UT legend Dr. Howard R. Pollio has died

Sandra ClarkObits, West Knoxville

Think about it. Howard R. Pollio Ph.D. started teaching psychology at the University of Tennessee in 1962. How many students did he influence over a career than spanned more than half a century?

Dr. Pollio passed away on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at age 85. Dr. Gilya Gerda Schmidt, retired from the university’s religious studies department, said, “Howard was a treasured colleague at UT and a valued friend. We shall miss his kindness and his humor.”

The funeral will be on Friday, September 23, at 11 a.m. at Rose Funeral & Cremation – Mann. Family and friends will then travel in procession to New Jewish Cemetery for the interment.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marilyn. They raised three children and there were six grandchildren. His full obituary is here.

Dr. Pollio earned numerous university and national awards for his teaching and research. He authored many books and professional publications. He was also a passionate advocate in the community. And he never stopped learning.

He served on the doctoral committee for a friend, and I attended the defense of her dissertation. Harrowing. But Dr. Pollio made it fun. His questions were on-point and his advice was priceless. After the committee determined that yes, she should get her doctorate, he said, (paraphrasing) “Now don’t think this is over. Continue your work.” And I thought yes. The Ph.D. is a passport to explore new worlds, new ways of assembling the puzzle pieces we call life.

We are blessed to have the University of Tennessee here in Knoxville. And we are especially blessed to have professors like Howard Pollio.

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