LaMont Toliver Tribute

lamont_toliver_webAs UMBC celebrates the life and work of LaMont Toliver, we invite you to share memories and messages with the Toliver family and the university community.

The Meyerhoff Program will be compiling many of these messages into a tribute online, as well as a keepsake for the Toliver family.  Click here to share a story.

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I love Mr. Toliver because he was ‘that guy’ for the students. He had a way of reaching the students on such a personal level. He always was encouraging. He always had your back. He never seemed to give up, when others seemed to give up. You could be real with him and not feel judged. He lived what he spoke about. I remember him asking us what integrity meant. Being individuals who always wanted to be the best, we tried to use all of these complex and flowery definitions. But, Mr Toliver broke it down simply. He said,’ It is what you do when no one is watching!’. Wow! Love that Guy!  - Oletha Minto ’94, M2



To the Toliver Family: Thank you for sharing one of the greatest men I’ve ever known with so many. May God and His angels keep you in love and peace, knowing LaMont will never be far from you. His impact is endless. - Katia Jones ’04, M9


The best thing I can say about LaMont Toliver is that he treated me, a guy who struggled through undergrad and didn’t exactly meet the goals of the program, like I was Magna Cum Laude with a couple of PhDs. He could have easily just tolerated me after I graduated and been cordial, but he had as much time for me then as he did when I was still in school. Jesus said we’ll be judged by how we treat the least of these. The way Lamont Toliver treated me is the epitome of living up to that. - Robert Bonnette ’97, M4



Dr. Hrabowski often talks about how when some people enter a room they bring energy with them, while others drain it from the room. Lamont brought energy and sunshine with him wherever he went. Heaven is shining a little brighter now, but our world is dimmer without him. He, and his family, are in my prayers.  - Kathy Raab, UMBC Staff


Mr. T always teased me about my bucket of hair gel from summer bridge. The funny thing is I never took offense. I always knew all of his comments came with love. Even if we didn’t talk for a few months, He always made me smile and I always knew he was there for me, if for nothing else but to listen. I’ll miss that as much as I’ll miss his laugh, humor and demeanor. Please know my thoughts and prayers are with your family and I know Mr. T has everyone up there with him in tears laughing. - Tia Ragland Medley, MD, ’02, M6


Allow me to pause for just a moment today and give thanks for the blessings bestowed upon me. I am grateful and humbled by the grace my God has shown me (in spite of myself). When I look back over my life, I realize that if not for the grace of God (and the kindness of strangers). . .there go I. Therefore, I understand and I accept and embrace my obligation to be a blessing. “If I can help somebody as I travel along – then my living shall not be in vain.” -LaMont Toliver September 11, 2011 at 10:12am LT, I assure you that Your living was not in vain. You were such a blessing to this world. A man of brilliance, wisdom, wit and compassion, you will forever be a Legend. You held and nurtured dreams of others as if they were your own. You often single handedly encouraged dreams into fruition. Your commitment to God, your wife Lisa, your sons, family, students and colleagues was second to none. They are your legacy. You are loved and missed beyond measure. A Love so strong never ends. I can never thank you enough for what you have done for me, so I promise to live a life of honor and always give back, always. You now are an Angel. Go shine your Light…  – Robyn Iglehart ’97, M5


I recently saw Mr. Toliver at selection weekend and was greeted by his warm embrace. My heart is broken and I wish that hug had lasted a little longer. Mr Toliver was a father to a thousand Meyerhoff kids, but somehow he always made me feel loved and supported. He listened to me cry my eyes out from my hospital bed sophomore year in college after I was diagnosed with cancer and let me recount my saga of having the nurse yell at me for vomiting over my designer pajamas after I got out of surgery. He never doubted I would finish school despite my illness and kept me funded for an extra year, alleviating any worry I had of losing my health insurance. The sacrifice Mr. Toliver made for the Meyerhoff program will never be forgotten and I will honor him by always remembering “to those whom much is given, much is expected. . .” Thank you for sharing him with us.  - Natasha Powell ’01, M8


It’s hard to know that someone so influential in my life is no longer going to be there. He helped guide me to reach the accomplishments I have achieved. We shared military training stories that had us rolling in laughter as he would reenact his “badass” VMI days as he called them. Through it all, he was sure to make sure we laughed and realized how fortunate we all were. It’s hard to know that he won’t be there to sit and catch up anymore. This is a true loss far too soon of wonderful advisor and friend. I send my deepest condolences to his family and all those who loved him. Sincerely, Tida Kumbalasiri ’02, M10


Lisa and sons, LaMonts’s intellect, his gift of gab, and his beautiful sense of humor will be remembered by all who knew him.But his greatest gift was that of love.His love and compassion for his work at UMBC was unparalleled;his love for the Meyerhoff students, current and past, was so evident in their eyes when they saw or spoke of him; and his true admiration for colleagues like me was always met with the friendliest and sincere, “How are you doing and what’s going on?” And I will always remember how much he loved you and the boys.He shared proud stories of the boys’ academic and athletic accomplishments, and equally humorous stories of their youthful foibles. And of you Lisa, the lone queen in the castle, he was outnumbered by the boys because they always voted in your favor. This reminds me of the sentiment, “The best gift a father can give to his children is loving their mother.” And he did.My thoughts and prayers go out to you and all of us who shared him. He will be missed but never forgotten. - Theresa Davis, UMBC retiree, 2007, former Meyerhoff Screening Committee Member, and friend forever.


A Tribute to LaMont F. Toliver Those of us who had the privilege to know LaMont well, to work closely with him, or to just have him touch our lives (even if we never actually met him) are blessed. We respected him because he had integrity; he earned our respect, and he was respectful. We appreciated him because he gave so much of himself, and he showed appreciation. We learned from him, and we learned with him because he taught even without trying, and he demonstrated the philosophy of group learning which he espoused. We laughed with him often because he was so witty, and he had a clever sense of humor that could instantly rotate a frown 180 degrees. We shared with him because he was generous; he gave unselfishly, and he had a helping spirit. We conferred with him to solve problems because he was so insightful. He had an uncanny ability to see all the way to the core of a situation and determine the best way to navigate to it regardless of which tools might be needed – a scalpel, a chain saw, or both. I feel especially blessed because I had opportunities to talk with LaMont often. Our discussions ranged from strategies to help groups of students to strategies to help individual students with a focus on their unique needs which often were not academic because they usually had those under control. After lamenting a few minutes about why they did not know already, we frequently talked about the best way to help a student learn such things as to be humble and respectful; to speak upon entering a room; to “stop chewing that gum”; it is rude to interrupt (burst in with your agenda) when you see people are having a conversation; except for religious reasons, gentlemen do not wear hats indoors; some skirts are both too tight and too short; or to whom much is given, much is required. We talked about national, local, and campus politics. We talked about cuff links, football, food, and music. We talked about faith and how we so often we found we had to pray our way through situations, especially those that seemed to defy logic which we translated to “that makes no sense!” I will miss those conversations, and I will miss my friend and colleague, LaMont, but I will not dwell on the missing. Instead, I will focus on the fond memories and the blessings. Even when I have tears, I will remind myself that God is in charge; His grace is sufficient; and I will count it all joy. LaMont loved so many people (his family, his friends, his students, his colleagues, and his fellow man), and so many people loved him. “Three things will last forever–faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13) With Love, Prayers, and Gratitude, Cynthia M. Hill, UMBC Staff



I want to thank the Toliver Family for their support while I worked at UMBC Meyerhoff Program from 1999 – 2002. Mr. T helped me in my role as Selection Process Coordinator and Lisa gave me professional clothing to wear. I enjoyed working with Mr. T and he was great with his advice, quotes and poems. I am so glad that I shared a part of my life knowing the family and I am grateful to have known him. Lisa, take care and know that God is with you now and always. – Denise Joseph, UMBC Staff


I respected Brother LaMont for his committment and demonstrated pursuit of ideas to continually improve his outlook and the growth of the Meyerhoff program. Our conversations were simple, and filled with vision. I will not forget Brother Lamont Toliver. Best to his family and closest friends! – Kimani Stancil ’94, M1


I am heartbroken of the sad news about Mr. T. What he did was a labor of love, it wasn’t just a job to him and it showed. He loved us — and through many styles. Personally, I often needed that tough love. Yet it was just a few weeks ago, he reached out to say he was proud of me; long since graduated (12 years ago), but he still cared. He’s the reason I finished undergrad at all, yet alone anything beyond that — a few quick stories: 1) I remember getting in trouble because I hacked the UMBC computer system and pulled quite a ridiculous stunt. UMBC judicial board was not happy and wanted to make an example of me and threatened ramifications beyond the confines of UMBC. After cursing me out, he along with Mrs. Baker called my parents to say they had my back. In the end, he negotiated that my punishment be 500 hours of community service with him. I saw Mr. T and Mrs. Baker in a whole new light after that. I realized this was much more than a program; it’s a family. 2) Mr T. got me through so many tough times. For example, my grandmother died while I was at UMBC and I was ready to quit school. I can still hear him tell me: “Mike, I know you don’t believe me, but the sharp pain you feel — yes, even this too will pass; but the fact that you miss her, that never goes away.” The news of his passing is sharp sharp unexpected pain, but I know that he would tell us that “even this too will pass.” We will surely miss him forever. Most of all, I will miss his listening ear and his calm voice always telling me “this too will pass.” - Michael Madison ’00, M8


I am the mother of Sean Patro, Cohort 17. I am so sorry to hear the news of Mr. Toliver’s passing. I remember how dedicated and passionate he was when it came to the educating our children. What a great loss. My prayers go out to his family, the Meyerhoff community and the UMBC staff and students. I know he will be greatly missed. - Sarah Myers, Parent


Lamont was my frat brother of the great Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and I was a mentor in the Myerhoff Program a number of years ago, also his wife secured a interview for me with Fannie Mae execs several years ago when my company layed me off. Lamont was a very warm and gentle man a great person and a great frat brother. Heaven has received a great man. To the family my heart is very sdaened by this lost, I strugghle with this lost because Im age 52 and no one day God will call me, I pray for your lost but rejoice knowing Lamont is with his heavenly father. - William Harrison, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Zeta Rho 82


To Sir, With Love “Those schoolgirl days, of telling tales and biting nails are gone, But in my mind, I know they will still live on and on, But how do you thank someone, who has taken you from crayons to perfume? It isn’t easy, but I’ll try, If you wanted the sky I would write across the sky in letters, That would soar a thousand feet high, To Sir, with Love The time has come, For closing books and long last looks must end, And as I leave, I know that I am leaving my best friend, A friend who taught me right from wrong, And weak from strong, That’s a lot to learn, What, what can I give you in return? If you wanted the moon I would try to make a start, But I, would rather you let me give my heart, To Sir, with Love” Mr. Toliver loved that movie, and I watched it because he told me to. Afterwards, I realized that it summarized my sentiments exactly. He loved what he did – and I loved him for it. Thank you for sharing him with me, I would be less otherwise. While we may not have him physically, he will never really leave us – his imprint is etched into our very essence. My weakness wants to believe this chasm of pain is insurmountable, but all that is Toliver within me reminds me of his words: “You will meet some with low expectations But know that as long as you live I will expect more from you Because you have more to give…” Mr. T taught me how to love deeper and give more than what I thought possible. I trust God has meaning for all things – while I may never understand, I most certainly won’t ever forget.  – Nateé Johnson ’11, M18


