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September 2, 2021

C.C. “Jitter” Nolen Championed Development at TCU

Nolen, 96, died Aug. 13 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Jitter Nolen portrait

Courtesy of TCU Special Collections

September 2, 2021

C.C. “Jitter” Nolen Championed Development at TCU

Nolen, 96, died Aug. 13 in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Calvin Cleave “Jitter” Nolen, TCU’s first vice chancellor for development, made his mark in fundraising and “friend-raising” during his 1968-71 tenure.

He arrived at TCU as the administration geared up for a fundraising drive for the university’s 100th anniversary. Previously, Nolen worked in development at the University of Texas.

He led TCU’s New Century Campaign, with a goal of $43 million by anniversary year 1973 and $100 million by 1980. “We will have to locate, enlist and train a massive professional and volunteer staff for the campaign,” he told The Skiff in October 1968.

But when he talked to donors, “he wanted it to be as much about students as the university as a whole,” said Lysa Holmes ’75, his daughter. “He believed in education, helping get a student started.”

Her husband, David Holmes ’71 (MDiv ’76), got to know Nolen as a student — before he dated Lysa. Nolen often took students to football games or luncheons, and Holmes was among those joining him to talk up TCU.

In 1971, just before he became president of what is now the University of North Texas, Nolen received an honorary doctor of laws degree from TCU.

As a father, Lysa said, Nolen “was there supporting us 100 percent,” whether horseback riding for Lysa or ballet dad for sister Cindy Page. He was known for tall tales, some true, some not, Lysa said, but he was unwavering in his Christian faith.

He was an Eagle Scout whose nickname came from struggling to stay silent for two days to earn the Order of the Arrow. An avid outdoorsman, he received a 3,000-mile hiking pin at age 95, and he and wife Patricia also skied.

His parting wisdom, Lysa said, was “be prepared, do something nice for everybody every day and save for the future.”