Jessica Triboletti has been an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice in Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (COPHS) for eight years. Last year, she received funding to attend a professional conference about diabetes technology through support from the Drs. Edward B. and Victoria F. Roche Endowed Professional Development Faculty Fund. Triboletti says the experience had a significant impact on her teaching and patient care. 

“I am so grateful to have attended this conference as a result of the endowment funding,” Triboletti said. “It allowed me to have dedicated professional time to learn, collaborate, network, and grow as a pharmacist practitioner, diabetes care and education specialist, preceptor, and faculty member. I believe it is imperative to teach students about these new technologies and the importance of digital health. I am glad to bring my skills in diabetes technology to Butler and our students.”

Vickie Roche says Triboletti’s experience is exactly what her late husband Ted had in mind when he envisioned the fund with COPHS Dean Bob Soltis in 2018. The purpose of the fund is to support COPHS faculty in their research, conference travel, leadership development, course development costs, and other activities. As a 48-year veteran faculty member and administrator at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy, Ted understood the importance and the far-reaching impact of investing in faculty. Vickie says Ted knew from experience that if faculty felt valued, their enthusiasm for their subject matter would become contagious to students.

“Students’ interest and attention rises if they can sense that energy and enthusiasm from the faculty,” Vickie said. “It helps to build their knowledge base and allows for the interconnectedness of the topics to come through for the students if they’re paying attention and they’re interested. The faculty’s tangible passion for their discipline and commitment to student success leads to classroom engagement and meaningful learning.”

Like Ted, Vickie has also spent her career in higher education. She is a Professor Emerita at Creighton University’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. Throughout her career, she has seen the way her own opportunities to grow and develop have benefitted her students. She is confident that professional development experiences like the one Triboletti had make a tangible difference in the classroom.

“If you are supported in your career advancement, if people believe in you enough to invest in your ideas, then you feel validated as an educator,” Vickie said. “That positive mindset translates into energy and enthusiasm that is palpable in a classroom. It becomes part of your academic psyche, so to speak, and students pick up on that in a heartbeat.”

Ted and Vickie Roche first crossed paths at the University of Nebraska College of Pharmacy and were drawn together in part by their shared love of chemistry and teaching. The pair were married for 45 years until Ted’s passing in 2022. 

Ted grew up in Indy and always considered it his hometown. He earned his undergraduate degree from Butler in 1961, followed by a masters degree in Medicinal Chemistry from COPHS in 1963. He went on to earn his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in 1966.

Ted spent his entire career at the University of Nebraska, which Vickie says was the result of a combination of Ted’s loyalty, his deep love for his students, and the joy he derived from working alongside brilliant and collaborative colleagues. 

“If every teacher had Ted’s passion, and his spirit, and his absolute love of the discipline and the students, what a wonderful world this would be,” Vickie said. “And luckily, I think that at Butler, that’s what we have.”

Although Ted retired in 2014, he remained actively involved with numerous initiatives supporting students at Nebraska until the time of his death. He was especially engaged as an advisor for Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity. Over the course of his career he was the recipient of numerous teaching and professional awards, including a 2004 COPHS Distinguished Alumni Award.

Vickie says the best way to retain excellent faculty like Ted is to create an atmosphere where they have opportunities to continue learning, growing, and passing on their knowledge to their students, who are our next generation of pharmacy practitioners and scientists. She says Ted was proud to help facilitate that kind of atmosphere in Butler’s College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences through the fund to support faculty. 

“Ted loved Butler with all of his heart, and he was eager to show his support,” Vickie said. “Not once was there ever a question that establishing this fund was a wise decision. We’re proud of it. We believe 100% in the quality of that program and its faculty and learners. It’s a program definitely worth supporting, and I would encourage others who share that love of Butler to likewise find an area that they’re passionate about and support it. Help it. These students need our support and the faculty deserve it.”