Mr. Toliver To the powerhouse soul fraught with integrity and passion I raise my strength in tribute To the magnanimous spirit who met challenge with fortitude I raise my heart in love For the inspiration and dedication embedded in my soul And the bold fearlessness ringing in my bones It behooves me to remember This cogent power you have instilled With a blaze of character and iron will How fleeting is existence, and time the kin of gold Always shall I remember standing on your shoulders You, a colossus of a soul – Luke Roberts ’12, M20


I have known Mr. T since our days back at Johnnycake Middle School. He was my guidance counselor and helped in setting me on the path towards the sciences. Little did I know that we would reconnect four years later thanks to the Meyerhoff Program. And he just picked back up in helping me guide my way through the twists and turns of college. If you were ever down all you had to do was run into Mr. T and he’d turn that frown upside down. :) Mr. T was our Gandalf (yeah, I said it). :) He was the man we went to for wisdom (or Toliverisms really) to figure out a life problem. He was a man who kept things real and simple. Often times we make things more complicated than necessary and Mr. T had a talent for filtering that out. I admired Mr. T for many things. For his wisdom, his heart and his love for his family. He was so proud of Ms. Lisa and their boys, Jacquet, Tristan, Julian, and Jordan. :) We love you Mr. T. I hope that we can continue to spread your message to “Fight the urge to be average!” Memory Eternal. - Aimee Joshua, M10


I have no idea how he managed to do it, but every single time I was in his presence I learned something about life that I didn’t know before…there is no one on this campus whose life he did not touch, whether you knew him personally or just met someone who knew him, or even just met someone who met someone who knew him…your life was impacted by his wisdom, his humor, his resolve, and his commitment…Rest in Peace Mr. Toliver…you were, are, and forever will be loved and appreciated! Love, Your other son Jordan! =D  - Jordan Coffie ’13, M21


My first memories of Mr. Toliver is him asking if we had any “questions, comments or concerns” during the Friday night meeting where we first introduced ourselves during selection weekend. My next memory is in Summer Bridge when he advised us “It would behoove you to adapt”. Or the man who once told me that he didn’t care if he had to “go up one side of me and down the other”, I was going to do what I needed to do to pass a difficult class. Or the man who told me just last week that no matter what I needed, he had my back. God sent us a man of honor and an angel for a time and today He called him home. My mentor, my colleague, my friend…RIP LT.  - Corris Davis ’98, M6, UMBC Staff


I came into college as an angry, egotistical teenager. I was smart, but unwillingly to let anyone help me…until Mr. T. He spoke to me like no other adult has ever spoken to me before. I remember it was during a Meyerhoff field trip during summer bridge. We were riding back to UMBC and Mr. T came to the back of the bus and sat next to me the whole 2 hours back. We talked about anything and everything. We spoke about the foundation of my anger, my family, my fears…he made me feel so comfortable and above all he made me feel loved. It was the FIRST time in my life that I felt an adult, outside of my family, really cared for me and wanted me to be successful. Since then, he has been a well of encouragement, love, and patience. *smile* I remembered when I was in trouble, he’d say “Liriano – in my office, now” and speak to me more like a concerned father than a person in a position of power. He was real, never sugar-coated a damn thing! It was that aspect of him that I loved most of all. He was an amazing mentor and friend. My heart aches with his passing but I remember something he always said – “Begin with the end in mind.” And so even though my heart is heavy, we were so blessed to have him even for such a short amount of time. - Melissa Liriano ’05, M13


I spent a lot of time studying for my classes in the Meyerhoff office, but my deepest insights always came during one of my talks with Mr. Toliver. Whether I was confused about what classes to take, which internship to accept, or simply which tie looked the best, his advice was always the best. And the best part was that it sometimes came out of nowhere. One time specifically, Mr. Toliver wandered out of his office and sat next to me on the couch while I was talking casually with someone about to head into a interview. That casual conversation turned suddenly into a mock interview. The questions he asked were much harder than any interview question, but they forced us to think much deeper, since he never accepted the simple answer. He forced us to be above average, because he knew that average for us would be unacceptable. He imparted this knowledge, then simply got up and headed back into his office. That was his “break” from work. Like so many Meyerhoff scholars, he is a big reason why I am in graduate school. He was an extraordinary man and I am very thankful for the time that I was able to spend with him.  - Gregory Handy ’11, M19


While I didn’t know Mr. Toliver personally, he is a family member, here at UMBC and my brother in Christ. We don’t know the day or hour that God will call us home, so we have to be prepared and our daily living must be in loving and sharing Christ in whatever way we can, with others. He is home now. Safe in the arms of Jesus. I pray for comfort for his wife, sons and family. Keep looking to Jesus for strength. - Delores Pertee, UMBC Staff


Mr. Toliver contributed so much of himself to so many others that I know his spirit will live on in many years to come. So many times we lose loved ones that are suffering from an illness or who have lived a long, full life and succumb to natural causes. We can have comfort in knowing that they are no longer in pain and are at rest. However, losing someone so young with seemingly so much more to accomplish is beyond heartbreaking. It calls for us to depend on God that much more and understand that he has a plan and there’s a time and a season for everything and everyone. Mr. Toliver was “The” genuine article, not only would he lend an ear, but he would offer excellent advice and continuously exhibited genuine concern for the well-being and success of all he encountered. His actions spoke to his true character. He is loved by many and will greatly be missed, but his legacy will indubitably live on. Love you, Mr. T!  - Stacey Cameron ’03, M11


I am a parent of M22 Ruhi Vasavada. I had a memory of him when my daughter got accepted in the program in 2010. An electrifying personality. I was very much impressed with his speech and enjoyed it during the selection week and summer bridge program. God bless the family members and give the strength to bear the loss, which everyone is experiencing. It will be a loss for my daughter who will not be able to get his mentoring during their junior/Senior year. – Priti and Prasen Vasavada, Parents


Mr. Toliver was always somewhat rough with me – and I deserved it! We had a few conversations where he spoke directly to my spirit. Those conversations occured over 10 years ago and I’ve remembered his words all these years. His words have and will shape the course of my life.  – Nicole Dujon ’05, M12


Dear Toliver Family, I can not find the words to say how very sad I am to hear about the sudden passing of a great, great man – Lamont Toliver. I was also on the staff at UMBC for a number of years and Lamont was always a staunch warrior for the students overall – with special emphasis on the Meyerhoff Scholars. I was able to get a few students into the program that might have been turned down, because of his giving, kind and compassionate heart. Even since retiring in 2004, I was able to call Lamont about a young student who felt that it was critical for him to get into the Meyerhoff Program. Lamont made the necessary adjustment, that was on a trial basis and this student proved to be exceptional. He just needed that chance and that push and he succeeded and proved his worth as did all of the others. I thank GOD that he gave the students and the people of this nation, a Lamont Toliver that cared and worked hard to show that he was a special human being. Though he can not be replaced, he leaves a legacy that can not be forgotten and GOD is embracing the family in such a mighty way to show you that you will not be forgotten either. I pray that GOD will encamp his angels around you and give you peace that surpasses all understanding. Be Blessed!!! Betty J. Glascoe Previous: Director of the Career Development and Placement Center and Special Assistant to the VP for Student Affairs – Also a 2006 Legend Of Excellence Award Winner.  - Betty Glascoe, UMBC Staff


Condolences to all family members. LaMont was a good friend of The Family Tree and as a colleague board member, his skills and vision will be missed. - Lois Shofer, Friend


I just spoke with LaMont Friday before last. He was calling in a favor…not for himself, but for a men’s group with which he worked at UMBC. Of course I consented to the ask because, as he did not hesitate to remind me that he’d done kind deeds for me without pause; he was actually kinda keeping score and it was my turn to be the giver. After all, by his account, I was now gainfully and happily employed at The Family Tree, a child abuse prevention agency, where he is a former board member, because of his reference. We laughed about the fact that his birth date was a moving target for me but that I knew it was coming in March. In all the 17 years I’ve known him, he never missed an opportunity to update me on his niece, his boys and his grandchild. I was honored to hear his heart about his wife Lisa and all the things he hoped and planned for the two of them. I marveled at how much of a powerhouse she is…never met a person so outwardly proud of his wife and children. My first job as a working professional was as an academic advisor with the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program and he was my first supervisor. He taught me all of the following: drink coffee when I’m struggling, never underestimate the power of the first impression, dress for success, love my family first, keep it real, have a plan, be self-effacing, use the message after being pulled on the carpet and life’s too short… He never taught me to love the Steelers, hold my laughter, short change excellence, give up, to totally avoid mischief or to abandon a dream. While working long hours during summer bridge, selection weekend and whatever else Freeman and Earnestine had in mind, we shared knowledge about music and our love for the Meyerhoff scholars and all the possibilities they held in their bright futures. He wasn’t afraid to share when he was weak, disappointed, troubled and side tracked. He was humble enough to accept my feedback, opinion and view of things, even if we agreed to disagree. I am thankful for our friendship and I’m not surprised that so many others echo my sentiments. He was busy loving a lot of people and sowing inspiration into the hearts of those around him. After today, I’m going to pick up my frown and keep living, he would want me to keep it moving and continue to do the work in which we both believed….reach back and help the next person so each generation will be better than the last. I pray for strength and comfort for the entire Toliver family, the Meyerhoff Family and all who knew and loved him. God Bless. - Tracey Drummond ’92, UMBC Staff


As I reflect on the stories from many of my fellow Meyerhoff brothers and sisters about Mr. Toliver it is truly amazing that our experiences with him are so similar. It makes sense, we were all touched by a man during the periods in our lives where we grew the most, but what’s amazing is the amount of time he invested in us. No matter what story you read, they all tell the story of the countless hours of time he invested in us, as if we were his own kids. I don’t know how he did it, but somehow he made time for us all. He was there to respectfully admonish, teach, motivate, celebrate, cheerlead, advice, console, or just hang out whenever I needed him. In whatever capacity he was acting he was always REAL with me. I am forever grateful to Lisa and the boys for sharing him with me and my fellow Ms.  – Vondell Coleman ’97, M4


I was never a Meyerhoff Scholar. When I first met Mr. Toliver I was still in my Freshman year and it was just after our first semester was completed. I did really bad my first semester and was on academic probation. My best friend invited me – actually she dragged me to a Meyerhoff event that I didn’t want to go to. Shortly after we arrived she introduced me to Mr. Toliver. He asked how did I do my first semester and I said fine. He probed further and asked what was my GPA and I attempted to lie. My friend quickly looked at me and I was caught. Mr. Toliver simply said, “Don’t worry sweetheart. Come see me on Monday.” I went to see him in his office and after that he took me under his wing. I believe he is the reason I was able to graduate with honors. He helped me pick my classes, found me Meyerhoff tutors in subjects I struggled, let me cry when things went wrong but told me I had to get back up, encouraged me when I really didn’t think I could do it. Even took time to talk to me about dating. He was more than a mentor and I will forever be grateful for the time he invested in me. Mr. Toliver really enjoyed his job. He really cared about his students but I know his first love was his family. He would brag about his wife to anyone that would listen and his face would come alive when he talked about his boys. I remember him talking about celebrating Lisa’s birthday and all the plans he had made and I remember thinking – I want to be loved like that. Just in his honest love for his family he showed me what I should look for. Again, he was teaching me without even realizing. To the family – thank you for sharing such a wonderful person with so many.  - Leah Covington ’97


