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In Loving Memory: Dorothy “Jolly” Urner (1934–2022)

The Polytechnic community mourns the loss of Dorothy “Jolly” Urner, a dedicated educator, determined advocate for underprivileged children, and beloved friend. Her life was marked by compassion, resilience, and tireless commitment to the betterment of others.

Born and raised in Hagerstown, Maryland, Jolly's journey in education began at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. There, she cultivated a passion for teaching that would shape her life's work. She went on to earn a master's degree in education at Stanford University, fueling her aspiration to make a profound impact on the lives of children.


Jolly's career took her across the country, from Delaware to Pennsylvania to California. However, it was in 1969 that she found her professional home at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, where she served as the Lower School Director for 30 years.

During her tenure at Poly, Jolly's warm hospitality and wealth of knowledge made her a beacon of guidance for countless faculty members. She not only provided them with essential information about Pasadena and the school's culture but also welcomed them with open arms. Her collaboration with four different Heads of School furthered Poly's commitment to service and community outreach, leaving an enduring legacy.

Even after her retirement in 1999, Jolly's connection to Poly remained strong. She continued to visit the school to greet new colleagues and reconnect with old friends. Her dedication extended to the creation of the Poly 100 Yearbook. One of its principal writers, Jolly’s research and contributions provided us with a comprehensive historical overview of the school.


Before her passing, Jolly included Poly in her estate plans. The resulting endowment, the Jolly Urner Fund, has since been established with the objective of supporting the professional development of Lower School faculty and staff. This gift ensures that Jolly’s legacy of devotion, service, and love for education will continue well into the future. May we remember Jolly for her lasting impact and resolve to make the world a better place.

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