Community mourns the loss of Hazard Community & Technical College’s first president Dr. J. Marvin Jolly

Published: Feb. 22, 2021 at 5:15 PM EST
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PERRY COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - For those that knew Dr. J. Marvin Jolly, they say he was a leader with a passion for education and helping people.

“He just was that kind of person. He sought knowledge and he was very community oriented,” said his son James Jolly Jr.

Born in Alabama, Jolly taught in academia for years. Passionate about learning and wanting to share that passion to others, he came to Hazard Community & Technical College (HCTC) to become president in 1968.

“He thoroughly enjoyed being here because he got to start something,” he said.

His legacy will never be forgotten as a glimpse of his characteristics and attributes will continue with the programs he helped launch.

“The nursing program, you know fulfilling community need and the chorus was for fun, but the more people that were involved, it just helped the college grow,” he said.

Students and faculty described Jolly as a caring man who was an advocate for students.

Second President of HCTC Dr. G. Edward Hughes says,

“Dr. Jolly was among the early leaders who launched the Community College System in Kentucky, a system of colleges designed to bring post-secondary education to every region of the Commonwealth. As the founding president of Hazard Community College as it was known then, (now HCTC), he built the strong foundation upon which everything rested for those of us who came after him. Dr. Jolly hired many talented teachers and staff members each of whom followed his vision and transformed thousands of lives over the years.

He made a difference as the founding President of HCTC and in the community of Hazard and the surrounding communities where students resided. His leadership continued in the community following his retirement from the college, a tribute to his desire to help people of all walks of life. His concern for and advocacy of the needs of students, their families and their communities were driving principles of his leadership. His legacy continues through the of lives of the college’s many thousands of students and graduates.”

Chief Leadership Innovation Officer of the Higher Education Innovation, LLC Dr. Jay K. Box adds,

“Dr. Marvin Jolly was the epitome of the 20th century community college president. As the founding president of Hazard Community College, Dr. Jolly had to start from scratch. I can only imagine what a huge undertaking that must have been. I truly admired that during his tenure he was able to build the college into one of the strongest academic colleges in the former University of Kentucky Community College System. When I became the HCTC president in 2002, Dr. Jolly was one of the first to reach out to me and welcome me to Hazard. As a first-time president, I will always appreciate that he took me under his wing and offered sensible advice on how I could better the college.”

Current HCTC president, Dr. Jennifer Lindon says Jolly was a loving man with a big heart.

“He was a very calm person and you could just tell by his demeanor how much he cared about the college, our students and their community,” she said.

But the impact he leaves on the college will last forever.

“Through every student that we touch and every student that we work with, we will continue to live out his legacy and his hopes and his dreams for the future of the area,” she said.

Jolly was 91. To view his obituary, you can click here.

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