Alan Holliday, Co-Founder of Hill Holliday, Dead at 72

Former Adman, Professor 'Went About Doing Good'

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NEW YORK ( -- Alan Holliday, co-founder of the Boston advertising firm Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, and a retired professor of advertising at Boston University, died this week of pulmonary failure at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was 72.

Alan Holliday
Alan Holliday
Mr. Holliday was born in Cleveland and grew up outside the city. Shortly after graduating from Kenyon University with a degree in history, he married Lucile Johnson, who had attended nearby Denison University.

Following time in the Army Reserves, Mr. Holliday began his advertising career in New York with BBDO, soon transferring to the agency's Boston office, where he met Jack Connors, George Hill and Stavros Cosmopulos -- the men with whom he founded his next firm.

Although the agency would come to be a unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. and known as Hill Holliday, Mr. Holliday left the nascent shop in 1968 -- a few months after its creation -- working at Quinn & Johnson and then Arnold & Co.

In 1980, Mr. Holliday supplemented his full-time advertising career with a masters program at Harvard Divinity School, where he earned his degree in theology. He later came to Boston University, where he taught advertising for more than a decade and served as the faculty adviser for AdLab, the university's student-operated advertising agency.

In speaking with the Boston Globe, Mr. Connors recalled seeing an inscription at a grave in Forest Hills Cemetery outside of Boston he felt deftly surmised his former partner:

"It said, 'He went about doing good.' That was Alan Holliday," Mr. Connors told the paper. "It just strikes me that that's the story of Alan Holliday's life."

Mr. Holliday is survived by his wife, his daughter, Sarah, sons Daniel and Thompson, and five grandchildren.

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