I just spoke with LaMont Friday before last. He was calling in a favor…not for himself, but for a male student group with which he worked at UMBC. Of course I consented to the ask because, as he did not hesitate to remind me that he’d done kind deeds for me without pause; he was actually kinda keeping score and it was my turn to be the giver. After all, by his account, I was now gainfully and happily employed at The Family Tree, a child abuse prevention agency, where he is a former board member, because of his reference. We laughed about the fact that his birth date was a moving target for me but that I knew it was coming in March. In all the 17 years I’ve known him, he never missed an opportunity to update me on his niece, his boys and his grandchild. I was honored to hear his heart about his wife Lisa and all the things he hoped and planned for the two of them. I marveled at how much of a powerhouse he described Lisa to be…never met a person so outwardly proud of his wife and children. My first job as a working professional in 1995 was as an academic advisor with the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program and he was my first supervisor. I’d known Ms. Baker and Dr. Hrabowski since the beginning of the Meyerhoff Program in 1989 and was happy to be under their tutelage. Their decision to allow me to become a Meyerhoff staff member gave me another mentor, a peer mentor from whom I learned valuable things that I still use. He taught me all of the following: drink coffee when I’m struggling, never underestimate the power of the first impression, dress for success, love my family first, keep it real, have a plan, be self-effacing, use the message after being pulled on the carpet and life’s too short… He never taught me to love the Steelers, hold my laughter, short change excellence, give up, to totally avoid mischief or to abandon a dream. While working long hours during summer bridge, selection weekend and during the work week we shared knowledge about music, campus politics, family life and our love for the Meyerhoff scholars and all the possibilities they held in their bright futures. I watched him pay attention to every staff member and student with the kind of energy you’d expect from a blood relative. He took on our problems as his own and celebrated our successes with pride. I am thankful for my friendship with LaMont and I’m not surprised that so many others echo my sentiments. He was busy loving a lot of people and sowing inspiration into the hearts of those around him. After today, I’m going to pick up my frown and keep living, he would want me to keep it moving and continue to do the work in which we both believed….reach back and help the next person so each generation will be better than the last. I pray for strength and comfort for the entire Toliver family, the Meyerhoff Family and all who knew and loved him. God Bless.  – Tracey Drummond ’92, UMBC Staff


Dearest Toliver family, I hope that the outpouring of emotions and love are evidence of how impactful Lamont has been in so many lives. Personally, I can say that he helped to mold and refine me into the successful professional that I am today. He didn’t take any mess…and I had plenty of it, trying to prove how tough I was as one of the ONLY two candidates from Baltimore City Public Schools. Over the four years of my undergraduate study, Lamont served as a mentor and a father-figure. He helped smooth the rough edges and helped me to focus on what was important instead of rebelling against the “the system”. I laugh now at how hard I thought I was! I pray that God sends you comfort as alumni continue to express their thoughts and condolences. Please know that Lamont was and is loved. Respectfully, “Boonie”  – Felicia Sanders Boone ’96, M4


The impact that Lamont Toliver has had on my life as well as the lives of many of my colleagues is immeasurable. Seldom do you find someone willing to give so much of their time and energy to others and I can truthfully say, that if it were not for his advocacy, dedication and kindness of I would not be where I am today. It behooves us to continue to honor the legacy and impact that Lamont Toliver had through our actions and accomplishments. “Once a Meyerhoff always a Meyerhoff”   - Malcolm Taylor ’08, M16


Mr. Toliver’s words served as the fuel and inspiration to a generation of young men and women trying to make it in this world. I will never forgot how he let us stand on his shoulders. I thank him for being a GIANT for so many. May he rest in peace and God bless him and his family. – Ejiofor Ezekwe ’09, M17



Mr. Toliver was truly one of the most uniquely capable men that I ever met. He was a rare balance of strength, compassion, love, tough love, humor, humility, confidence, and cool. As an adult, I now have a new found respect for his ability to take a holistic view of each and every student, and guide them through both the academic and character traits needing improvement to help them be successful both as students and as maturing young men and women. I regret that I did not stay in closer contact with him. Despite having a tough semester during my sophomore year, Mr. Toliver never made me feel any different than he did when I first started the program. He always treated me with kindness and respect. He felt more like an uncle than a paid staff member. I finally have some peace that I did not have last week. I know that Mr. Toliver is with our Heavenly Father, and I know that his influence on earth has not ended. His musings and more importantly his example still resonate with me today. He will permanently be a part of my extended family, and I will keep his memory and his lessons alive forever. I want his family to know that they have my deepest sympathy and condolences. I will continue to pray for them, and provide any support needed in both the short and long term. – Rahman Henderson ’98, M6



Lamont and I went to high school together and he was gracious enough to escort me to my senior prom when he found out I didn’t have a date. He was such a wonderful man and I always knew he’d become a great success in life. May God bless you during this difficult time. – Tajuana Brown, Friend



I saw Mr. Toliver the weekend before he passed, during the 1st Selection Weekend of 2012. My email address had changed so I had not received an invitation to interview that weekend. Well, as he would have told you, that was not going to stop me! I contacted Mrs. Hall about 3 weeks prior to interviews and told her that I would be there with bells on. That Friday afternoon, Mr. Toliver contacted me to ask if I would help in an inaugural project for Selection Weekend. Well, that was after he was done making fun of me about my name change. “Dr. Roach,” he said with emphasis and amusement, “the name is so befitting. I’ll be making fun of that for a long time.” A long time would soon become only a few days as that following Wednesday, he was gone. I had not been able to interview the previous two years and am forever grateful that some force drove me to make myself available this time. Had I not, I would be minus one hug, several jokes and one memory from my time with him. When we meet that Saturday, it was like we’d seen each other every day since I joined the Meyerhoff Program in 2000; everything fell back into place. We talked about our families and joked about everything from my looking confused (his usual target) to his teasing of the current Meyerhoffs as they stopped by to help with the day’s events. He had an uncanny way of making you respect, love and trust him all while making you laugh at yourself. Though his passing is difficult and his absence is palpable, we were blessed to have known him. - Akua Roach ’04, M12



I would like to express my deepest, deepest sympathy to Mrs. Toliver, the boys and the rest of the family. As a recruiter from Washington University’s Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences I would come to recruit at UMBC and LaMont and I would share stories about our children and family. He loved his family and talk all the time about spending time with his boys. I am praying for your strength during this time. – Rochelle Smith, Friend



Though we mourn the death of a brother, a co-worker, a father, a husband, a leader, or simply a friend; we celebrate the life and legacy of a great man! His words, his thoughts, his smiles, and his infectious laughter will never die; and they will remain a constant fabric intimately woven into our memories. Godspeed to the entire Toliver family. – Reggie Clyburn ’94, M1



LaMont was a beautiful human being. Intelligent, smart, a leader, but most of all, someone who loved his students and what he was doing for them. On more than one ocassion he put his arm around my daughter Nkenge to encourage her when she was in the Meyerhoff Program. For this and many other things my wife, Roxanne, and I will always be grateful. We give our deepest condalances to Mr. Toliver’s family. He was loved by everyone he touched and he touched many people. - John Wheatland ’09, M16


A great role model for me as a young staff member at UMBC in the early 2000s. He showed that one could be serious and dedicated while showing compassion and a sense of humor. He made a deep impact during his time in this world… - Lorenzo Baber, UMBC Staff


Rest in Peace Mr. Toliver. Thank you for all of your wisdom and determination which has helped me and my fellow Meyerhoffs remain motivated to continue reaching for our dreams. Thoughts and prayers to your entire family. – Yogita Tailor ’05, M13


When my father passed away 5 weeks ago, Mr. Toliver was there with expressions of love and words of encouragement. In the midst of it all he somehow found a way to make us laugh. His generous heart and joyous spirit will always be remembered and live on through the people whose lives he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with you always. With Love The Richards Family, Chris, Talmesha (M11) and Teneshia


The life you lived speaks for itself. We may think that it was too short, but God knows best, for none of us are meant to stay. Your reach was wide. And, even now you are inspiring us all to be better people, to live lives of impact, and to find the best in ourselves. You will surely be missed. To your wife and sons, my prayers and deepest sentiments are with you. May God bless you and send overwhelming peace and comfort, like only He can.  - Lynnette Burks Nance ’97, M5


Mrs. Toliver, Jacquet, Julian, Jordan, Tristan and members of Mr. Toliver’s family and friends, I don’t know how to express what Mr. Toliver was to me and my family. My twin sister, Aimee(M10) and younger sister Gina (M13) were blessed to have Mr. Toliver’s presence during our educational journey. It began when we were in middle school and Mr. Toliver was a guidance counselor at Johnnycake Middle School. No one could have imagined that years later we would meet again. Seeing him at Selection Weekend and then learning we got into the program and he would be with us while we were in the Meyerhoff program is a blessing I am thankful for every single day. He holds a special place in the Joshua family’s heart. I don’t think he met a person he didn’t leave an impression on. When Mr. T listened to you, he made you feel like you were important and your concerns and fears mattered. When the time got closer for me to graduate from UMBC, I remember sitting in Mr. Toliver’s office like many students, recounting my fears about not being able to get into graduate school. I will never forget My. T asking if I trust him. Of course I trusted him. He said, “you’ll get into graduate school”. I completely believed him and it alleviated most of my worries. Although I did wonder how he would pull off this miracle. Needless to say Mr. Toliver was a man of his word. I went to StonyBrook University. Despite leaving UMBC, Aimee, Gina and I always tried to find time to visit Mr. T in his office, for counsel, for laughs and just the joy of being around him. I know he is looking down upon all of us smiling. I continued to seek his advice when I decided to go to law school. His encouragement was simple. Do what makes you happy. It was all it took for me to move forward. He will always be in our hearts. Time will heal our hearts. Please take comfort in knowing that he touched so many lives. Mr. Toliver always motivated us to give back. “To whom much is given, much is expected.” Well I was given the blessing of Mr. T in my life and I know that God has a plan for me to give back in a way that would make Mr. T proud. I remember how small the boys were in 1998 when I came to UMBC. It has been a pleasure hearing about all of their achievements and seeing the family at Meyerhoff events. Mr. Toliver was so proud of you all. I am so sorry for your loss. If there is ever anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. We’re family and my family will always be there for you. With prayers, Jamie Joshua ’02, M10


I remember being in my last semester at UMBC and not being fully clear on what I wanted to do after graduation. I shared my concerns with Mr. T and how I thought that I felt so behind on knowing where I wanted to go in life. I remember Mr. T telling me that the 1st thing I had to do was stop worrying. ‘Who cares about timelines? The minute you start putting deadlines on your dreams is the minute you start limiting yourself to the new things you will do along your journey.’ He was more optimistic and confident about my future than me! But it was comforting…to know that I had his support. It was a privilege being one of his many mentees. I am truly blessed and he will always be in my heart, thoughts and prayers. - Gina Joshua ’05, M13


Mr. Toliver was always good for sharing a smile, a laugh, words of encoragement or direction. Always mixing business with fun. He had a love of life and a passion for his students that was undeniable. We love you and it would ‘behoove’ us to hold his memory dear and continue his legacy of excellence and mentorship with love. - Shanita Leake Chase ’99, M6


On the first day of Summer Bridge in 2005, within the first few minues of formerly meeting Mr. Toliver during a group meeting, I told him to ‘give me a break’. The glare he gave me goes unmatched to this day. What he said to me after stays with me. He pulled me aside and asked if I really wanted him to give me a break, and if that’s what I wanted, I could go home. I didn’t go home. I didn’t get a break, and I never asked for one again. That day defined our relationship for the rest of my time at UMBC, and I can say for a fact, I wouldn’t have made it this far, academically or professionally, without him in my life demanding more of me with a single fierce, yet caring, look. - Anthony Mai M17


