I studied under Dr. Dollar in 1969. His enthusiasm for the humanities and sense of humor left a lasting impression. I can still remember some of his classes - especially the one that I "crashed" a few years after graduation. It took a little while for him to recognize me and that I actually shouldn´t be there - but in the Dollar style he shot a question at me without missing a beat. My condolences to his family, friends and scholars everywhere.
I still have vivid memories of John from almost 40 years ago. I remember going to the Dollar home with a few other students on Sunday mornings to read the New York Times because none of us could afford a subscription. I remember their family Christmas tree had ornaments that were small tourist items from their travels, like a mini Eiffel Tower, and that he said we "could not afford not to travel." I remember going camping with John once and him pretending to be oblivious as college couples disappeared into tents together. I remember that he cast me as Death in a Greek tragedy we performed and that he encouraged me to stage Ben Jonson's "The Masque of Queens" as a project. I remember outings to the Cloisters and to St John the Divine Cathedral to look at flying buttresses. I remember him teaching us about Romanticism and being frustrated that due to classroom logistics he could not easily play an album to demonstrate it in music. I volunteered that the class could all go to my dorm room where I had a record player, and he seized the opportunity. After that we met in my room every so often. No one believes me that a professor would agree to that but I can still see him sitting on my roommate's bed talking about Wagner. I was usually still in pajamas when John knocked and he would chat with other students in the hall while I threw clothes on and cleared a pile of stuff off the record player.
One conversation has stuck with me for life and I have shared his lesson with many students since. I was complaining about and chafing against some university rule that constrained my options and John drew a circle. He said, "Beth, there is more freedom inside this circle than outside it. Tell me why this paradox is true." I really had to think about how parameters and constraints can be useful. They give you something to push against that helps you define what you most want, whereas being able to do anything at all can be paralyzing. This lesson has had a powerful impact on the way I approach life and look at obstacles.
John Dollar was a wise, caring man who made each of his students feel valued and gloriously gifted. Though I was his student way back in the 70's, I have thought of and spoken of him often with respect and affection. His children and grandchildren already know that his was a life well-lived. I hope they know the extent of his influence.
As an English major at FDU (class of 1970) I took a course with Professor Dollar every semester. He was outstanding in teaching literary masterpieces, 19th century literature, literary criticism, etc. He not only knew literature, but had a comprehensive grasp of history, philosophy, art, music, theater, and many other fields. He was a polymath, and all of his students were in awe of him. Professor Dollar liked me as a student, and because of that I have always felt blessed. I send my condolences to all of his family members and friends. He is irreplaceable.
I knew John Dollar as a fabulous grandfather, enthusiastic bridegroom to life,and a passionate fan of the written word. One of the things I enjoyed about him most was listening to him read his own poetry, as well as reciting by heart works by one of his favorite poets and mine, Gerard Manley Hopkins. I will treasure his memory as I treasure the friendship of his wonderful son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren, Tommy, Emily, Clara and Hana. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. Love, Beth (and Andy, Gus and Althea too -- we all send our love)
I was a student of Professor Dollar's at FDU's Rutherford campus in the late 1980's up to his retirement. I think many of his former students will agree, that out of the all the professors they may have had, John Dollar will stand out in their memory and will always be remembered for his eloquent, whimsical approach to presenting material. He would not only ask questions of his students, he would question the material, and ask you to question it as well. As a result, he engaged you to think. As a scholar, he passed that scholarly approach to his students. His teachings and the essence that is Professor Dollar will always be with me and passed down to my children. He truly was one of the best, if not the best, professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and will be missed
Well, John brought us all together one last time to share warm stories about castle hunting on the Hudson, adventures at the Cloisters and canoeing down the raging waters of the Delaware. If ever there was a man who lived his life, it was John - husband, father, teacher, adventurer; and if he did nothing else tonight, he gave us all a final gift of reaching, grabbing, embracing, endorsing, enveloping, exalting in our own lives. I imagine he was listening closely to all our shared remembrances, smiling, even chuckling to himself, that he had pulled it off one more time.