William Thomas "Tom" Jolly (2007)

William Thomas "Tom" Jolly was a native of Helena, Arkansas, where he was born in 1929. He devoted his career to the students of his alma mater, Rhodes College. Following his graduation in 1952, he received a master’s from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. from Tulane. He returned to Rhodes in 1965 and for twenty years (1973-1993) he held the fort alone, teaching all the Greek and Latin at the college, before a rescue party in the form of Kenneth Morrell was called in. Morrell said that Jolly was "a professor among professors," who manifestly earned the Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching in 1991. Like many great teachers, his devotion to his students often extended beyond the classroom. Said one of his students, now a commander in the Navy, "A number of his students when in graduate school had some tuition paid or cars repaired by Tom." He died at the age of 78 on November 4, 2007, of complications that followed a stroke ten years earlier.

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