Thank you for so generously sharing LaMont with his UMBC family. What impresses me most about LaMont is the brilliant manner in which he integrated normally opposing character traits. In the same moment he would be fierce and compassionate, serious and seriously funny, a leader and a total team player. All of this with complete integrity. Most of all, he was never about LaMont, he was always about elevating each of us. Because of this, his legacy is large and vibrant. We will continue to feel his energy every day, and I hope you will feel this warmth and energy as well. Sincerely, Lisa Akchin


Mr. T was so many things to all of us over the years. Whether you spoke with him consistently as a student or sporadically since leaving UMBC, he always was there to love, inspire, mentor and be a continous advocate for his students both personally and professionally in every imaginable way. Like so many I feel blessed to have known him and hope that in my life I may be fortunate enough to be even a fraction of the type of permanent, positive influence he has been to so many. While he has passed on, his legacy will live on in all of us: the students to whom he so graciously and passionately dedicated his life.  - Cylburn Soden ’99, M7


I will never forget when I was a sophomore, I was playing on the UMBC soccer team and taking 4-5 classes. It was the beginning of the fall semester and I was trying to do it all by taking all of these classes and playing varsity soccer. One of the classes I was taking was a class I was retaking because I wanted a better grade then what I earned previously in the class. All my other previous grades were fine except for this one class which is why I wanted to retake it (I was being a perfectionist). However, it was very stressful taking this class on top of my other classes, and playing soccer at the same time. So, I was considering dropping the course. I remember going into Mr. Toliver’s office and explaining to him my situation. The second after I asked him what he thought I should do, he said without hesitation and with such confidence, “Drop the class. There is no reason for you to retake it.” He continued to explain to me that we must not strive for perfection but rather for excellence. It seemed like such a simple answer to him and I could not see why. I followed his advice and dropped the class and I am very glad I did. Yeah, I had one bad grade on my transcript, but I was still able to continue on strong and be successful in my other remaining classes. I will always remember to work toward excellence and not perfection. – Jamal Molin ’11, M19


Mr. T Memory: In our last year at UMBC, I e-mailed the M13s to ask for nominations for the senior superlatives. Mr. Toliver was also on our e-mail listserve and he e-mailed me back with the following nominations for the superlatives… Best Dressed: Mr. T; Most Athletic: Mr.T; Mr. Meyerhoff: Mr. T; Mr. Congeniality: Mr. T; Funniest: Mr. T; Silent Hero: Mr. T. Re-reading that e-mail yesterday, I couldn’t stop laughing. We love you, Mr. Toliver! Memory Eternal. - Gina Joshua ’05, M13


Mr. Toliver was an ever-present reminder that the privilege of being part of the Meyerhoff family comes with obligation – obligation to be generous, be forgiving, be grateful, be honorable and be respectful. My favorite memory came from our trip to NASA Goddard during Summer Bridge. Chilvary was NEVER dead with Mr. Toliver around and I recall several of my male classmates giving up their seats to ladies and counselors in attendance after just one look from Mr. T. “Good men”, he said to them. Mr. Toliver epitomized the definition of a “good man.” - Regina Macatangay ’00, M8


The tragic passing of LaMont is like loosing a beloved family member. His leadership and deep care for our students helped bring the Meyerhoff program to enviable levels of National prominence. We grief his passing and as we celebrate his many achievements and humanity our thoughts are with his family whose loss we cannot fully comprehend. - Panos Charalambides Professor, ME Department


I first met Lamont through his wife Lisa. I immediately liked Lamont. He had the open friendly personality of one that people love to be around. I also had the pleasure of meeting his awesome children. He was an asset and an inspiration to everyone blessed enough to meet him. Heaven is an even better place now, but here on earth, we will miss him. May God give comfort snd blessings to Lisa, his kids, and all the people who were blessed to meet Lamont. – Bill Atkinson, Friend


We were blessed with three girls in the Meyerhoff Program. Mr. Toliver was part of their life since their years in middle school. Mr. Toliver was my definition of a mentor. The Joshua family is more than blessed and always grateful for the presence of Mr.Toliver in their life. Lately I was sharing his enthusiastic pride in his son’s basketball victories. We pray that Mr. Toliver’s boys continue their father’s tradition of personal excellence and his skill to push others to achieve their best. Our prayers are with the family. - Abraham and Sara Joshua, Parents


We at Duke University School of Nursing are saddened by the passing of Mr. Toliver. He inspired us to train nursing students from underepresented populations. His work will go on in these students advancement to practice. May he Rest in Peace!!! – Margie Molloy, Duke University School of Nursing Director, Center for Nursing Discovery


I am sorry to hear about the loss of such a great mentor, adviser, and advocate. Mr. Toliver’s passing leaves a whole within his family, as well as the Meyerhoff family and UMBC community. I’d like to share my memory that I posted in my blog: http://egrollman.com/2012/02/29/lamont-toliver/ — RIP LaMont Toliver LaMont Toliver, the Director of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), passed away yesterday – Feburary 28, 2012. He suffered a heart attack while at work on campus. I am somewhat humbled to say that Mr. Toliver (as I knew him as a young college student) had a tremendously positive impact in my own life and career. And, unfortunately, I am only now realizing and reflecting on his support. I was a Meyerhoff Scholar through my freshman and part of my sophomore years. But, I made the difficult decision to leave for a number of reasons, primary among them that the program’s focus on the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) failed to include support for the social sciences. This is meant as no critique; the program was developed specifically to advance people of color into graduate training programs in these fields. Though I came to UMBC as an eager mathematician-in-training, I realized my love of math was actually the confluence of being good at math and liking my high school math (and science) teachers. By my sophomore year, I was ready to leave the Meyerhoff program to pursue my passion (which, I eventually realized was sociology). Though I thought as a know-it-all 19 year old that I had Mr. Toliver and the rest of the program staff fooled, taking classes like Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies, Human Sexuality in a Sociological Perspective, and Introduction to Acting, I am certain now that they knew that I was unhappy in the program. Despite my parents’ pleas to stay in the program because I was supported by a full scholarship, I went ahead with the official process to leave the Meyerhoff program to pick up a general scholarship in its place — a rare and difficult option to obtain for students in specialized programs. When I met with Mr. Toliver to explain my decision to leave, he was supportive, but stressed the importance of giving the decision more thought first. My mind was made up, though. At a later meeting, he proposed pursuing an independent major — a build-your-own-major of sorts that would combine sociology with statistics. That is, he offered me a chance to stay in the program, while beginning to incorporate my interest in sociology. (In hindsight, it would be beneficial to have the statistical background, but I likely would have hated stats classes. Ironically, I’m now called a “quantoid” by my colleagues because of my exclusive use of quantitative research methods.) I charged ahead with my decision to leave. At that time, I had a grade point average (GPA) that was too low to obtain any scholarship at UMBC, and a mish-mash of classes that could have been read as indirection or even goofing around. The 27-year-old me today is astonished at the leap of faith I took as a stubborn yet passionate 19-year-old. That is, once I formally left the Meyerhoff program, I then waited for the scholarship office to decide whether to award me another scholarship in place of the one I blindly gave up. As luck, or fate, or the gods, or chance — or whatever — would have it, I was granted a full scholarship to pursue any major of my choice with the one stipulation of maintaining a 3.25 GPA. (Fortunately, once I was pursing classes I liked — sociology with some psychology and women’s studies — I rarely dipped below a perfect 4.0.) The director of the scholarship office shared with me her conversation with Mr. Toliver. She explained that he said nothing but positive things, and strongly recommended that UMBC grant me another full scholarship. Though he certainly had in his court a few reasons to cast doubt in this decision, he extended his support for me. I am saddened to see that a mentor and advisor who has touched so many lives, like my own, has left this world at the young age of 49. His loss is one to his own family, as well as the Meyerhoff family and UMBC community. I wish I had thought sooner to send him a card, or email, or call him just to say thanks. But, for what it’s worth — Thank you, Mr. Toliver. Thank you for your support, encouragement, tough love, and faith in me. Rest in peace. - Eric Grollman ’03, M15


Mr. Toliver was one of the primary reasons that I came to UMBC. I met him as a young, eager high school student who was unsure of her future and even less sure of her self-confidence. He was there to guide me, mentor me, and walk with me through any obstacle I faced throughout my time in scholarship, leadership and service to UMBC. The adopted father that he became throughout my years is something I will never forget, as he saw something in me that I did not see in myself. “Give me your dreams, have faith that they will happen” was one of his favorite things to say to me when I was losing motivation or confidence. He was also present to celebrate the good times. I know that you will receive many letters and stories about him, his character, his wisdom, and strength, because he was a gem of a person. His legacy will continue through all of my life here on earth, and I vow to make him proud through everything that I commit to in my future. He believed and saw potential in me, so I will believe and see potential in others. He lifted me up when I was weak, and thus I will lift others. He laughed with me when I celebrated a moment, and thus I will celebrate fully with him in my heart. Thank you for sharing an angel with us, even if it was for so short a time. May the joy that he brought with him continue to live on in so many that come after him. - Tabassum Majid ’10, M18


Mr. Toliver was my biggest supporter and cheerleader. No matter what the issue was, I could discuss it with him. In a difficult situation, he was the first one I contacted. He told me, “Cry your eyes out…leave my office and hold your head high. After today there is no more pity party. The world owes you nothing. Now make me proud.”……And this I shall do.  – Lie-Ann Van-Tull ’06, M14


I have had the pleasure of knowing LaMont Toliver both as the parent of a Meyerhoff Scholar (Brandon Johnson, M16) and as a faculty member that strongly admires and supports the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. When I informed Brandon of the passing of Mr. Toliver, he was as incredulous as I! LaMont was part of the bedrock that supported this national treasure – an incredible role model for our young scholars. When LaMont called on me to talk to a young scholar about Physics or Engineering, I dropped whatever I was doing to provide what counsel I could – LaMont had that type of impact upon me. I am still in shock over the earthly loss of “one of the good guys”. I have no doubt that LaMont was a wonderful husband and father and my thoughts, prayers and heart go out to his wife and four sons. - Anthony M. Johnson, Professor, Physics and CSEE Departments


My heart was broken on last week when I heard the sad news of the transition of my friend and former co-worker. LaMont was a giant among men and impacted so many lives including my own. I will always remember these words he said to me over 20 years ago..”Be the person you call yourself”. To Lisa, who I have never met but feel like I know, our prayers are lifted for you and your entire family. To his sons, niece and granddaughter you are blessed to have had the father that you have and we will continue to pray for you also. The writer in Ecclesiastes tells us that “to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven..” LaMont understood that and lived life to the fullest. He taught us all to seize the moment and to hold fast to dreams. May God’s grace and compassion comfort all of our hearts and strengthen us as we face the days ahead without this great man. Former Meyerhoff Staff and friend


LaMont and I were brothers and friends. We were the old school frat crew. The lost to our community and the world is great, and the impact that he’s had is even greater. He will truly live on throughout eternity. My love and prayers are with his beautiful family and the 1000s of lives he’s touched. – Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington, Friend


