In Memoriam: Jean Malcolm Holliday

March 28, 2012 — Jean Malcolm Holliday, known as "Dean Jean" in the University of Virginia's School of Engineering and Applied Science, died March 24 in Charlottesville. She was 95.

A memorial service for Holliday will be held April 30 at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Memorial Church on University Avenue. Interment will be private.

After attending Duke University and Mary Baldwin College, Holliday went to King-Smith Secretarial School in Washington, D.C. She worked briefly in the typing pool at a large corporation, and then came to U.Va., where over the next 43 years, she became known by faculty, staff and students as "Dean Jean." For 37 of those years, she steered the administration of the Engineering School, where she assisted five deans and for many years was the only administrative employee in the dean's office.

She considered herself a "jack of all trades" and took pride in handling myriad tasks such as compiling the course catalog, interviewing prospective students, scheduling classes and determining graduation eligibility. As one alumnus noted in a 2007 UVA Today story about Holliday, she took an "interest in everybody and expected 'her' students ... to act like gentlemen."

She was granted honorary membership in the engineering honor societies Trigon, Theta Tau and Tau Beta Pi, and in 1980 she was chosen for the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for character and service to humanity.

She retired in 1981.

In 1996, on the occasion of her 80th birthday, engineering alumni surprised her with the establishment of an endowed scholarship in her name – the Jean Holliday Scholarship, which provides financial assistance to children of Engineering School faculty and staff.

Holliday is survived by her brother, Malcolm Holliday, and his five children and by another niece, Kathryn Mitchell.

— By Anne Bromley