Agreement Between Colorado State University and Southern University Produces Its First Doctoral Graduate

A student from Southern University, a predominantly black college, is the first to complete his doctorate at Colorado State University through a joint agreement between the two schools.

Kevin Rolle came to Colorado State from Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA to earn his doctorate in education as part of the joint agreement. The agreement gives students from Southern University the opportunity to earn advanced degrees at Colorado State while helping Colorado State to pursue its commitment to diversity. Currently, Colorado State and Southern University are in the process of evaluating and revising the agreement to serve its purposes even more effectively.

Rolle began studying at Colorado State shortly after the agreement was signed in 1995. Rolle recently defended his dissertation, and will participate in graduation ceremonies in May.

"I decided to come to Colorado State because when I visited, I felt everyone was welcoming and sincere in wanting me to come," said Rolle. "I increased my knowledge in the education field, but I also gained a broader perspective by living in a different part of the country. After completing my dissertation, I was appointed the dean of students at Southern University, a promotion which was, in part, a result of my studies at Colorado State."

Rolle’s dissertation is titled "The Experiences of African American Administrators in Predominantly White Institutions of Higher Education." In addition to course work, Rolle assisted with minority recruiting for the College of Applied Human Sciences.

"Kevin was a great role model for younger minority students on campus," said Fred Gilbert, vice provost at Colorado State. "He was extremely focused and helped others who weren’t quite as focused.

He was a great asset while he was here."

Kent Smith, another student who came to Colorado State from Southern University, said: "One of the hardest things for people to do is to reach beyond their comfort zones, but that’s the best way to learn. It would have been easy to stay in Louisiana, but coming to Colorado State for my graduate work has really been a great eye-opening experience."

"Kevin is a real success story," said Cathy Love, associate dean in the College of Applied Human Sciences. "He completed his doctorate in just five semesters. Not only did Kevin do tremendous work, but we gained so much from the partnership and from having him here. He did a lot for the College’s diversity program and through his efforts we gained a better understanding about different cultures."