Mr. LaMont Toliver has to be one of the most positive influences on my life. He believed in me, encouraged me, scolded me, and mentored me. He opened my eyes to possibilities that I never imagined prior to meeting him. His influence on my life is immeasurable. And I know he did all this for countless others as well. I was blessed to have him in my life, he will truly be missed. – George E. Aninwene II M15 Biomedical Engineering PhD Candidate Brown University


My son is a member of the M-23 class, and we as a family are proud beneficiaries of the Meyerhoff program. When looking at schools, my son was a late admittee to the program, and missed selection weekend. Our visit to UMBC included a short visit in the Meyerhoff Office and sadly we missed Mr. Toliver. Upon leaving to return to Pittsburgh, we weren’t sure and felt that we had not met everyone that we should have met in order to make a decision. To our surprise, my cell phone rang and Mr. Toliver called to apologize for missing us. His warmth and passion for the program was evident over the phone line. Mr. Toliver made it clear that he intended to recruit our son and others just like other schools recruit athletes. Our decision was easier after that call, and we felt a stronger connection. UMBC and the Meyerhoff Program were in play! Since that time, we came to admire the Meyerhoff Program and what we saw as the heart and soul of the Program- Mr. Toliver. While we can only imagine your pain, please know that his was a life well lived and well respected. Thank you for sharing your husband and father. Surely, his legacy will live on in our minds and hearts and now he has his reward. May God bless you and keep you at this time of loss. - Jane Nicholson, Parent


Mr. Toliver, I had no idea that our conversation, a few weeks back, would be our last. You called to check on me, Calvin and the family, and without prompt you provided me with some encouragement. You shared with me your personal experiences of how you and Mrs. Toliver successfully raised your boys, all while you both managed a demanding work and school schedule. I will never know how you figured I might need such encouragement, or why you felt the need to call and share that with me. However, I am forever grateful to you for allowing me one last opportunity to thank you in person for all you meant to both Calvin and I. To the Toliver family, thank you for sharing your husband and father with the world. I hope these messages of love will provide you with solace in knowing that your selflessness was not in vain. Mr. Toliver, we love you and you will deeply missed. Sincerely, Calvin & Stacey Williams



I remember when Mr. Toliver first joined the Meyerhoff Program. His sense of humor, thoughtfulness, and willingness to listen to each and everyone who had the good fortune of speaking with him, quickly endeared him to the Meyerhoff students and the rest of the staff. I, like many others, truly appreciated the time he took to genuinely get to know us. When necessary, he never hesitated to give a little (sometimes more) prodding, or offer unsolicited but warranted advice, or simply lend a helping hand. I was looking forward to seeing him again at the Legends of Excellence Awards ceremony. This honor was well deserved for he was an excellent leader who I will only continue to respect and admire. Now, my prayers and deepest condolences go to all of his family, both at home and at UMBC. – Christopher Morris ’96, M3



Mr. Toliver was was a source of strength and guidance for me, without which I would not be where I am today. No words could serve as an adequate tribute. The kind deeds of all those whose lives he touched and the memories we carry will ripples through time. My heart goes out to the family to whom I am grateful for sharing such an strong, kind, wise, and giving person with all of us. Thank you Mr. T. – Charles Blount M12


The great thing about Mr. Toliver is that he really understood the students. He was easy to talk to, he was funny and you knew he was there when you needed him. Mr. Toliver has influenced and guided some of the greatest young minds in the country. He made a difference in our lives and everyone he touched. He will be missed but you legacy lives within us (Meyerhoff Students & Alumni.) We are heartbroken by his loss and life his family, co-workers and extended Meyerhoff Family in prayer. - Jason Lee ’96, M3


A man, plucked by the hand of God in his ripest state, speaks volumes not only for the man himself but for the newly acquired beauty of the hereafter. To the Toliver family, know that you are in the hearts and minds of thousands, and your sharing Mr. Toliver with us over the years was not in vain. The true measure of a man’s life is not in the number of years he lived, but is instead in the number of lives he touched. Here’s to celebrating the life of a man whose meaning has spanned millennia. – Kristi Pullen M8


I’ll never forget LaMont’s wonderful sense of humor. He could find light and humor in any situation. I always looked forward to him as the emcee of the annual Holiday Luncheon. I remember laughing until my sides hurt and then leaving with a smile. He was truly a blessing to us all here at UMBC. I will continue to remember LaMont and your family in my prayers. - Rochelle Sanders ’08, UMBC Staff



I remember listening to Mr Toliver for selection weekend and thinking WOW is this guy for real. For the first time I heard someone telling me what to expect from my child and what they expect from my child. I was to say the least in awe of this guy. Every time he sees me he gave me a big bear hug and it was the most wonderful feeling in the world. I loved and respected Mr Toliver for caring, it didn’t matter who you were or what position you held he took the time to make you feel important. Throughout the years we spoke about our families and I hurt for the Toliver family upon his passing. Our love and prayers will always be with you. – Vidia Maharaj, Parent



I am a faculty member at the Medical University of South Carolina and would like to share my sincere condolences with the Toliver family. LaMont came to our university every year and shared his life story and perspectives with our graduate students. I have seen him literally bring tears to the eyes of the students sitting in attendance with his story of perseverance and compassion. He will be much missed in our community as well and I am personally bereft at his loss. He touched the lives of many. - Cynthia Wright, Friend


Dear Toliver Family, I didn’t know Mr. Toliver personally but my brother was a part of the Meyerhoff program. Mr. Toliver had such a large impact on the life of my brother and after hearing quotes, poems, and comments through my brother I feel like he also, in a way, had an effect on mine. In Jamaica we celebrate the memory of a persons life when they pass. Celebrate his great memory. Mr. Toliver had such a rich life and while his body is gone his spirit has been passed on in the lives of the many he has touched.  – Andrew Moore, Friend


I have entirely too many good memories of Mr. Toliver to commit to words, but I would like to share a particularly strong memory that has guided me through many important decisions in my life. I was visiting with him my senior year, discussing school, relationships, plans after graduation, and other decisions I was going to make in the near future. He very sincerely, almost matter-of-factly, highlighted some of my personality strengths and said simply, “Always remember that you deserve the best.” I was flattered at the time, but never thought that moment would stick with me like it has. With those words he taught me never to settle, never to give up, never to set my sights low. The most amazing part of this story is that he felt this way about every single one of his students. To him, every one of us was special, and he very sincerely believed we all deserved the very best — if only we would let ourselves believe it too. Mr. T, The lessons you’ve taught me — through your words, yes, but moreso by your example — have shaped my life and continue to guide me. Your legacy will live on through those you have touched, as we strive to live and give selflessly as you have. You were truly a Great Man. We will all miss you tremendously. – Andrea Abler Golay ’08, M15


When I first called the Meyerhoff office the summer before my senior year of high school to learn more about the program, Mr. Toliver picked up the phone. And what I thought would just be a simple 10 minute phone call to learn about deadlines and selection weekends, turned into a 1 hour conversation about life. He asked me “What makes someone great?” I blurted out the first things that came to mind; having a great career, being somebody in life, having a good reputation, etc. He kept saying “No, try again.” This went on for several minutes when I finally gave up and asked, “Ok Mr. Toliver, what makes someone great?” He replied, “Those who are great are those who serve.” Mr. T never cared for big names, or flashy cars, or wealth or fame. He cared about his students, always seeking to mentor us whenever we needed someone. He wanted us to push ourselves farther, study harder, run faster. And when we got to a place we thought was comfortable, he wanted us to push even harder. He saw in us what we, as college freshmen, could barely see in ourselves. With his Toliverisms and his quick wit, he was beloved by me and the rest of his students. He was an asset to the Meyerhoff Program, a force to be reckoned with, and a dear friend to all his mentees. His legacy won’t be forgotten; his words will forever resonate with us. - Kezia Alexander ’10, M18


Although I left the Provost’s Office in 2004, I have fond memories of LaMont and of the wonderful spirit and passion he brought to every meeting and event. His impact on so many lives is lasting. I extend my deepest sympathy to the Toliver family and to the UMBC community. - Beth Pennington, Staff


I absolutely love Mr. Toliver and miss him dearly. He had this unique quality of being able to express any sentiment with love and respect. He was always very intense and impressed a sense of pride and duty into all of us. Yet, even with his high expectations, he was always approachable. Mr. Toliver was like a father to all of us; he was always the first person we’d go to to share our disappointments and our accomplishments. There aren’t too many people made this way. He was blessed and highly favored. Though he will be missed, I am proud to have called him my friend. May God, comfort his family at this time. – Karolyn Bablola, Ph.D. ’03, M10


Lamont was an outstanding compliment to UMBC and the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. I had to benefit of having my nephew, Lamon Riley attend the program from Pittsburgh, PA years several years ago and I was very impressed at the levels of outstanding value Lamont brought to the program at UMBC. I kept in touch for years with Lamont afterwards and as a fellow native of Pittsburgh considered him a friend. Rest in Peace Lamont, our loss is a gain in heaven…Peace and Blessings to the family. – John Johnston, Friend


LaMont always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. Whenever I would come back to visit with him, he would stop everything and talk for hours. He understood what you were going through in the “real world” and gave sound advice. It was a comfort to know that somebody understood and that you weren’t alone. LaMont, the memories of you will always warm my heart and the thought of you will always put a smile on my face. - Kennita Johnson ’96, M4


Dear Toliver family, I had the privilege to meet LaMont when I joined the UMBC family as Dean of the College of Engineering and IT in 1996. He was such an inspiration and a model of dedication, attributes that helped me in promoting the education of the young generation, a mission and passion we both shared. Even after I completed my Dean’s appointment in 2006 I always asked for Lemont’s advice to help me tackle difficult problems. The UMBC community has a great loss and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Toliver family and with the faculty and students at this difficult time. Sincerely, S. Carmi


Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the Toliver Family, Meyerhoff Scholars Family, and UMBC Family. Mr. LaMont Fernal Toliver – an Honorable and Great Man with a zest for life and living. A devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle, friend, confidante, mentor, advisor, colleague, and #1 fan of Pittsburgh Steelers. LaMont’s dedication and commitment to be of service to others, his scholarly acumen, and penchant for excellence were in his DNA. He graced this universe, the Meyerhoff Program and the UMBC community with his keen intellect, wisdom, and wit; generosity of his time; encouraging/supporting words and deeds; daily pursuit of excellence; attention to detail; ability to truly listen; and he genuinely cared about others. The world, Meyerhoff Family, and UMBC will always hold him in high esteem. Yes indeed — LaMont was confident, sophisticated, and always presented himself in a demonstrative way that automatically earned respect, and admiration. We all loved him for that. Moreover, he exhibited “professional swagger” to the ultimate degree in every fiber of his being. Great men, like comets, pass along once in a lifetime but it is the indelible path and example that Lamont left for us to follow. He turned on the inner light of countless young adults and others; he guided them to dig deep within to excel beyond their beliefs, expectations, and to dream big, big dreams. Mr. Toliver has had immeasurable impact on the life of our son and his fellow cohorts. We will always be eternally grateful for his wise counsel. It is rare indeed to find a LaMont Toliver whose life and graceful existence embodied and epitomized the total essence of service to God and humanity. Each one of us must hold deep within our heart and soul the memories of LaMont for comfort, lean on the Heavenly Father, your family and friends for strength, and always remember how much LaMont genuinely cared for and about you and you cared and loved him dearly. We all must continue to strive to fulfill the legacy of LaMont Fernal Toliver. Continue to dedicate and commit your life to help others. All of us must remain steadfast and determined to individually and collectively strive to dedicate our efforts in his memory. Every kind gesture shall exemplify a fitting tribute to an Honorable and Quintessential Gentleman – Mr. LaMont Fernal Toliver. In Faith and Sympathy, Walter and Emily Taylor, Parents (Malcolm Taylor, ’08, M16)


