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Former Lotus exec to receive honorary degree from Westminster College

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Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Former Lotus executive June L. Rokoff will receive an honorary Doctor of Science degree at a special ceremony at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, in the Witherspoon Maple Room of the College’s McKelvey Campus Center.

Rokoff, who served as senior vice president for worldwide services of Lotus Development Corp. in the 1990s and is co-founder of The Commonwealth Institute (TCI), will present a lecture, “Street Smarts and Straight Talk: The Story of a Successful Turnaround,” following the ceremony.

“We are delighted to recognize Ms. Rokoff for her outstanding leadership in business and science and for her commitment to promoting opportunities for women and entrepreneurs throughout her career,” said Westminster College President Dr. Kathy Brittain Richardson. “Westminster has been recognized as a top institution for promoting women in STEM-related fields, and Ms. Rokoff serves as an outstanding example of these opportunities.”

At Lotus, Rokoff was often credited with saving several crucial projects, including those related to the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet package, which dominated the spreadsheet market throughout the 1980s and 1990s. She held several executive positions before ascending to the senior vice president position.

A 1994 New York Times article referred to her as “The Iron Lady” and “St. June” for her ability to support and motivate software developers. In 1992 Business Week magazine named her one of the top women executives in the United States. She was the 1992 New England Women’s Leadership Award recipient for achievement in business, and in 1998, she was inducted into the Academy of Women Achievers by the YWCA.

After stepping down from Lotus in 1995, she and other leading female executives co-founded TCI, an organization dedicated to helping women executives and entrepreneurs build successful companies through education, mentoring and networking. Rokoff is the past president of TCI’s board of directors.

Rokoff served on the board of directors of the Wage Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating gender wage discrimination and closing the wage gap.

She was on the board of directors of The Partnership, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help retain professionals of color in the Boston area. She served on the board of the New England Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, and Combined Jewish Philanthropies. She was also a member of two technology-related public company boards, Mathsoft and NewsEdge.

Rokoff earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a minor in computer science from the State University of New York in Albany.  

Rokoff’s lecture is free and open to the public.