Polly A. Schultz, 52, technology professor at Villa Julie for 30 years

April 30, 2001|By Laura Lippman | Laura Lippman,SUN STAFF

Polly A. Schultz, a professor who returned to her alma mater of Villa Julie College almost by accident and ended up spending her entire career there, died Thursday at Longview Nursing Home in Manchester. Dr. Schultz, who died from ovarian cancer, was 52.

She grew up in Beckleysville in northwest Baltimore County. In 1968, she graduated from Villa Julie with a two-year degree -- then the only degree offered at the college. She went on to earn a bachelor of science in business from University of Baltimore in 1970. Her plan was to start teaching school in Baltimore County.

But she couldn't find a teaching position in the county school system, so she returned to Villa Julie as a teacher in 1971. She ended up staying there for almost 30 years, while pursuing advanced degrees in education, including a master's from Western Maryland College and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Eventually, she became a professor of information technology in the school's business administration department and headed the department for a time.

For the school year 2000-2001, she received the first Jerome W. Geckle Professorship in Information Technology, an endowed position named for the former chairman of the board of trustees at Villa Julie.

"Polly loved teaching and was an excellent teacher," said Dr. Rose Dawson, who retired as Villa Julie's dean in 1999. "In teaching her students technology, it was important to her that they not only understood the how but the why."

Despite the rapid change in technology, Dr. Schultz kept up with the developments in her field. The computer-savvy students who attended Villa Julie in recent years found her as valuable a teacher as did those students who had no computer skills.

"She was a wonderful colleague, always ready to assist others and keeping her eye on what was best for her students," Dr. Dawson said. "She was exceptional, very simple, not at all pretentious, with a wonderful sense of humor."

While Dr. Schultz was proud of the way that Villa Julie grew during her career there, she also was proud of the college's roots as a secretarial school.

"It is true that `secretarial' at Villa Julie is a far cry from typing and shorthand alone," she wrote to The Sun, in response to a 1984 editorial praising the school. "The Sun editorial is one that we will all treasure. Only let's not overlook the secretarial program -- a Villa Julie hallmark."

Dr. Schultz also was active in her church, St. Abraham's Lutheran in Beckleysville. A lifelong member, she was the church pianist for 30 years. She was president and secretary of the church council, taught Sunday school and was administrator for the nursery school.

The funeral is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today at Hartenstein Mortuary in New Freedom, Pa. Burial will be at St. Abraham's Cemetery.

She is survived by her parents, Melvin L. Schultz and M. Hollis Schultz, and a sister, Penny L. Marschke, all of Beckleysville.

The family suggests that contributions be made to St. Abraham's Lutheran Church.

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