Sharon earned degrees at ETSU in 1969 and 1980 and Rolland graduated from Tennessee Tech, and both enjoyed long, productive careers at Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport before their retirement. After retiring, they established a permanently endowed scholarship in the ETSU Foundation in memory of Sharon's mother, Joanna B. Slemons. In addition to their initial gift, the couple has continued to give to the endowment, which provides scholarships for students in the College of Nursing.
The Boles have included ETSU in their estate planning, and are recognized as members of the Distinguished President's Trust Platinum Society (Level I) for their current and future support for both the Slemons Scholarship Endowment and ETSU's prestigious Roan Scholars Leadership Program in excess of $1 million.
In addition to their financial support, Sharon Boles has served as chair of the College of Nursing's Development Council and encouraged others to support the college.
Rolland Boles, an accomplished bluegrass musician, has advised and supported ETSU's Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country Music Program, and he has also helped students in the Roan Scholars Leadership Program by leading fly-fishing excursions as part of their outdoor experiences. He recently concluded his participation in ETSU's Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) award-winning President's Classroom, which builds participation by alumni and friends with an in-depth, "behind-the-scenes" engagement in the university's academic and athletic programs.
When ETSU University Advancement partnered with the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough to launch the "Sharing Your Story, Building a Legacy" series to inspire planned/estate giving for the ETSU Foundation, Rolland Boles was one of two inaugural speakers. He shared his and Sharon's story and encouraged those in attendance to consider sharing their legacies with the ETSU Foundation.
"As you can tell, Sharon and Rolland share not only their gifts and talents with ETSU, but they freely share their enthusiastic passion for ETSU with others," Stanton wrote in his nomination. "That measure of devotion and commitment is simply invaluable to the ETSU community, and this is a defining hallmark of (their) philanthropic leadership for our university."