SoA, ASM Welcome Ed and Ruth Jolie

Aug. 3, 2021

The Arizona State Museum (ASM) and the School of Anthropology (SoA) are excited to welcome two new faculty members: Dr. Edward Jolie and Dr. Ruth Burgett Jolie

The Jolies come to the University of Arizona from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. 



Ed’s academic interests include the archaeology of the Americas (particularly the western U.S.), sociocultural diversity in the past and present, perishable material culture, Native American-Anthropologist relationships, and ethics in anthropology. Of Oglala Lakota-Hodulgee Muscogee ancestry, and an enrolled citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation of Oklahoma, he strives to cultivate collaborative relationships and research partnerships with descendant communities. Most recently, he has worked with the Seneca Nation of Indians in research and preservation initiatives at Custaloga Town, a significant Seneca-Delaware village site occupied during the French and Indian War. 

Ed fills the newly established Clara Lee Tanner Endowed Professorship, a position shared by ASM and SoA. At ASM, Ed will participate in the curation of the perishable collections, conduct research on them, publish, and engage in public outreach. Ed will also teach courses and mentor students in the SoA. 

Ruth’s scholarly interests include museum studies, and urban and public anthropologies, focusing on questions relating to gender and kinship. She participates in ongoing research examining ethnographic and archaeological textiles from the United States, with particular interest in how material culture is used by individuals to create and reinforce gender roles. Recently, Ruth has focused her energies on pedagogy and working with students and colleagues on Title IX-related research. Regardless of the subject, she enjoys collaborative efforts with an applied orientation. 

At ASM, Ruth, as Associate Curator of Education, will work with docents to create meaningful in-exhibit experiences for the public, oversee visitor services, and continue her research. She will also teach courses and mentor students in the SoA. 

Ed and Ruth will assume their duties when the fall semester begins. 

Partnering to Maximize Resources

Bringing the Jolies to the University of Arizona is the most recent example of and a strong reminder that ASM and the SoA are sibling units that have been inextricably linked since 1915, not only by having shared the same directors through the 1980s, but by common interests, goals, and needs. Over the decades, while pursuing separate missions, each has continued to rely on the other for support, shared resources when possible, and partnered when mutually beneficial. 

About the Clara Lee Tanner Endowed Professorship

The Clara Lee Tanner Endowed Professorship fund was established in 2010 by her husband John Tanner and their daughter Sandy Tanner Elers, as a way of honoring the career and research of their beloved wife and mother. The incumbent is intended to, as Clara Lee did, use ASM’s collections to teach, conduct research, publish, and engage with the public on topics related to the Indigenous peoples of the U.S. Southwest and northwest Mexico, their material culture, and their societies through time. 

In 1928, Clara Lee was one of the first three students to earn a master’s degree in archaeology at the University of Arizona. The very next fall, she began teaching anthropology courses and continued doing so for 50 years, simultaneously conducting researching, publishing books and articles, and sharing information with the public.

“She absolutely loved teaching. She was always talking about how she loved ‘her kids,’” said Elers of her mother. “She felt education was terribly important. It is gratifying to know her work will go on in her name.”

“I am grateful to the Tanner family for their vision in creating the fund and to Sandy for her persistence in increasing the principal,” said Patrick Lyons, ASM Director. “I’m so, so thankful to those whose financial generosity grew the endowment to the point where it is now able to support this hire.”

Dr. Diane Austin, SoA Director, concurs. “We owe much to the Tanner family and all those who have contributed gifts to honor Clara Lee’s legacy through the Endowed Professorship. We are honored to be recipients of their generosity and commitment.”

Help Us Continue to Grow This Fund

Endowment funds are great examples of how even small donations can add up to have great impact, enduring forever and growing year over year. The greater the endowment’s principal, the greater the resources it will bear.

Donate now at and choose “Clara Lee Tanner Endowed Professorship” from the dropdown menu.

Anthro News Digest date: 07/02/2021