2012 Outstanding Alumna

Sharon Boles

Sharon Slemons Boles

Outstanding Alumna

Classes of 1969 and 1980

Concern for others is a core value for Sharon Slemons Boles. It has helped to shape her personal and professional life as well as the philanthropic endeavors she has engaged in for the people of her community.

Boles received an undergraduate degree in English from East Tennessee State University in 1969 and a Master's degree in 1980. Following graduation, she worked briefly in Florida and then began a career with Eastman Chemical Company retiring in 2001. Boles is a native of Washington County, Tennessee and a graduate of Washington College Academy. Boles' descends from early Jonesborough residents through her father and two Mayflower families through her mother. Although she shudders when called "Ma'am," Boles has been around long enough to remember Jonesborough before storytelling and tourism (much better now), the scarcity of physicians in the region before the medical school (much, much better now), and fifty-cent cheese sandwiches in the grill (because that's what she could afford).

Other relatives who have graduated from ETSU include her sister Nancy Slemons Snyder, niece Rachel Snyder Hepp, and four cousins Connie Slemons Zamora, Sharon Johnson Jones, Jeanette Gillis Mathes, and Dr. Bill Gillis.

Utilizing the Work Study Program to help with college expenses, Boles worked for Dr. Denise I. Pav in the Biology Department. "Dr. Pav was a wonderful mentor to me and friend to my family. I will be forever grateful for the kindness she showed and for the life lessons she helped me learn. She is such a charming, gracious woman with the strength of nails." Two professors who helped to form lasting value systems were "the man for whom the term 'Renaissance Man' must have been created, Dr. Jack Higgs, and the revered Mr. David McClellan. In a fifty minute class period, they could take you up so high that oxygen masks almost dropped from the ceilings."

Boles is a graduate of Leadership Kingsport and later served as Chair of the Leadership Kingsport Council. She was Chair of Clean Kingsport at the time of the group's first national award for excellence. Serving with her that year was another ETSU alumnus, C. M. Boggs. Boles also served as Budget & Allocations Co-Chair , United Way of Greater Kingsport; Vice President, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce; Girls Incorporated Board of Directors and was one of the implementers of the original Committee of One Hundred fundraising concept at the Kingsport Inc; Kingsport Fun Fest Executive Committee; and, along with Sharon Barger and her husband Pal, ETSU alumnus and Chairman of Pal's Inc., organized the first ever "Taste of Tri Cities," a premier Fun Fest event. Boles was President of Kingsport Junior Woman's Club; named Jaycees Outstanding Young Woman of the Year; received the Honorarium for Woman & Industry; and attended the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina.

She and her husband, Rolland, an engineering graduate of Tennessee Technological University and also an Eastman retiree, established and endowed the Joanna Slemons Scholarship in Nursing, in honor of her late mother. They are strong supporters of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program and have served on the Roan Scholars Selection Committee. Both have participated in the President's Classroom and both are members of the ETSU Foundation and the Distinguished President's Trust. Boles also serves on the ETSU Scholarship Advisory Council and the ETSU Foundation Board of Directors. In 2011, the couple received the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy.

Following retirement, she and Rolland sold their farm, moved to the Gray area, and have traveled extensively. She volunteers at the Storytelling Center in Jonesborough. He's an avid fly fisherman who recently restored two 1960's Cushman scooters and enjoys flying radio controlled model airplanes. Both are honored to be associated with the opportunities for advancement and success afforded to talented ETSU students who sincerely want to learn, to grow, and to use their talents to effect change. 4/12