But that doesn’t mean she’ll disappear.
“I’m actually going to stay on as interim director, working half-time, until my successor is named,” she said. A national search is underway.
Holloway is a founding member of the Mid-South Transportation and Parking Association, and is UT’s representative on the Knoxville Transit Authority.
“Throughout the years, Mary Lynn has exhibited her passion for the university and the parking industry,” said Jeff Maples, senior associate vice chancellor for finance and administration. “We’ll miss her, and we wish her well.”
Holloway’s thirty-nine-year career at UT began in 1968 in University Housing, where she worked while her husband, Jerry Holloway, attended the university on a football scholarship.
A Memphis native, she said that she and her husband “fell in love with East Tennessee” and decided to make it their home. Holloway also worked in the finance office before moving to Parking and Transit Services in 1982.
“My first big assignment that year was managing the on-campus parking during the World’s Fair,” she said. “That was a real trial by fire, but it was very exciting to play a part in such a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime event.”
During her time at UT, Holloway said, the amount of campus parking has doubled, and the number of special events held on campus has increased tremendously. The variety of surface lots and parking garages located throughout campus makes for a complex management job, especially on football Saturdays.
“It’s like playing chess on twenty different boards at the same time,” she said.
Parking and Transit Services handles the parking needs of academics, athletics, and public and private events. Holloway has managed several big changes in the department during her career, she said.
“When I began, there was no computerization of permits, citations, or collections. So I was able to get in on the ground floor of automating and computerizing our operations,” Holloway said.
Holloway said she’s spent her share of stormy Saturday afternoons helping move pre-game and post-game traffic around campus, but one of her stranger experiences came at the hands, or paws, of an angry squirrel.
One afternoon Holloway heard an employee radio for help. He was near the old location of The Rock on Volunteer Boulevard, and was calling “Help, help, it’s trying to get me!” She and others arrived on the scene to find the employee scrambling around the rock, being chased by a young squirrel.
As Holloway approached, the squirrel stopped, turned and looked straight at her, then jumped on her leg and wouldn’t let go. “I was doing a jig in the parking lot, trying to dislodge that squirrel!” she laughed.
After the transition into retirement, Holloway wants to travel with her husband and visit family in Colorado, Florida, and West and East Tennessee. She also is looking forward to sitting on her covered back porch, watching the wildlife, and reading, although she says she will have to fight the temptation to read the latest parking-industry journals.
“I’m blessed to have been part of the UT community for all these years, with the chance to help people from all walks of life.”