Mr. Toliver, you will be missed beyond words. Your actions, guidance and mentor-ship will always be a guiding force in my life. I remember the day you gave me a ride back from the Cafeteria to the Library because of the rain outside, and the thoughts you shared along the way, for me to continue to overcome any adversity in my path. As you shared your story of you when you were younger, gave me courage and motivation to excel beyond my status to aspire to be someone better. You did this, Mr. Toliver. You were in my corner fighting for me when I thought no one was. With this I was always be indebted and will always cherish the time you took out of your day to encourage me to be greater. – Sean Booker ’04, M11


I’m having a hard time trying to put into words all that LT meant to me and my fellows M’s. It was all so disparate and undefinable until Friday. A student showed up in my class dressed inappropriately. After class I pulled her aside and had an “LT” chat with her. I reminded her of how much greatness I see in her and basically “let her have it” for setting us back with her attire…… I expected her to be angry and resentful, but later in the day, she thanked me for caring enough to say something… And so I say, thank you, LaMont Toliver, for caring enough to “say something” to me and all of my M siblings and countless other students over the years. Thank you for teaching me that taking the path of least resistance is rarely best when entrusted with the responsibility of developing fresh young minds. Although you have passed on, you will live on forever in our hearts. - Kellie McCants-Price ’95, M2


I will miss LaMont’s kind, gentlemanly spirit … always willing to hold a door open even though he was paces ahead of you. I marveled at his keen awareness of me trailing behind him. I enjoyed him as he co-presided at a faculty/staff event … I love a good laugh and he was a laugh a minute. I had dubbed him the “Father of the Academic Services Building.” Three offices share this building and out of the three, the Office of the Registrar has had a revolving door of Registrars. At times of emergencies when there was no Registrar (or Acting Registrar) physically in the building, we could count on LaMont to make executive decisions to safeguard all the staff despite departmental boundaries. He has helped see us through power failures, falling ceilings, inclement weather, irate student encounters, and potential environmental hazards. We clean up and make our offices available for the Meyerhoff recruitment weekends. He always paid us back with an all-you-care-to-eat breakfast. A gentle giant lived among us! RIP LaMont Toliver! Praying much for the Toliver family! – Stephanie Anderson, UMBC Staff


Being a parent of B. Alex Dummett (M13) I can truly say that Mr. Toliver had a profound impact on my son and our family. He made everyone in his presence feel special. He encouraged people to be the very best they could be and more. In addition, as a high school counselor I also remember him spending as much time as needed to help my student, Kavita K. to be successful at UMBC. He did everything possible to ensure her positive experience. As an educator and as a person he has made everyone he touched feel important and loved. What a gift he gave to everyone! What a great legacy! “Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom and make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. Some people stay in our lives a while leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.” To you Mr. Toliver! - Fran Dummett (M13 parent)


Even his passing, LaMont Toliver has provided me a “living legacy” which I will never forget. I knew LaMont in three roles: as a graduate student, UMBC colleague, and trusted friend. Although LaMont’s and my paths crossed on occasion during his first decade at UMBC, I did not get to know him until January 2000 when he enrolled in a Public Policy course that I taught. Like everything else he did in life, he approached the course and a new academic discipline with gusto, and did exceptionally well. I tried my best over the next several years to persuade him to pursue the PhD in Public Policy, but ultimately understood and respected his decision to not do so. The Meyerhoff Program was the beneficiary of his loving steadfastness to it and its students. I also knew LaMont as a UMBC colleague, one who had love and passionate commitment to all that was UMBC. LaMont always answered and acted affirmatively to inquiries of help, also volunteering it all the time, without being asked. Finally, I knew LaMont as a trusted friend. In that regard – they do not come any better. As a friend, he was wise, loving, honest, open, tolerant, witty, empathetic, sensible, and the list goes on. I have looked at the Meyerhoff Tributes link and know that lots of others whose lives he touched use the same adjectives to describe LaMont or Mr. T. He was an AWESOME friend and person in almost every way, yet a humble man to his core. When I learned LaMont had passed, I attempted to get through the initial pain by searching my undeleted emails to reread some of his. As some of you likely know, his emails were things of beauty. Yes, the content was there, but you could also count on some humor and affection. Thankfully, the last email I received from him on February 16 was still in my Inbox. The take away I get from LaMont’s last email to me is a living legacy. That communication was in response to an email I sent after learning he would be honored on March 31 as a UMBC “Legend of Excellence.” I wrote: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU LEGEND, YOU! I’LL BE THERE. I am so … happy I told him know how deserving I thought he was of the Legend honor. And, I am just as glad he let me know what my email meant to him. No simple THANKS message from him! – that was just not his style. His response to me began with: MY DEAR FRIEND and ended with MUCH LOVE, LAMONT. Sandwiched in between were a thank you, humorous questions in follow-up to our most recent lunch conversation, and kudos for some things I had shared with him that were going on in my personal life. Rereading that email brought me such comfort. The LIVING LEGACY I will carry from my last exchange with LaMont is how we enrich the lives of others in the simple act of affirming their value in our lives, or the lives of others, by telling them what they mean to us. Let people know in the moment that you like them, admire them, need them, love them. You may not get another opportunity. LaMont had an unerring ability to include all of us in his embracive and loving orbit and he made us believe that we were and could be better people. I am so thankful and appreciative that it was God’s plan for this giant of a man to touch my life. Lisa, Julian, Jordan, Jacquet, and Tristan – thanks for sharing a Legend with so many. Our lives, UMBC, and the world are better for it. May we all will strive to pay it forward, I know I will. – Cheryl Miller, UMBC Colleague and Friend


To the Toliver family there are no words that I can share to ease your loss but I want you know that so many of us are lifting each of you up in prayer. I am certain that the support and love that LaMont provided for so many will be returned to each and everyone of you as you are embraced by the UMBC community, the extended University of Maryland system and colleagues from all over the country who share in your loss and whose hearts are also broken. Dr. Toliver was so very proud of his family and committed to your success. May we continue to celebrate his life and legacy and most especially his compassion for others and commitment to excellence. - Sharon Fries-Britt, Friend


The countless lives that Mr. Toliver impacted during his life, including ours, is amazing. But it’s not hard to believe when you know what a thoughtful, intelligent, strong, admirable and charismatic man he was. Mr. Toliver was like family to us, so we’re deeply saddened by his passing. To the Toliver family, I just want to emphasize what you already know – Mr. Toliver was a great, great man that will be forever remembered. Our heartfelt condolences to you during this difficult time. Sincerely, Brian & Annica (Better known as “Brother B” and “Philly Girl” to Mr. T)


I was sorry to hear about Mr. Toliver’s passing. My condolences. I’ll probably never know all the behind the-scenes work he put into strengthening the Meyerhoff program nor all the positive changes he made in the lives of so many people. But I can comment on one of his best traits: his willingness to tell people truths they needed to hear, even if they might not want to listen. This is one reason he was effective at counseling Meyerhoff students and was respected by those around him. He never used the truth to tear students down, but instead helped people improve. He will be missed. - Nana Owusus-Boaitey ’11, M19


I had the pleasure of being at a birthday party LaMont had given Lisa. I’ll never forget the warmth, hospitality and laughter both of them extended to me. LaMont kidded me about how smart I am ’cause I went to Carnegie-Mellon. Lisa sent me pictures of Jim and I dancing. I will always remember what a great time we all had. Dear Lisa and the boys, I am praying for your comfort and peace. Always with Love, Pearl Fletcher, friend


I can honestly say that I don’t think that I had ever heard someone use the word ‘behoove’ on a consistent basis until I met LaMont Toliver. Since that time, it’s hard for me to use the word and not think of him. I’m still trying to digest what has happened. Tragedy does not describe it. At the same time, I think about what I want for my life, and that is to leave this world better than I found it. LaMont Toliver in the short time that he had, did that without a doubt. He meaningfully impacted so many, and the effect of his influence is exponential. I hope knew that he made our worlds better. RIP Mr. T… - Abena Osei-Wusu ’99, M7


Mrs. Toliver, Sons and Family: We thank God for sending a special person in LaMont. We thank you for sharing him with us. As we search for the right words to express our feelings and sadness in this very difficult time, we know that no words will eliminate the pain that you feel or bring back the loss. Yet please know that we care about you and your family and our thoughts and prayers are with you. As they will for the you, the memories of LaMont and his passion for excellence and high expectations will live on in the Meyerhoff Scholars, the UMBC community and in the people that they touch. While it is readily observable today, his legacy will become more legendary and monumental. We pray that God will give you the strength, renewed faith and understanding to accept his will, in a way that only he can. - Bill & Joyce Washington, parents of Erica Jania (M10)


To Doc, Mrs. Baker and Keisha I am devastated. To The Toliver family I’m sorry for your loss. To Mr. Toliver I meant to get over there sooner to let you know that I’m doing well. I wanted to let you know that I have a son Levi and 2 daughters. I know you would have been most interested to see how I was raising my little man. It ain’t easy but I’m trying. I promise I will make him stand up for any lady that needs a seat in church, on the bus or train. I promise that I will teach him how to be strong and honest, down to earth but cerebral. I will teach him how to be an athlete and a gentleman. He may even be a scholar one day. I’m sorry that I didn’t make it over to the office so you could meet him. I had good intentions, the to do list always had “go to UMBC” on it. I never told you how much it meant to me that you used to come to our Flag football games while I was at UMBC. Nobody thought the nerds could play but we showed them. I will always thank you for showing me,an impressionable 18 y.o. ,how to sound like, walk like, talk like a true man in a world that can be hostile. I’m forever grateful, from Ron Brathwaite and his son Levi.


