Utter the name "Billy Joe" and almost anyone who has been at the University of Arizona any length of time, as well as any long term Tucsonan, recognizes that you are referring to Bill Varney, the UA Vice President Emeritus for Planning and Budgeting.


During his 30 years here, the one time director of the student union became an irreplaceable fixture by virtue of his dedication not only to the goals of the UA, but also to the needs of hundreds of students, faculty, and staff. Billy Joe did not just come in contact with people - he accosted them with a bear hug, a bellowed greeting and the kind of recognition and warmth that made each individual know that he or she really amounted to something.

For that, as well as for countless outstanding accomplishments in his professional and volunteer life, both at UA and the Tucson community, the Staff Advisory Council presented an award to Varney at his retirement in 1988. It is an honor that, henceforth, would bear his name.


As established, the Billy Joe Varney Award for Excellence annually recognizes a university employee for a career of at least 15 years of dedicated service to the Institution, its employees and to the community of Tucson. In other words, the award recognizes someone who lives and acts in the spirit of Billy Joe Varney.