After 51 years of teaching, Hollingworth feels ‘wiser than ever’

by Agatha Kereere / Beacon Staff • September 24, 2014

1411612687 tedhollingworth adams 092414. 0002.jpg
Ted Hollingworth
Ted Hollingworth

The stacks of letters, postcards, portraits, and photographs that adorn J.E. “Ted” Hollingworth’s office speak to his legacy and longtime service at Emerson College. Hired in 1963, Hollingworth is currently the longest-serving faculty member at Emerson, according to the Office of Academic Affairs, and implied he had no inclination to leave anytime soon.

“At the moment, I plan to keep teaching,” he said. “I feel better now than I ever did: wiser, a lot more connected. I have a fantastic network of family, friends, colleagues, former students—it’s great.”

Hollingworth has deep connections to Emerson, having started multiple communications related organizations, coached men’s varsity baseball, and taught classes in communication management and global public relations. 

“I’ve always been very devoted to Emerson and its focus on... human communication and its dedication to improving human beings as communicators,” he said.

His allegiance to Emerson is represented in his connection with students and commitment to help them succeed.

“They aren’t a stereotypical variety of people, they’re an eclectic mix,” Hollingworth said. “I’m terribly paternalistic and I love my students and live through them vicariously.”

Senior Kristen Garrett, said she can tell Hollingworth wants the best for his students.

“I’ve had a great relationship with [Hollingworth] since my freshman year, when I first had him as a professor, and he has been advising me throughout my time here,” said the communication studies major.

Garrett, who is taking another of Hollingworth’s classes, said what stands out the most about Hollingworth’s teaching is how earnest his intentions are.

“He’s so intelligent, and knowing him personally, I can say that his use of his personal experience [in] his work—and his sharing that with you—is great,” she said.Recognition for his work on campus doesn’t only come from his students. His peers and the college’s administration recently recognized Hollingworth during an award ceremony last year for his 50 years of service as an educator.

Gregory Payne, the communication studies interim chair, said though the 21 faculty members that were being honored at the ceremony, Hollingworth’s award was the highlight of the day.

“We were eclipsed as we often are by Ted – he’s been there for 51 years and we were honored to share the stage with him,” Payne said in a recent interview. “He’s a mentor for generations of students and every time I travel, someone usually asks me about him and what he’s up to.” 

Hollingworth said for him the event just marked another year.

“I took the event in stride,” the communications professor said. “I didn’t think in terms of age or numbers. I get more of a thrill out of getting emails or postcards from former students saying what they learned and hearing from them in general.”

Hollingworth said his drive to continue teaching communications, both to Emerson students and in his one class at Harvard University, comes from his desire to stay in motion, which he encourages his students to emulate for their own success.

“Be active,” Hollingworth said, “and constantly involved throughout your life.”