Mr. Toliver was truly one of a kind. His tough love kept me on track through many challenges. His ability to see in me what I was sometimes unable to see in myself always inspired me to be better. His sense of humor was one of his greatest traits. I used to love how he’d make you laugh at an inappropriate time and we’d all struggle to keep our composure. It never worked because he was just that funny. He will be missed dearly. We were all blessed to know him. – Brooke Coley ’03, M10


“[Praise to the God of All Comfort] Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV This is actually the verse of the day on one of the bible websites I frequent and I thought it was appropriate to share with you, Toliver family. I have the peace in the comfort of God and I only hope that I can relay some comfort and peace to your family. I myself have experienced a great loss such as this one and I can only imagine the depth of your pain. Although nothing can replace the wonderful husband/father/son/brother you all have lost his legacy will never die. I can not even begin to thank you all for the gift that was Mr. Toliver in my life. I thank you Toliver family for allowing Mr. T to mentor us in such a way that we all felt like his children. I will never be able to adequately convey the impact that Mr. T and the program had on my life. For now I will simply say thank you and let you all know that I am lifting you up in my thoughts and prayers. I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to “fight the urge to be average,” as Mr. T would so often say. I will continue striving for success and along the way helping my fellow Ms/brothers&sisters to do the same. I have no doubt that the God of all comfort is with you all today because he is especially close to the brokenhearted (Psalms 34:18), be encouraged. - Jessica McGrath ’09, M17


I only had a short opportunity to meet Mr. LaMont Toliver, but I remembered him as being friendly, full of cheer and willing to help. May God send His comfort to the Toliver family. – Yvette Williams ’12


The UMBC community had a true gem in LaMont Toliver. His smile was infectious…his faces off the chain :-) …his cool was toooo cool…his words ever wise and full of inspiration. He continually encouraged me and I am blessed to have known him, I am blessed to have been mentored by him. I can remember our first day of Summer Bridge, he charged us to ‘toil upward in the night’ that we might reach great heights. I recall the many Toliver phrases…whether he had just blessed you with some deep knowledge asking, “you feel me?” or addressed our student body, encouraging us to “fight the urge to be average”…he had a way of communicating that always touched me, from meetings and random office drop-ins during my UMBC years to our exchanges even after my graduation. It was never a dull moment :-) I will miss you Mr. Toliver. I think each of us has the charge to ensure your legacy lives on…simply by working to live a life that you encouraged in speech and demonstrated by action. – Olusimidele (Simi) Akinsiku ’04, M11


Mr. LaMont Toliver was an amazing person to know because he stood for excellence, and most importantly humbleness. I remember at the end of my summer bridge program in 1999, as he addressed my peers and I, he mentioned that one of the most important things to take away from this experience was to constantly focus on ‘self-effacement.’ It stuck in my head immediately because I love learning new words and had no clue what that meant. When I finally looked it up, i learned that it was a noun that meant “the act of making oneself, one’s actions, etc., inconspicuous, esp because of humility or timidity.” I was surprised, but also impressed and took it to heart that he saw that as so very important. I realized he was telling a room full of bright and ambitious young men and women, that he encouraged to always strive for excellence, to also remember that it was important to constantly stay humble. LaMont is an inspiration in my life and many others because whether it was in principle or in actionable things he wanted us to enjoy the benefit of being excellent, but also remember the responsibility that comes with it. His encouragement,dedication and discipline made all of us do what we sometimes didn’t want to do, in order to achieve what we’ve always wanted to be… the greatest version of ourselves. LaMont Toliver led by example and made disciples wherever he went. I thank him for letting his light shine in this world! – Abi (Adedeji) Chike ’03, M11



Grief is the price we pay for love. And the love we have for Lamont has extracted a high price. Seldom has an untimely death impacted so many people in such a profound way. Lamont came into the Meyerhoff family almost 2 decades ago when the wife of a UMBC faculty member Jo Orser came to me and said she was working with a young man in the Baltimore County school system who seemed to embody everything she had heard about the Meyerhoff program. He was bright, articulate, gregarious, and above all committed to the idea that through education he could change the world. I said that was great but he was a little too old for the program. She said no,no he should be working in that program.  Fate had dictated that we were looking for a Meyerhoff advisor at exactly that time. Dr. Hrabowski, Mrs Baker and I met with the young man Mrs Orser had recommended.  There was never a doubt that Lamont Tolliver and the Meyerhoff Scholars program were a perfect combination 20 something years and almost a 1000 Meyerhoff Scholars later we gather to celebrate the life of this man and to acknowledge the fact that he has indeed changed the world. Words cannot describe the impact Lamont has made on the hundreds of students that he has advised, counseled, yelled at, provoked, prodded, and LOVED.  But we know that his accomplishments are exhibited every day in the science labs around the country, in the classrooms of many colleges and universities and in the homes of the Meyerhoff students and alumni who learned from Lamont that life is precious and every moment is to be savored. My relationship with Lamont was special. He saw me as one of his mentors, at least that is what he said. But I left every encounter with him feeling like I learned something. Whether it was through his almost daily homilies on the power of positive thinking, his superior language skills, or his ability to recognize and point out some of the absurdities of the world in which we operated, he enlightened and brightened my day. I will miss him terribly.  - Charles “Tot” Woolston, UMBC Staff


Mr. Toliver, gone but not forgotten! You will be missed. I have peace knowing you fulfilled your life’s purpose. Look at all the love pouring in from everywhere. If I can only say that I’ve done the same before I depart, then my living will not have been in vain. We will all miss you dearly and I know you’re smiling down on all of us. You have been and will always be a blessing to me and the lives of so many others. Thank you so much for your encouraging words and even when we didn’t want to hear them, just know it was received. I wish your family peace and comfort in knowing that you are watching over them. You will be remembered for your spirit, focus, and your love of mentoring! “To whom much is given, much is required!”  - Keisha Findley ’04, M12



I did not know LaMont Toliver as well as some the other Meyerhoff parents. During my son’s tenure as a M-16, I was clinging to life, in and out of hospitals; not heavily involved in the parent’s association or my son’s journey through UMBC. I missed his entire graduation ceremony lying at home in bed stuffed full of tubes with fluid oozing from my abdomen. Nevertheless, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Toliver and his staff were there for him and my wife, whenever they needed help. By God’s unwavering grace my daughter was granted a spot as a M-23. As we checked into Summer Bridge, Mr. Toliver noticed my Air Force Academy t-shirt. He asked me if I was a grad. When I said yes, he smiled and said that he was a Virginia Military Institute grad. He remarked, “ I knew there was something I liked about you.” Looking into his expression I sensed a brotherhood, the brotherhood of the military academy. It is an exclusive club. Later, at the Fall picnic, Mr. Toliver sat down across from my wife and I and looked deeply into both of our faces. It was like his eyes were pleading as he spoke. He asked us to consider running for office in the MPA. He felt the organization needed some old hands to help restore it to its former glory. Not willing to commit without counting the cost, we told him that we would pray about it and respond in short order. He smiled and said, ”Yes, please pray, and pray for the MPA as well.” Upon hearing his response I again sensed a brotherhood, this time of the Holy Spirit. Knowing his background, I also felt a call to duty. Selection Weekend arrived in February and the MPA was in full swing to support the parents, students, and staff. My wife and I had been elected co-vice presidents, though I deferred to her knowledge of the workings of the program. That Friday night, I remember pulling alongside LaMont as he was exiting the parking lot. Unfamiliarity with the controls on his wife’s car forced him to open the car door to greet us. My wife and I giggled at the sight of him humbled by a strange car, but he was a man who wore humility well. Saturday afternoon’s events rushed by in a blur. I never had a chance to thank Mr. Toliver for the push he gave us to get involved with the MPA. He always seemed to be on the other side of the room or engaged in deep conversation. The last time I saw him, I was standing in the atrium of the Engineering building talking with a parent of a M-24 candidate. I heard the lecture door open loudly about fifteen feet to away. I glanced up in time to see Mr. Toliver, surrounded by a throng of students, burst through the door. He glanced in my direction and our eyes met for the briefest of moments, he smiled and I smiled back. Then he was carried away. It was like two sliding doors moving in opposite directions. From now until my final day, whenever I meet a Meyerhoff student, alumni, or parent, I will exchange the usual pleasantries and regale them with the exploits of my M-16 and M-23 progeny. One thing I will be sure to let them know in no uncertain terms, I am an ‘old school’ Meyerhoff parent…. I shook LaMont Toliver’s hand. As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Proverbs 27:17 – William L. Rayfield II, MD Co-Vice President MPA Karen Rayfield, Co-Vice President MPA Parents of an M-16 and a M-23



Mr. Toliver was an amazing man. He has touched and made a difference in many young scholars. The feelings and emotions of the UMBC scholars is an evidence that he was not only a Dad to his immediate sons but a Dad to many. It was comforting to know that there was a parent other than the immediate ones to guide closely and coach your children. I know for fact that Mr. Toliver has made a positive impact in my daughter Lydia’s future. Saddened by the loss, I wish his family my deep condolence and pray that his children grow up to be where their father Mr. Toliver would take them to and support Mrs. Toliver in her journey without her beloved husband. We Love you Mr. Toliver. You are in a better place where all well deserved ones belong. - Almaz Mussie, Parent


LaMont and his legacy will live on through the thousands of lives that he has touched during his short time on this earth. His blessings have been multiplied through his dedication to UMBC’s Meyerhoff program. Because of LaMont, we have giving, talented and skillful professionals who are making a great impact on this world. He will truly be missed; If only we all could do so much for so many in so little time. May he rest in peace and may his family and friends be comforted in knowing that he did well. - Diane Crump-Fogle, Associate Director, UMBC Career Services Center


I was Mr. Toliver’s favorite! (smile) It’s funny because I imagine that there are so many of us who might say the same. He just had the ability to make you feel as though you were the most outstanding, the most important, the most prized person in the world. There really are no words to express the depth of the loss that I feel; the only thing greater is my gratitude to God and to Mr. Toliver for the opportunity to know him and to have him touch my life, and to the Toliver family for so selflessly sharing him with us. His wisdom, his laugh, his encouragement, his guidance, his love… they are with me eternally and I am grateful. I find comfort in imagining the voice of a loving God saying to him “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matt 25). May we each fulfill our life purpose, so completely, passionately, and with such excellence as Mr. Toliver did. Love you eternally, Mr. T… - Delayne Johnson ’97, M4


Mr. Toliver was there for me through the laughter and tears (there were times I was crying in his office) to inspire and encourage. He helped me reach so many milestones in my life that I just can not fathom him not being physically present for the rest. However, I know he will be there in spirit. I will forever keep him in my heart always. – Jame McCray ’02, M10


Although death is a part of life, it’s still hard to believe that my friend, LaMont Toliver is not with us on earth anymore. As the Director of UMBC’s Meyerhoff Scholars program, and Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, LaMont was a “Peer Mentor” for me … more like a brother in an academic family … a “brother mentor”. LaMont loved UMBC and when I started my position as Director of PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP) for grad students, he took a lot of time with me to explain the way that the Meyerhoff program worked and why he was so proud of UMBC. Several parts of the PROMISE program were based upon the foundations of the Meyerhoff program. One of the strongest principles that we learned from them is “intrusive mentoring,” a method by which the mentor establishes a very close connection with the student that allows the mentor to assist with academic, professional, and personal growth. Another friend on campus, Justine Johnson, Associate Director of the Graduate Meyerhoff Fellows program mentioned in a phone conversation last week that “LaMont was mentoring all of us.” Students had him as a mentor, but many of us who are employed by UMBC or work for similar programs looked up to him too. Like many of the students, I spent time in his office or around campus, taking in all of the advice. There were many conversations but I have a few memories to share. I loved his commitment to his family. Everyone who went to his office, always saw all of the pictures, and heard the latest news. He loved his beautiful wife Lisa and his boys. He was always charismatic, but his face lit up even more when he talked about them. I loved when he and my husband would have such a good time rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in Baltimore’s Raven country. I enjoyed hearing him talk about the Meyerhoff staff. He talked about them like family members. He referred to them like siblings. Keith, Mitsue, Taifa, Rehana … all of the staff, he always talked about how great they were. He praised their excellence and commitment constantly. I too loved the “Toliverisms” — Begin with the end in mind. Questions, comments, concerns? I loved his interaction with the students. I was honored by the “transfer.” When a Meyerhoff student was about to start grad school at UMBC, both LaMont and Keith would let me know that s/he was one of theirs. It was like they were sending me a family member. I loved seeing the love and support that LaMont gave to students of all races and backgrounds. He called them his sons and daughters. When I came to UMBC, I knew that Meyerhoff was a program that supported underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, but I later learned that students from all backgrounds with a commitment to getting a PhD in STEM and with a commitment to diversity could become Meyerhoffs. Whenever students came to his office while I was there, he would introduce me, tell them to talk to me about future grad school questions, and when they left the room, he would proceed to tell me about all of their wonderful characteristics and attributes. I’ll miss the advice that he would give about how we could make individual contributions to continue to help UMBC to grow. He continually praised UMBC’s faculty for their commitment and their efforts. In his conversations with me, he always spoke of his appreciation for the administration, and for so many staff members across campus. He admired his colleagues. There’s so much more … leading the groups during Selection Weekend, taking crazy pictures with students (the ones where he would strike a pose without smiling) at a cookout, talking about how we were going to work hard to contribute to making UMBC great, talking about my family and all of the Omegas (Dad, brother, godbrother, cousins) … there are too many memories to write down. He will be greatly missed. He was a great man. He touched so many lives. I told some of “my” students (former Meyerhoffs, now in grad school), that they are part of a legacy. To those students of all backgrounds at UMBC who didn’t know LaMont Toliver, his presence and his work probably made a difference in your lives, even if it was indirectly through a discussion or policy or initiative that serves all students. I will close with words that my husband, Damon Tull, said tonight and wanted to share as he remembered LaMont: “LaMont was a general in the fight to develop excellence among all students. Follow his love for people, follow the way that he loved and served people, follow his desire to see the next generation succeed. He was a great friend.” (Posted on http://renettatull.wordpress.com, “Tribute to a *Brother Mentor* — LaMont Toliver, Director of UMBC’s Meyerhoff Program”)  – Renetta Tull, UMBC Staff


