Land, oh!

His advent is a jolley good one for Oxford and its dorm-refurbishment plans. Dr. Fleming L. Jolley '43Ox-'47M has made a gift of land to Emory worth $2 million, $1.1 million of which will be used to revamp the dormitories.

The projected $2.3 million renovation plan on the Oxford campus had garnered, in the last year, gifts from alumni and corporations that, together, had amounted to approximately $800,000. A challenge grant of $500,000 was also in the offing, but that still left Oxford supporters with the task of raising a considerable amount of money. And a deadline loomed--January 31, 1995--for receipt of all remaining money and pledges or the challenge grant would be lost.

Before the end-of-January pay knell came end-of-December sleigh bells. This gift--the largest one-time contribution from an alumnus of Oxford--evoked lines from a familiar Yuletide narrative: "He was a jolly [or, rather, Jolley] old elf, nimble and quick." As to being "nimble and quick," there is no doubt that Jolley's beneficence was timed perfectly.

Bonnell, Dickey, Dowman, and Stone are the dorms that will undergo structural sprucing, eventually becoming the Jolley Residential Center. The modifications will answer the needs of student groups that wish for more meeting space and will help those dedicated "grinders" who desire late-night study accommodations after the library has darkened. Associations that rent space on campuses for summer conferences also will find more available room at Oxford.

Completion of the new plans will make Oxford more competitive nationally for the best and brightest students. According to Dean William H. Murdy, "When we began the Campaign for Oxford, I knew that no other project would have greater impact on the long-term financial stability of Oxford than providing housing comparable to that at other small, private, liberal arts colleges. I am most grateful for Dr. Jolley's investment in Oxford's future."

Principal elements of the refurbishment are

The college has vowed to take special care in the construction process, and not merely of the sort involving steel-toed shoes or the age-old directive to lift with the knees. Rather, the care will be in preserving essential elements of the dorms for alumni who recall their residential days fondly. The buildings will retain their names and separate, spirited identities. In the fall 1994 issue of Oxford Outlook, now-respectable doctors and deans relate stories of--yes--their favorite pranks while they were Oxford College students.

The remaining amount of Jolley's gift will be used to endow two scholarships in medicine and to help fund the alumni house project. According to William H. Fox, vice president for institutional advancement, "This is one of the great gifts from an alumnus of Emory in our history. Our entire community is grateful for having been blessed by his generosity."

Splitting his time between campuses through the years, Fleming Jolley has been a trusted friend of the University. Leaving Oxford in 1943, he served in the Naval Medical Corps and then began medical school at Emory in 1944. After completing his M.D. in 1947--"too young to be a doctor," in his words--he completed a surgery residency in Winston-Salem and participated in the Korean conflict for two years. Returning to Emory for a neurosurgery residency in 1954, he began a private practice downtown as one of only eight neurosurgeons in the city.

After two years in solo practice, he became a member of The Emory Clinic because its setup made vital consultative work easier. In 1979, Jolley retired and began spending more time at Sea Island with his wife, Annie Rogers Hoyt. Before her death in 1993, she set up some scholarships of her own in Niceville, Florida. Jolley laughs when he contemplates the image evoked by "the Jolleys in Niceville." Both Jolleys were proud to learn that granddaughter Catherine Fleming Bost was accepted into the Emory School of Medicine.

Attending Oxford Day in 1993, Jolley chaired his fiftieth reunion celebration. In recent years he has been active in Oxford's Alumni Recruitment Network, a highly successful program begun five years ago by Maddie Monahan, associate director of admission. Participants in this eighty-member network communicate with both prospective and accepted students about the benefits of an Oxford education. Response from students to Jolley's handwritten, thought-provoking letters has been overwhelmingly positive.

Bob Carpenter, executive director of the Association of Emory Alumni, calls him "one of our most dedicated and loyal Assembly delegates," having attended all twelve sessions. Jolley also serves on the Emory Club of Atlanta Steering Committee.

Groundbreaking at Oxford will take place this spring. Even as the weather warms, however, very few people at Emory will forget the kind soul who dropped the deed for a valuable piece of land down Emory's chimney at the holidays.--S.M.C.

Return to Spring 1995 contents page.