Rolf Holtz, an associate professor of psychology, passed away late last month, leaving his memory with faculty and students of Troy.
Andrew Creamer, chair of the Department of Counseling and Psychology, said, “Dr. Holtz, when he came and started here, I interviewed him then I hired him to come in here and teach. In the beginning Dr. Holtz seemed a little different and the more I talked to him I really appreciated that difference.”
Creamer and Holtz were fast friends.
“You’ll bump into people at different points in life where there’s just an immediate bonding and I felt that with Dr. Holtz,” Creamer said.
“When he got up here I really liked him. There was no game-playing or anything like that. How he presented himself as who he was. He was pretty authentic.”
They shared many conversations over the years.
“He and I are both history buffs. We both read a lot of history. So one of the things I started doing was sharing some of my history books with him and he’d read them and then he’d come in and we’d debate them,” Creamer said.
“We’d debate the history. His focus a lot was on war and what war does to people, particularly children. So a lot of our conversations evolved around how hateful we are to people sometimes and we’d look at that from historical perspectives. I do know he loved his son because half our conversations were him talking about his son.”
“He came from a very unique background. Like lots of young people, he got out and saw the world young. So he traveled around the world. People saw Dr. Holtz and they’d see him in this stage of his life and they’d see this old rumpled guy walking around and he’d be eating candy, but he always had a smile on his face. He was quite the character. I miss our conversations,” Creamer said.
Mary Anne Templeton, an assistant professor of psychology, also spoke of Holtz’ background. She said, “He was a well-traveled man and had interesting stories as a result.”
“He was an asset to the department because of the experience he brought,” Templeton said.
“His experience was social psychology, internationalization and was just fused to everything he did in the department. I think he added a lot to the program as a whole because of that.”
Templeton said that “he loved being a part of this university. He really, honestly did. He loved his students; he never complained about his students. He loved teaching them and even when he was getting sick that was his main thing, is that he wanted to be here for the students and wanted to do right by them.”
“He was a big part of this university. He’d been here for five years and in that five yours he contributed a lot to the field but also a lot to the department in terms of the changes that were coming along and things like that,” Templeton said.
“So he was a good part of the team and is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to replace as a result. He was extremely proud to be a part of this university. The faculty recognize that and the students recognize that, I think.”
Holtz was 61-years old. He had been working at Troy since 2008 and is remembered proudly by his colleagues.