Brian C. White

NAUAA Joe and Marie Rolle (1941/1950) Spirit of NAU Award: BS Geography, 1995

Brian White (c.) accepts the Rolle Spirit Award from President Haeger (r.) at Homecoming halftime 

Wearing his heart—and logo—on his sleeve

When he was asked by the Alumni Association board to visit with Joe and Marie Rolle, Brian White had no idea they were going to greet him with laurels. "It was an incredible moment for me," he muses. "The Rolles are wonderful people in every way you can imagine. Their contributions to our community, the way they live their lives, supporting the university in a way we can only aspire to...I felt I should be giving them the award."

White was a propagator of college spirit before he even had a sheepskin of his own. As an undergraduate he worked at the Skydome, assisting NAU's resident licensing expert Dave Brown. Even though his diploma was in the scientific discipline of geography, he realized he was a people person, which was also recognized immediately after graduation by The Collegiate Licensing Co. (CLC) in Atlanta. When the call came to relocate to Arizona, he jumped like a jackalope. Now CLC vice president of university services, Brian has immersed himself in university athletics as board president of the Lumberjack Athletic Association. He also established a scholarship for student employees at the Skydome, the David C. Brown Leadership Award, and hopes its endowment will follow in due course.

"I really enjoy my job," says White, "because along with cheering on 175 other universities throughout the country, I get to impact my own alma mater. It's a lot of travel, but also a lot of fun. Engaging university constituents to rally behind their institution sounds like such a simple thing—but if you look back just five or six years ago, there were a lot of people wearing Wildcat and Sun Devil stuff around the NAU campus, and it just killed me. Now it's True Blue NAU."

White can't think of anything he'd rather do than carry on Joe and Marie Rolle's tradition of spirit. "My wife Alison and I think of our work, our contributions to NAU as an investment. To emulate the Rolles, to talk the talk and walk the walk for so many years—if we can be a quarter as good as they've been to our community, we'll feel that we've really achieved something, especially in supporting our friends and family."

This translation from spirit marketing to community support is paramount to White. "Spirit," he explains, "is all about helping the local businesses—having spirit for the institution helps spread the word in a positive way. Our products offer a tremendous benefit to the community at large—it's not just a T-shirt, it's our message. NAU merchandise opens up great identity conversations." For his stewardship of the Northern Arizona University identity, and connecting supporters and fans in a way that makes thousands cheer, the Rolles and the NAU Alumni Association warmly congratulate Brian C. White with the Joe and Marie Rolle Spirit of NAU Award.