Tribute to Mr James (Jim) Hagen

It is with sadness that we learned recently of the passing of Mr Jim Hagen, principal of Glenlola Collegiate from 1971 to 1992.

Mr Hagen was educated at Grosvenor Grammar School, receiving a City Scholarship after which he obtained a degree in Chemistry at Queen’s University Belfast. His first teaching post was in Foyle College, Londonderry from 1957 – 1960 and he then moved to Larne Grammar School until 1966.

He left the classroom for a period, working with the South Eastern Education and Library Board before taking up the post of Headmaster at Glenlola Collegiate in 1971 at the age of just 34.

As a school leader he was considered by many to be ahead of his time, influencing the thinking of colleagues who subsequently went on to take up leadership roles in education. He was also a visionary and an innovator in the realm of educational institutions.

Mr Hagen is remembered by those who had the privilege to work with him in Glenlola as a gentleman, very well-liked and respected by his colleagues. Many could recount instances where his caring, thoughtful nature gave support in difficult times. Yet, his quiet, unassuming manner frequently belied the strength of character and determination which he possessed and which he used to achieve his objectives in preparing the School for the 21st century. He had a clear vision for the future of education and Glenlola’s place in it, opening up new areas of study, introducing Communication Studies into the curriculum and advocating the uptake of Design and Technology while it was establishing itself as a new subject. Staff were encouraged to adopt and embrace new educational technologies and he was very supportive as the School took its first hesitant steps into the world of IT. Music was one of his great loves, and he took part in school concerts as a cellist.

On his retirement he enjoyed time with his wife, Betty, travelling and helping with Abbeyfield and MS.

Mr Hagen passed away peacefully on 23rd December 2023, aged 88, a beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.

He will be fondly remembered by many as a far-sighted educationalist.

WE Thompson