J. William Loving, Jr., 1934-2009

Larger than Life

By Bobby Davis ’82

Bill Loving sitting by a window.

In no particular order, Bill Loving loved the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Rollins soccer, Hunter S. Thompson (a fellow Kentuckian, he noted proudly), Pippin (after whom he named his beloved and much-spoiled dog) and musical theater generally, the Rollins Players, classical music, good photography (especially that of André Kertész, Jerry Uelsmann, Edward Weston, and Ansel Adams), the Orlando Magic, wine and rich food, the Kentucky Derby (his annual Derby party with his special mint julep recipe was legendary), Beef and Bottle, Mexican food, English and American history, political debates, gossip, old movies, new movies, Harry Potter, South Park, and Johnny Carson’s Carnak the Magnificent.

Loving, who served as director of financial aid at Rollins from 1970 to 1986, passed away September 13, 2009. His memorial service at the Maitland Art Center drew more than 120 former students, colleagues, and friends, many of whom shared heartfelt memories.

“Bill was the wittiest person I have ever known,” said Sam Crosby ’73. “In my senior year at Rollins, when I told him I had been accepted at the University of Florida Law School, he said, ‘You will raise the average IQ of both places.’ He possessed a subtle but powerful ability to disarm with charm and humor, which he used to bring everyone into his large circle of friends.”

Loving came to Rollins after serving as financial aid director at Florida Technological University (now University of Central Florida). He believed in the power of aid to give lower- and middle-class applicants a chance for a superior education, and he liked underdogs. He also believed students should work for the privilege. “For kids on financial aid like me, Bill was a large part of why we were able to come to Rollins in the first place,” said Todd Pittenger ’85. “He counseled students on work-study jobs, helped choose professors and major fields, shared his love of the arts, cheered on the athletes amongst us at events, encouraged the leaders, and helped get us jobs or into graduate schools.”

He was committed to his role as faculty adviser to the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, recruiting students to the organization and helping the fraternity maintain high standards. “Bill was instrumental in bringing the Florida Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta back to life,” Pittenger said. “He was a superb mentor and kept the oral history of the fraternity. He could go through a room of composites and tell you something about virtually every person pictured for every year. He was the living link between several generations of Phi Delts.”

Loving embodied the liberal arts ideal of Rollins in his wide range of cultural interests. One rarely left a meeting with him without coming away with a book, CD, or DVD in hand. He had an encyclopedic memory for jokes—most of them bad. He was an ordained Baptist minister, art collector, accomplished photographer, avid reader, dedicated fan of Rollins sports teams, mentor, informed political observer, music lover, and devoted husband. In the words of Michael Stewart ’82, “He is ‘largely’ missed.”

Read a longer tribute featuring remembrances by Loving’s friends and colleagues.

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