Regents honor Joseph and Marie Rolle for outstanding service

Maria and Joe Rolle

The Arizona Board of Regents honored lifelong Northern Arizona University supporters Joseph and Marie Rolle with a Regents Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education.

Regents awards also were presented to Sarah Smallhouse and to Craig and Connie Weatherup in honor of their contributions to the University of Arizona and Arizona State University, respectively. Regent LuAnn Leonard presented the awards at a recognition dinner June 18 at the High Country Conference Center on campus.

In introducing the Rolles, incoming ABOR President and NAU alum Ernest Calderón cited their lifetime dedication to Arizona State College and Northern Arizona University that spans more than 70 years.

The Rolle Family
The Rolle family from left to right: Doug Umlah, Randi Rolle, Charles Rolle, Julie Rolle, Marie Rolle, Joe Rolle, Joanne Harper and Steve Harper. Photo by Reid Swan

Calderón shared some of the Rolles’ rich NAU history. Joe Rolle graduated from Arizona State College in 1941 after receiving the Gold Axe Award and serving as class president. He was inducted into the NAU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1981 for his basketball career from 1937-41. NAU’s most valuable player award was named in his honor in 1950. Students honored Marie Rolle when they dedicated the La Cuesta yearbook to her in 1960. The Rolles served as NAU employees for several years. Joe finished his career as dean of Student Services, and Marie retired as director of the Career Planning and Placement Center.“They have distinguished themselves in one or more forms as student, athlete, employee, emeritus university professor, alumni board president, donor, supporter and dignitary,” Calderón said.

The Rolles remain involved in student recognition programs, academic gatherings, alumni outreach board meetings, class reunions and donor recognition events. The Rolles continuously give back to the university through financial contributions and donations to support special projects and scholarship funds.

“Joseph and Marie Rolle continue to create a legacy filled with immense value, tradition, history and excellence, while touching every aspect of this institution with their richness and depth of their lifetime service,” Calderón said.

Fellow award recipient Sarah Smallhouse currently serves as co-chair of the Solutions Through Higher Education initiative and has made countless contributions to the U of A and the University of Arizona Foundation. In 2006, through the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation, she established two $1 million endowed scholarship funds in the College of Engineering and in the Eller College of Management. The Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation added another $1 million to the engineering fund in 2007. Last year, the Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation endowed three faculty chairs totaling $6.5 million.

Award recipients Craig and Connie Weatherup are active members of the Arizona State University community. Their numerous contributions include the lead gift for the Weatherup center basketball practice facility and financial support for student athletes through the Adopt-a-Devil and Sun Devil Legacy campaigns. The Weatherup Family Foundation also supported ASU, and the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company has donated to ASU nearly 35 times in the past 20 years, due to Craig Weatherup’s timely intercession.

The Regents Award for Outstanding Service to Higher Education was established in 1996 to provide special recognition for Arizona citizens and/or organizations that provide exceptional service to higher education in Arizona. Current and former regents contribute to a fund to cover the cost of designing, sculpting and casting a suitable art object to present the recipients.