Mary Jo Oliver, a longtime professor and the first female chair in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, has died. She was 85.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Oliver attended Oklahoma A&M University and received a bachelor’s degree in education. After graduating, she moved to the Bay Area and taught physical education at South San Francisco High School for 20 years. She later obtained a master’s degree and a doctorate, and began her career at Cal Poly Pomona in 1972.
During her tenure at the university, which lasted until 1996, she served as a department chair, professor, field hockey coach and an academic advisor. She was instrumental in bringing the first computers into the department.
“Her passion for students, her dedication for quality, and her commitment to good teaching was a hallmark for the department, college, and university,” says Perky Vetter, KHP chair. “The legacy of her influence on women’s sports at CPP is still evident today by those former athletics who still remember playing under her influence of excellence.”
Oliver was also a member of the Women’s Faculty Association, the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the Southern California Field Hockey Association and Western Society for Physical Education of College Women.
She is survived by her nephews Phillip Edgmon, Gaylen Oliver, and Von Oliver; her great nephew Chris Edgmon and great niece Kim Knapp; as well as six great-great nieces and nephews.