Mrs. Harold Jolley


Part Three Head of the Department

In 1922, the University’s class catalogue listed the “Department of Journalism” for the first time, and Mrs. Jolley was listed as the head of the department with Leona Leary, a former student and member of “The Pup,” listed as her assistant. This year marked new growth for students of journalism, and Jolley seems to have been a pinnacle factor in building students’ interests in news writing, namely because of her involvement in a student group like “The Pup.” 1922 marked the year of the first weekly publication of The Gateway, with its first issue published on January 13. Mrs. Jolley was listed on The Gateway’s board of publishers, which consisted of only 28 people. 

A group photo of journalism students

This year also marked the departure of Jolley from OU, and “The Pup” became Delta Sigma Phi after Mrs. Jolley’s departure.  No one filled her position as Professor of Journalism or Journalism Department Head, resulting in the department’s disappearance. However, classes in journalism were still available. Jolley’s name disappeared from the history of UNO, and with her departure, she took much of what we can learn about her. Her contributions, however, are still listed online by the School of Communication, which created a historical timeline that includes Jolley as an early developer of journalism at the University.

Through the hard work of Jolley and others like her, journalism at UNO continued to grow over the years. However, it was not until 1942 that journalism regained its own department, separate from the Department of English, and it was not until 2004 that the School of Communication was created. The Gateway continues to be UNO’s only student news publication. Since its beginnings in the early 1900s, The Gateway has won several awards from the Nebraska Press Association, including those for photography, layout, and advertising design (The Gateway). One can imagine that if Mrs. Harold D. Jolley visited the UNO campus, she would be pleased to know her contributions have not been forgotten, and she was a part of the development of a program that helps students find careers in an area about which she was clearly passionate.

Although Mrs. Jolley’s name has disappeared, her husband, Harold D. Jolley, has left his mark at his alma mater, St. Louis’ Washington University. The Harold D. Jolley Hall was dedicated in 1990. After retiring from his position as Vice President Emeritus at Ceco Steel Products Company, he “established the Harold D. Jolley Professorship in Civil Engineering. It was his lifelong dream to have an engineering building with his name on it” (Washington University at St. Louis). It is hard to say why Mrs. Jolley did not refer to herself by her first name; it could be a sign of the times, a period when women were often referred to by the names of their husbands. Perhaps it was out of pride for Harold’s long list of professional accomplishments. Or, perhaps it was out of love. Whatever the reason, the life of Mrs. Harold D. Jolley remains in great part a mystery, although the small fragments we do have reveal a fascinating, successful, and trailblazing woman of UNO history.