JoAnn D. Rolle, Ph.D.
Dean, School of Business
Medgar Evers College-CUNY, Brooklyn, N.Y.
JoAnn D. Rolle was one of the first African-American women to receive a Ph.D. in economics at Howard University. Since then, she has become passionate about the business of education and the challenge to change the future by transforming lives, especially those of minorities, women, over-40 adults, and persons with disabilities. That led to her current position as dean of the School of Business at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York. “I truly understand on a personal level what a difference a good education can make and it’s my desire to help others have the good education that I received,” she says.
Rolle worked with the U.S. government, IBM, her own consulting firm, and even with a World Bank project in Tanzania before entering academia. “It’s nothing like the immediate gratification of looking into the eyes of a student when they finally understand a difficult concept. It’s better than a paycheck,” she explains. “I did not get that type of fulfillment from my corporate and government roles.”
A self-proclaimed “entrepreneurship education evangelist” and inspired by her blind great-grandmother — “a serial entrepreneur who earned her living from Cat Island, Bahamas, to Miami”—Rolle launched several undergraduate and graduate degree entrepreneurial programs, including online offerings, such as the first “Women as Entrepreneurs” course at the University of Maryland Univer-sity College. At Excelsior College in New York, she helped to develop options to increase and improve workforce development options for adult learners in the nuclear industry.
In addition to her Ph.D., Rolle earned a BBA degree at the University of Miami, a M.A. in economics at Southern Illinois University and studied diversity management as a Harvard University administrative fellow. Her mentors include her father, the late Bishop Livingston Rolle, Benjamin H. Alexander, Ph.D., and Linda Jolly, Ph.D., as her most “influential” mentors.