Alumni News


Dear Alumnus/a,

Greetings from Harris Alumni Lodge! We would like to use this message to update you on several areas in which our department is involved.

The Margaret Hyde Council has been quite active over the last few months reviewing applications and interviewing students seeking funding for study abroad programs. In February, a “Lunchtime Lesson” was held with Dr. Sally Dormer, dean of European Studies, presenting information about the program and the advantages of student participation in educational programs that extend beyond the gates of Rhodes.

The photographs on this page feature members of the Margaret Hyde Council who served on the interview panel in addition to students who received funding support as a result of the early February interviews.

The council serves to support students through two primary means. First, students may apply for scholarships for study abroad experiences that will enhance their education. Second, emergency funds are provided to students when their ability to continue their studies at Rhodes is threatened due to financial circumstances.

The Alumni Relations Office was assigned responsibility for providing staff support for the council within the last year. It has been a good fit from our perspective. Should you wish to learn more about the Margaret Hyde Council, please contact our office. We can provide information and place you in contact with council members.

If you are not registered with the Lasting Lynx program, we implore you to do so. We are using a monthly electronic newsletter as a primary means of getting update information about the college to alumni. We are also using this vehicle to inform alums about events in their areas. The potential for other uses is great. We would appreciate receiving your e-mail address if we do not already have it.

Please contact us at or call (800) 264-5969, (901)843-3845.

We hope that this finds each of you doing well. Let us know if there is anything that we can do to respond to needs that you have.

All best wishes from your Alumni Relations Staff,

Stephanie Chockley ’95
Tracy Comer, Administrative Assistant
Bud Richey, Director


Reflections on Teaching

By W. Thomas Jolly ′52
Professor Emeritus of Classics

Tom Jolly says it was an accident that he majored in Greek and Latin, and that he never had to apply for a job in his life. He laughs when he says it, but what really happened over the years is that his major, along with deans, colleges and students simply found him, and in him, a scholar, teacher and lifelong friend.

Jolly, who had studied Latin at Webb School in Bell Buckle, TN, began college at Vanderbilt and transferred to Rhodes second semester of his freshman year. He saw no reason to take more Latin at Rhodes, but it fit his schedule. His professors encouraged him to take more Latin and pick up Greek on the way. By the time he graduated he had enough hours for a double major—one in each language, though he read for honors in Latin only.

Graduate school at Johns Hopkins lasted only a semester when Jolly, a member of the Naval Reserve, was called to active duty. He served as a diesel mechanic for two years and afterward, even considered working on Mississippi River towboats.

With the G.I. Bill he earned his master’s degree at Ole Miss. He studied for his Ph.D. at Michigan and completed it at Tulane. While at Michigan he applied for a teaching job at Sewanee to see if that was indeed what he wanted to do. At the same time, along came an unsolicited offer from Millsaps, which he accepted. Another offer came in 1965, this time from Rhodes, where he taught till 1994.

He delights in his students who now teach classics at prep school and university level, the one who became a physician and then chucked it all to pursue a Ph.D. in classics, and another who taught the requisite Greek to fellow seminarians at Princeton as a first-year student there. Years later the precocious Princetonian instructed his daughter, who was stranded overnight in Memphis, to call Tom Jolly for help, which he was happy to give.

A classic story from the classics professor involves a student who owned a 1955 Chevrolet named Agonia, from the Greek word for “contest.” Jolly, who had gone to the student’s rescue many times, gave Agonia a tuneup. The car worked fine till after graduation. Shortly afterward, a midnight phone call from Agonia’s owner, now stalled outside of Little Rock, informed Jolly that Agonia had died. Jolly drove to Little Rock and rescued him once more. The student took Agonia’s hood ornament with him. Today, when that alumnus talks to prospective Rhodes students, he shows the ornament and tells the story of the kind of place Rhodes really is.