Jan Rolfe: Associate
Vice President for Development
Tommy Howells American literature class at Whitman in the early
1960s provided the setting for what would become a successful partnership.
In a classroom housed in the annex of rickety Reynolds Hall,
Jan Hough met her future husband, Phil Rolfe. Both English majors
and members of the class of 1964, the couple shared another Whitman
connection: Phil ran on Whitmans track team with Jans
brother Bob, a four-time conference champion.
Recalling her college years, Jan Rolfe notes the
camaraderie that Whitman alumni share. You put a group of
Whitman people together, and they have a good time. Whether
its reminiscing over beloved professors or comparing favorite
campus trees, alumni cherish their ties to the College, she says.
A former grade school teacher, Rolfe began her Whitman
career in 1980 working part-time in the alumni fund office. From
1982 to 1989 Rolfe served as director of the annual fund, and in
1989 was named associate vice president for development. Today Rolfe
oversees the major gifts team of development officers who work with
reunions, the parents fund, gift societies, and special fund-raising
projects. Rolfe acknowledges the stewardship of so many people
whose generosity has benefited the campus.
Huge improvements in facilities such as the recent
Penrose Library renovation and the current science building project
have enriched the campus, Rolfe says, but the project closest to
her heart was the construction of the Bratton Tennis Center in 1995-96.
An avid tennis player forever, she played recreationally
on Ankenys outdoor courts during her student years, although
at that time Whitman did not have a womens tennis team.
A longtime community volunteer, Rolfe has served
on numerous local boards including Campfire, YWCA, and Planned Parenthood.
She is a member of the Walla Walla Symphony board. The Rolfes have
a daughter, a son, and three grandchildren.
Describing her position in the development office
as the best possible job, Rolfe finds meeting people
the most enjoyable part. A smaller size college like Whitman, she
notes, helps foster alumni friendships and alumni loyalty
what terrific people we have . . . the College just keeps
getting better and better.