoken words as though they were scriptural, but destined for delivery at a “Front Page” style “here-it-is, get-it-or not” pace.

Uray later spent most of his academic career as Broadcast Chair of the University of South Carolina School of Journalism and was inducted into the South Carolina Broadcasting Association Hall of Fame in 1995, three years prior to his death. USC at Columbia SC has established broadcasting scholarships in his name as the most meaningful way to observe the memory of one who was both a seer and fine teacher.

For further information, use this link and scroll down the page to find the material written about Dr. Uray.




One Response to “Remembering Dr. Richard Uray: 1956”

  1. strider49 Says:

    Somewhere in the Bible it says “Know him by his works” or something like that. At this moment, your columns are your “works.” They are fresh, smart, insightful, humanistic – and, yes, YOUNG. So forget this “old” stuff. Remember, “My candle is burning at both ends…….”

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