Co-hosts lend novel perspective to 17-year-old event.
Seeing how the Wolverine Achievement Awards program hasn’t changed much from the previous 17 years, emcees Dr. Bob Rasmussen and Phil Clegg took the evening’s entertainment upon themselves.
Following an extended absence from the Ragan Theatre stage, Clegg, the assistant dean of students, acquiesced to Rasmussen’s beckoning and returned, eyes glued to his smartphone. Following an inquiry from his cohort, the dean of students, Clegg replied that he had “become addicted to this game, Draw Something,” currently the most downloaded app by iPhone users.
“You’re playing it now?” a lime-green clad Rasmussen asked to the attention of more than 160 audience members.
“Well, I had a couple minutes,” Clegg replied.
Although the night appeared a more blasé affair for the co-hosts, it wasn’t so for Academic Vice President David Millet and Kris Coles, advisor for UVU’s academic and independent branches. The pair had been engaged in planning Thursday night’s event since January, garnering a record 240 nominations from which to select this year’s winners.
“Me and Kris really take the reigns and put it on,” Millet said.
The WAA reserve one night each year to highlight outstanding students, faculty, staff and clubs that received nominations from members of the UVU community. Millet supports the awards as a means for the UVU body to move beyond the oft self-involved pursuit of a college education.
“It helps the UVU community to look beyond themselves and recognize someone who has been influential in their lives,” Millet said.
Coles also noted the value of the awards to the recipients, commenting on the “validation” the awards provide.
“Everyone appreciates being thanked,” Coles said.
According to Coles, the WAA selection committee was quite extensive, amassing input from several departments in order to maintain integrity when selecting the most worthy finalists and winners.
Out of 39 finalists, UVUSA members presented awards to 13 winners between periodic performances by UVU’s Dance Team and Cultural Envoy. Many of the winners were humbled by the award, as evidenced by Advisor of the Year Becca Brimhall.
“I’m pretty sure I got nominated because I give my students chocolate,” Brimhall said.
The evening prevailed amidst the constant trickle of attendees out the back of the theatre as awards were presented. The atmosphere accurately reflected Coles’ earlier sentiment that “people don’t take enough time to recognize what’s great around them because it comes at a convenience.”
It appeared the co-hosts came to the same conviction, indignant that the final count of audience members was less than half of its beginning numbers.
“Thanks for staying,” Rasmussen said, almost shouting at three attendees tip-toeing up the stairs.
“Maybe next year we’ll offer food,” Rasmussen offered as a remedy to the decreasing attendance.
“Yeah, that, or cash,” Clegg countered.
By Deven Leigh Ellis
Asst. Life Editor