Lena Belle Rotton

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lena Belle Rotton Ed.D (Dean Rotton), 80, of Nixa, Mo., passed away Monday, May 7, 2012, after a protracted fight with Alzheimer's. She was born Sept. 9, 1931, in Monette Ark., the only daughter of Bruce and Lena Belle Spencer. She was married to Cliff Rotton Aug. 12, 1950, and from their marriage came two sons.

Dean Rotton graduated high school at the age of 14 and graduated Arkansas State College at the age of 17 with her Bachelors of Science in Education. She taught high school following graduation and was younger than some of her students. She got her Masters from Peabody Vanderbilt in 1952 at the age of 21, then received her Doctorate of Education Degree in Student Personnel Services in 1966 the same year and class as Mr. Rotton. They were the first married couple to receive their Doctorate degree from Ole Miss in the same year. She was the Dean of Women at Upper Iowa University. She later moved to Tahlequah where she became Dean of Women in May of 1969.

During the late '60s, in a time of racial riots and student unrest, Dean Rotton started a representative form of student government that still exists at Northeastern State University. This strategy helped to give students a voice and defused the student unrest and ended the rioting. For a woman that stood only five feet tall she had no problem wading into a group of errant students to regain order.

Dr. Rotton became Associate Dean of Student Affairs in June of 1972. She became Dean of Student Affairs in 1975. She was named Chief Administrative Officer of Student Affairs in July 1978 and served in that position until 1984 when she retired from the Office of Student Affairs and went back to teaching in the classroom.

She always had an uncanny ability to find the truth in whatever situation. She was always an advocate for the student first and the University second. She lived by the principal that the dignity and worth of every individual was first and foremost in every situation and she continued to believe in many students that everybody else had given up on. Over her 38 years in the education profession, she touched thousands of lives. She retired from teaching on Sept. 11, 1987.

She is survived by two sons, Dr. Bruce Rotton, and wife, Karen, of Nixa, Mo., and Dr. Brent Rotton, and wife, Monica, of Tahlequah, Okla. She had three grandsons, Evan, Spencer and Chet Rotton, and two granddaughters, Kristy Rountree and Morgan Kate Wetzel. She is also survived by many students that in different ways owe their educational success to her.

There was a small graveside service at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 12, at Potters Memorial Cemetery, Lepanto, Ark.

Arrangements were made by Greenlawn Funeral Home, Springfield, Mo. The family asks in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Northeastern State University and earmarked for the Dean Rotton Memorial Fund.