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Johnny E. Tolliver Sr.

Johnny E. Tolliver Sr.

This Guest Book will remain online until 8/31/2014 courtesy of The Tolliver Family.
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July 30, 2014
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July 30, 2014
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October 26, 2013
I was Dr. Tolliver's Executive Assistant when he was Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern University-Baton Rouge Campus. He was wonderful to work for!

I was sorry to learn that he had passed away on my birthday, July 29th,

I truly miss working for him. He was the greatest boss ever!

May his soul rest in peace.
October 21, 2013
Today I snipped an article from the Wall Street Journal about the effects on society of losing liberal education. I was going to share it with Johnny...Imagine the overwhelming sense of sadness and loss that I felt to learn of his passing...
As Dean of A&S, VP of Academic Affairs, and then Provost at DSU he was a breath of fresh air. Where other administrators talked to justify inaction, he simply found a way to help us get it done.
Intellectually unmatched, he was never fully appreciated for just how much he could have done...
The world is a poorer place for the loss of this unique man who inspired so many!
My sincere condolences to the Tolliver family.
September 04, 2013
Your family will always be in my prayers. Stay strong and know that GOD is never wrong. His Will Be Done.
September 03, 2013
Dear all:

Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers, and support after John's passing. They have been a source of great comfort. John lived a remarkable life and touched many lives as demonstrated by the comments you've shared below. I just wanted to share the biography that appeared in the program from his homegoing service. Be blessed, Ollie.


Dr. Johnny Edward Tolliver, Sr. was born on December 3, 1944 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. His parents were Jerry and Freddie B. Tolliver, Sr. He graduated salutatorian from Rosa A. Temple High School in 1962. In 1966, he graduated valedictorian with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. While there in his sophomore year, Johnny met the love of his life, Ollie Bell Wright. On June 18, 1966, they wed and remained together until he departed this life.

After completing college, Johnny continued his studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was there that he earned a Doctorate in English and American Literature and Language in 1974.

Johnny was a lifelong educator. From teaching a literature course for prison inmates to teaching at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, Johnny loved molding young minds. He had over thirty-five years of teaching experience at several colleges and universities. He also served as an administrator, which began when he returned to his alma mater, Jackson State, to serve as the Head of the Department of Mass Communications from 1974 to 1980. Johnny founded this department. During this time, he also oversaw the construction and licensing of and became the general manager of the campus radio station, WJSU-FM. From 1987 to 1993, Johnny served as Head of the Department of English at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. Later, he served first as Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and then Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Delaware State University in Dover, Delaware. From 2004 to 2008, he served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Even while serving as an administrator, Johnny continued to teach courses, and returned to the classroom full-time before retiring. In addition, he authored and co-authored three books and several articles.

Johnny also served his country in the military, earning the rank of Major. He served active duty in the United States Army from 1970 to 1973 and 1980 to 1987. Between these active tours and after, Johnny also served in the United States Army Reserve. During part of his military career, he was in field artillery. For him, however, the highlight was two tours he spent teaching at West Point, first as an instructor (1972 to 1973) and then as a Permanent Associate Professor (1984 to 1987). He was the first African-American Permanent Associate Professor in the English Department. In addition to teaching, Johnny administered a pilot writing program for the Army at three military installations and three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This course became the required writing course for the ROTC Enhanced Skills Training Program at twenty HBCUs.

Throughout his life, Johnny was a trailblazer, earning numerous accolades and awards. Although he had many titles throughout his years, his most treasured were husband, father, papa, pop pop, brother, friend, and mentor to many. He was also a member of the distinguished Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Johnny was an avid fan of the Temptations (whose music he performed); Earth, Wind, and Fire; and gospel performer, Richard Smallwood. Johnny loved following politics, world events, and professional wrestling. His likes were as eclectic as his personality. He was best known for his good nature, sense of humor, biting but playful sarcasm, and infectious laughter.

On July 29, 2013, Johnny was called home to be with the Lord while surrounded by his family. Left to cherish his memory are his family, mentees, and friends.
August 24, 2013
Dr. Tolliver was a tremendous mentor, role model and Alpha man. I learned so much about life and literature from him that it is hard to even put into words. You are a big reason why I decided to become an educator. You're with me in every class I teach.

I remember having to "greet" him everyday when I entered is class in the fall of 1988. Big Brother Tolliver you will definitely be missed. '06!

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