Rohel Gift Leads to New Annual Professional Development Scholarship

ACUI’s Board of Trustees announced a new scholarship in the name of retired Shepherd University student center director Don Rohel. The Don Rohel Scholarship will provide up to $400 annually for a member to use toward the cost of registration at an ACUI event focused on college union operations, facility management, or administration.

Rohel, who kicked off ACUI’s Day of Giving last year with a $20,000 gift, has long said ACUI served as a place for education, professional development, and peer networking. He was a longtime volunteer with ACUI, particularly at the regional level. Between 1975 and 2019, Rohel continuously invested time volunteering at the regional level, both on Regional Leadership Teams and representing his region on international program teams.

Some of his volunteer roles included coordinator for outdoor programs, membership coordinator, educational program coordinator, and Region 15 representative. He received the first Region 15 Diane Morisato Staff Recognition Award in 1991, the Chris Chergi Staff Recognition Award from Region IV in 2013, and in 2019 he received the Gretchen Laatsch Outstanding Service Award from Region VI. In that same year he was named an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Association at the ACUI Annual Conference in Indianapolis. Through his volunteer service, Rohel worked to advance equity in the Association, holding roles on the Women’s Concerns Committee, Committee on Multi-Ethnic Programs, and the GLBT Concerns Committee.

After earning degrees from SUNY–Cortland and Florida State University, one of his first student union jobs was at Texas A&M’s Memorial Student Center, followed by assignments on campuses in Iowa (Buena Vista College) and California, where he spent 17 years at California State Polytechnic–Pomona. When he retired in 2019, he had spent 18 years as student center director at Shepherd University in West Virginia.

The resolution adopting the new named scholarship states that: “The Don Rohel Scholarship is intended to assist professionals with their growth and development in managing and operating college union facilities.”

To be eligible, professionals must have three or more years of experience in the profession at an ACUI member institution. The review process will include assessment of the following criteria:

  • Demonstrate a commitment to the profession.
  • Articulate an interest in and demonstrate potential benefit from professional development in a proposed educational activity.
  • Understand the importance of college union operations for advancing campus community.

Applications for this scholarship must include the following:

  • Name, institution, and contact information of the applicant.
  • A personal essay, written by the applicant, addressing (in 2,500 words or less):
    • Evidence that the applicant meets the criteria identified for this specific scholarship.
    • A summary of experiences related to advancing campus community, including positions or involvement the applicant has held on to campus, in ACUI, and/or with other relevant organizations.
    • What activity is requested to be supported by the scholarship, including how the applicant would benefit from participation in the activity.
  • Two or three letters in support of the applicant to receive the scholarship written by individuals such as direct supervisors/advisors, peers/colleagues, students, faculty members, etc.
  • And an acknowledgement by the applicant that, if selected:
    • They are available to participate on the dates of the proposed activity.
    • They may receive a full or partial scholarship, and it is the obligation of the recipient or recipient’s institution to support additional expenses, including travel and lodging, required to participate in the activity.


  • Steve Chaplin

    Steve Chaplin is managing editor of ACUI’s The Bulletin and manager of the ACUI College Union and Student Activities (CUSA) Evaluation Program. A former newspaper writer, editor, and manager, he has volunteered as a student mentor as a member of the National Association of Science Writers, and received awards for his writing and reporting from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the Kentucky Education Association, and the Kentucky Press Association.

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