MURFREESBORO — After three plus decades serving as the Tommy T. Martin Chair of Insurance at MTSU, Kenneth Hollman has plenty of fond memories to look back on as he steps into retirement.
Plenty of well-wishers turned out this week to reflect on those memories with the affable, soft-spoken Hollman during a Tuesday retirement dinner celebration at Stones River Country Club. Another open house reception for insurance program alumni and others was set for Saturday, Aug. 29, at the First Methodist Church Family Life Center on West Thompson Lane.
“The thing I’m proudest of is the students who have gone through the program,” said Hollman, whose last day is Aug. 31. “Many of them … have gone on to prestigious positions within the insurance industry. I maintain very close contact with them and know where most of them are.”
MTSU offers an insurance concentration through the Department of Economics and Finance within the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Hollman pointed out that MTSU’s program is a rarity across the state and he’s pleased that the Martin Chair of Insurance has been able to provide partial scholarships each year with funds raised through its annual golf tournament in the spring. More than 500 students have received a scholarship through the chair’s endowment.
Looking back on his 33 years as chair and additional years in the industry, Hollman feels that many of the things about insurance has remained constant — the selling, building relationships, decision-making, paying claims, setting rates, etc. But the change in technology has been profound from his early days “when everything was done manually” to now “when everything is done electronically,” he said.
Insurance agent and longtime friend Larry Prater was among the dozens of supporters in attendance at the Aug. 25 dinner celebration at the country club, where supporters shared retirement advice on small notecards and signed a keepsake canvas with a quote from Ben Franklin that read: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn.”
“He’s been an excellent administrator and the key to keeping the program going,” Prater said as Hollman posed for photos and shared handshakes and hugs with friends and colleagues. “He’s done a lot for the MTSU program. … He’s an excellent people person.”
Business professor Emily Zietz, who has taught insurance courses with Hollman for years, said his impact on the program is immeasurable.
“His tireless work on behalf of the insurance program is a wonderful legacy that will never end,” Zietz said. “His efforts in building the Chair of Insurance from an idea to an iconic program known and respected across the country will always be admired and appreciated by many.
“Many students have told me that his mentoring and friendship have shaped them in their careers and in their character.”
The Martin Chair of Insurance was founded by a group of alumni and friends to upgrade and enhance the insurance curriculum at MTSU. It is named in honor of Thomas T. Martin, a Murfreesboro insurance agent who was a highly successful underwriter for almost 60 years.
For more information about the MTSU insurance program, contact Zietz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-898-5618. For more information about the Department of Economics and Finance, go to http://www.mtsu.edu/econfin/.