Dear Toliver family, I am so very sorry for your loss. I pray that you will be comforted through your memories and in knowing how well-loved Mr. Toliver was by all of the students who were fortunate enough to have interacted with him. Mr. Toliver was a role model, a coach, and a dad to so many of us. I recently got married a little over a year ago, and even though I hadn’t caught up with Mr. Toliver in several years, I was pleasantly surprised to find a lovely note from him on my Facebook page, congratulating me on my nuptials. I guess that’s how Mr. Toliver was….he genuinely cared about not only our academics but also our personal lives. He will certainly be missed, but definitely not forgotten. - Heather Tate M7


I know you will never get a chance to read this but I miss you Dad. Though I wasn’t one of your beloved Meyerhoffs, I have been a student of your teachings for years. The many times you taught me life lessons about character, honesty, integrity, and so much more, have shaped me into the person I am today. Though we clashed during those times, I realize you did not have to do that, it would have been much easier to let me learn on my own of how the world works. But I am truly grateful you taught me the lessons no one taught you. You used these traits to better yourself end achieve goals unimaginable many years ago. Because you are gone, does not mean you are not still here, your words of wisdom live on in so many of us still living. I will make sure to never get complacent in life or work, you can never stop reaching your dreams. Thank you for everything, I Love You. - Jordan Toliver, son


When we sent our son, Richard (M21), off to college, we were aware that our influence over his life decisions would probably fade as he separated and found his own identity. For that reason, we are so grateful to Mr. Toliver, as director of the Meyerhoff staff and as Richard’s advisor and mentor, for continuing to fulfill the parental roles of guiding, prodding, encouraging risk-taking, chiding, reminding, praising, and instilling values. As a freshman computer science major, Richard was not entirely sure that he wanted to get a PhD and devote his career to research. The pull of video game programming was very strong at that point! However, eventually Richard started saying maybe he would do a master’s degree, and just this semester, he told us that he would probably pursue a PhD. We were proud and delighted to hear that. However, at the same time, we knew full well that his decision was not the result of our influence, but of the influence of Mr. Toliver and the Meyerhoff program. As parents, our most vivid memories of Mr. Toliver are from the talks he gave at the beginning and end of Summer Bridge. As we were about to say good- bye to Richard at the start of Summer Bridge, Mr. Toliver implored us all repeatedly, “Trust us (the Meyerhoff staff)! Trust us! We know what we’re doing; we’ve been doing it for 20 years!” This was reassuring as Richard began the intensive program, unlike anything he had ever imagined or experienced. At the end of Summer Bridge, Mr. Toliver urged us to “Take them back home! Take them back home!” and we brought home a son noticeably more mature, who had a newfound knowledge of the responsibilities and rewards of being a member of a cohort. I’m sorry we didn’t have the chance to say these words in person: “Thank you, Mr. Toliver, for the powerful and lasting influence you and your Meyerhoff staff have had on our son.”  - Ruth and Mensah Adjogah, Parents


We owe Mr.Toliver for all the help he did for my daughters,he treated my daughters as his kids comforting them when they are under stress,guiding them and how to challenge themselves and succeed.When Sindhu got accepted to Harvard for her PhD she went and told Mr.Toliver he said Harvard deserves ice cream and he pulled his wallet and gave her $20 and asked her to go and enjoy the ice cream that is some thing a father do that shows that he treated all the students as his kids.Sandya is my other daughter and she went to Mr.Toliver one day and said she need help in dealing with the stress and he went extra mile to help her and guide us and told us how we can help her as parents and he told us that we can call him 24/7 if we need any help and he gave his office phone/home phone/cell phone and said i will be available at one of these numbers all the time call me if you need me. Let me tell you how many people in the world will do that?Honestly i don’t know whether i will even do that. Mr.Toliver was a great caring and loving person and we are going to miss him.My daughters say that they think that they lost their adopted father. - Sivaprakash Lakkur, Parent


It is hard to imagine where/who I might be now if Mr. Toliver was never a factor in my life.  I will forever owe him a debt of gratitude for the wisdom and advice he gave me during my time at UMBC.  Although I wasn’t the type to visit the office often, every encounter was a powerful (and  humorous) one.  The life lessons I have learned from him will continue to inspire me to strive for my best.  I will do this in honor of Mr. Toliver.  His life work continues on in every student and person that he interacted with.   He will be truly missed and never ever forgotten.  - Ashley Burton ’09, M16


I find myself struggling to find the words to express exactly how much Mr. Toliver meant to me. And I’m now realizing that whenever I needed  words (even in my years after UMBC), I looked to Mr. Toliver. He was always there with words of comfort, words of encouragement and sometimes words that I didn’t want to hear even though I needed to. His words always had a way of making me feel better. So now I will always remember those words and treasure the great man who gave them to me. Rest in peace Mr. Toliver. You are loved and missed. To the Toliver family, you  have my deepest sympathy. Thank you for so much for sharing him with me and the entire Meyerhoff family. - Stephanie Bates ’97, M4



My family feels truly blessed to have known Mr. Toliver. My husband, myself and our M23 son met with him in January right before the spring semester started. I will forever remember how he extended grace to us in a difficult situation, and how he motivated our son and all the meyerhoff scholars to strive for excellence and always do above and beyond what is necessary. He was truly one of the wisest people I know and my family, UMBC and the world is a better place because he was here.  - Joyce Mburu, Parent


My sympathy to the family of the late Lamont Toliver. He leaves a legacy of good work. - Mary Fleming-Hughes, Friend


I am an administrator at the University of Minnesota who has been visiting the Meyerhoff Program since 2008 to talk with the students. My strongest memory of when I walked into the Meyerhoff Office and recognized the unparalleled warmth and excellence that was palpable. Students and staff interacted with energy and support and visible pleasure. When I talked with LaMont about this, he told me that it was an environment that was carefully fostered and an reflection of why the program was so successful. Each time I visited, LaMont took time to talk with me, which I did not take for granted given how busy he was. He was an inspiration for me in how I worked with undergraduates at my school and I am truly sorry to know I won’t be able to talk with him again. My best wishes to his family and all the Meyerhoff program. – Jon Gottesman, Ph.D. Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs University of Minnesota



Mr. Toliver was my other dad, favorite uncle, best male friend, and mentor all in one. Highlights of my undergraduate years at UMBC are hours in his office talking about everything. He was who I would turn to if I couldn’t ask my parents, or wanted an unbiased and rational opinion. He could chew me out and have me leaving his office smiling. And if I did feel upset, he knew just how to butter me up so that I was ok again. One of my last communications with him was an email where I was asking for a longer reply because I knew he was busy, but missed the attention. He replied back that I was spoiled but then included wonderful words I’ll always have with me to smile when I am down. He truly was a great man and will forever be missed. – Nancy Chiles ’09, M17



Dear Toliver Family, Thank you so much for sharing LaMont’s beautiful spirit with us. I remember several times when his smile, jokes, positive energy and “no excuses” motivational approach helped me and many students, staff and faculty hold on during times of stress, disappointment and disallusionment. LaMont was one of those rare spirits who realized early in life that the words “support” and “love” are verbs and not adjectives. I will miss him dearly, but am so grateful for the time I knew him. You all are his treasure, heart and legacy. Peace, love, blessings and all good things!! – Lisa Gray, staff



I can’t express how much I miss you dad. Mom actually asked if I could take some light bulbs downstairs, and while down here I somehow ended up on your laptop. I had no idea that I was your background. And here I thought I ran out of tears. It’s still hard to believe that you’re actually gone. I miss everything, even the little things. Our haircuts every other Sunday, our Pre-game and post-game basketball talks, me bullying you around the house, your corny jokes that somehow made me laugh, you doing the ‘Cat Daddy’ and other outburst of dance moves, our duets to old school in the car. The list goes on. I’m trying to be strong for mom.. for you. But it’s just hard sometimes. I will never forget all the things you have taught me. Whether it’s in the classroom, on the basketball court, anywhere. I’m going to miss our talks, where you thought I was just “blowing you off” anyway. I listened, and I learned. I know you’re still with us spiritually. But I would do anything for one last lecture, story, joke, anything. But, I know that that can’t happen now. Although I didn’t tell you as much as I should have, I love you dad. I’m going to try my best to “Fight the urge to be average.” and make an impact in this world one way or another. You’re with God now, and though I might not understand, I’m trying my hardest to believe everything happens for a reason. I will forever miss and love you, dad. I love you.  – Tristan Toliver, son



I want to give my deepest condolences to the Toliver family and all those who knew and cared for LaMont Toliver. I’ve been meaning to write something for this memorial since I learned of his passing but I could not find the right words to say. The sad, painful truth is that when you lose a loved one, there are no right words. The passage of time and the comfort of good memories are the only solace I know for loss. What I can say is that LaMont was a good man, one of the best I ever met, and he spent his life helping others. The world lost a great deal when he departed. - Bradley Scates ’99, M6



There aren’t a lot of words I can find, even now still, but having known Mr. Tolliver has honestly changed my life, and I owe to him much of the young man I am today. – Kwadwo Owusu-Boaitey, M22


I can’t help but remember the time when I was deciding where I wanted to go to college. I thought long and hard and was fixed on either Duke University or North Carolina State University. No matter how many times I thought about these two schools, when it came down to it, UMBC was on top of my list. The true reason that it was there was you. I will never forget speaking to you over selection weekend and you telling me that if I come to UMBC, then you would take all of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations and do all that you could do to make them come true. And then you told me that if I decided to come to UMBC, then after my years here, I would be able to go to any school in any country that I would like. I am not one to trust many people with anything, let alone with my future, but there was just something about you. Something special that stood out and said that you were the right guy. I made the decision to come to UMBC, and I have never looked back. I know that I made the best choice and you were the reason for that. Beyond that, you have said things that have helped me more than you could imagine. I can honestly say that the year that I knew you, I have learned and grown so much. For this and for much, much more, I simply thank you. I can proundly say, “I am a product of Mr. LaMont Toliver.” Thanks for being a friend, mentor, teacher, leader, and most of all, a dad away from home. With love Mr. T.  – Edward Glover, M23