On Friday, September 20, UVU held its Alumni Awards dinner, honoring seven alumni awarded for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions.
For the past 14 years, the Utah Valley University Alumni Association has honored UVU alumni with this annual event for their contributions in advancing and promoting the University’s goals and mission.
Held in the Grande Ballroom, featuring a steak dinner courtesy of UVU’s Culinary Arts Institute, and music from UVU’s Alumni Music Society, this year’s Alumni Awards was filled with inspirational thoughts from the celebrated alumni.
In what was the emotional highlight of the evening, C. Lavar Rockwood was honored with the Wilson Sorenson Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of service to the University.
Rockwood began working for UVU in 1977. His role was designing and building the Orem campus. His work on the University has impacted thousands of students. With the aid of a family member, as he stood and accepted his award, the ballroom lit up with the loudest applause of the night, and the only standing ovation.
Patrick Lee Milligan was given the Alumni Pinnacle Award. As corporate VP of Simply Mac, Milligan has continuously reached out to students of UVU’s Woodbury School of Business for experience in case studies.
“The ability to impact lives, that’s what this is all about,” Milligan said.
During his acceptance speech, Milligan shared a story about his brother who had struggled academically in high school. Milligan’s brother came to what was then Utah Trade College, seeking higher education. Through dedicated staff, and given a chance at success, he was able to graduate with a 4.0 GPA and take his education further.
Since his time here, Milligan’s brother has held important roles working for Intermountain Healthcare.
“UVU pulls the very best out of people,” Milligan concluded.
Branden Miller, VP of in-theatre marketing for 20th Century Fox, was awarded with the Outstanding Alumni Award. During the dinner a short video played explaining Miller’s history as a student at UVSC.
After graduating, Miller had the opportunity to work for Orem’s SCERA community theater. From there he began a career at Disney and eventually moved to his current employer, 20th Century Fox.
In the video Miller shared a story about the opportunity he had to have lunch with legendary filmmaker George Lucas. Miller highlighted that meeting George Lucas was one of the great opportunities his career has allowed him to experience.
“It’s really amazing to see what has been built,” Miller said. “I’m really proud to be an alumni.”
The Young Alumni Award was presented to Amie Huntsman, who was honored for her contributions to the university’s UVU North and UVU South programs. She now works for the university as the coordinator of alumni marketing.
“I love this university,” Huntsman said. “It’s been wonderful to work with alumni. Everyone has been so gracious to me.”
The Distinguished Service Award was presented to Martha Wilson for her dedication to her crucial role as first-year experience coordinator.
Wilson explained how vital it is that we create programs that help new students feel more adjusted to campus, so that they land in college and “stick”.
James V. Cardall was given the Legacy Award for his instrumental role in aiding donation efforts for the university. Cardall has spent 12 years offering his financial talents and experience to the university.
Alejandro Perez, a current student working towards his bachelor’s degree in business, received the Distinguished Student Service Award.
Perez leads and is involved with a number of clubs and has a focus on helping international and minority students get involved in university life.
“There is nothing you can do alone,” Perez said. “The reason I want to help you out is because you helped me out.”
The evening concluded with words from President Matthew S. Holland.
“UVU is truly great,” Holland said, “because it is surrounded by great people and supported by great alumni.”