On September 5, Utah Valley University held the 16th annual Alumni Awards dinner and honored six Utahns who have served or benefited the university.
Recipients Barbara Barrington Jones, JoAnn B. Losee, Zach Trujillo, Clinton R. Pulver, TJ Fund and K.D. Taylor were all selected from a list of nominees by the UVU Alumni Association board.
Jones, author, speaker and philanthropist, received the distinguished service award. Jones’s relationship with UVU started at the first lady’s leadership dinner in 2012 when the university was searching for funds for the child care center. At the time, Jones had her San Francisco house on the market. She donated the funds from the sale to the expansion and upgrade of the Wee Care Center.
The Wee Care Center offers care and education to children of UVU students and employees, with priority given to low-income families.
Losee received the legacy award after a long relationship with UVU and the community. She has given to the university in the form of scholarships, funds for Miss UVU, athletics, the new science building and arts building and she is part of the UVU Foundation. The Losee Student Center is named for her and her husband, Dick, and the Ragan theatre is named for her mother.
UVU President Matthew S. Holland presented the award and said that she created a physical center for student success, one of his four core themes.
Trujillo received the distinguished student service award, which is given to a current student for embracing and promoting campus life. He stepped in as president of the Mighty Athletic Wolverine League, spring semester 2014, when the leadership position of the student section needed to be filled by somebody with a lot of school spirit.
Under his supervision and with a rebranding effort, the MAWL has grown from 50 students to 150. He expects the group to continue to grow to 500.
Pulver received the young alumni award in appreciation for starting, consistently supporting and working with the Green Man Group, the enthusiastic, dancing drumline that performs at events. This award is given to a recent grad that continues to contribute to the university after graduating.
He came up with the idea in 2010 to help build school spirit while he was in student council. The drumline started in Pulver’s apartment with Pulver, his roommate and a friend. He graduated in 2012 and remains the Green Man Group’s business manager.
Fund received the alumni pinnacle award for his work with the Alumni Association. He has been on the board for seven years, served as president of the board in 2009 and worked on the UCCU credit card/debit card. He mentors in the Center for the Advancement of Leadership and helps students and alumni connect. Blair presented his award.
“There are four important things in his life – God, family, country and UVU,” said Blair.
Taylor received the Wilson W. Sorenson Lifetime Achievement Award for her dedication as a math professor and dean of the university college at UVU. Even on her breaks, she would tutor in the math lab. She announced her retirement after 21 years at UVU.
“I have not ever achieved anything here at UVU or anywhere else without a lot of help, without work, encouragement and work from other people. Anything that has been accomplished during my time here at UVU has not been something that I’ve done by myself, it’s something that everyone has contributed to and pitched in and helped out with. I’m just grateful to be part of it. UVU is a very special institution,” said Taylor.
The alumni dinner came together with effort from departments across the campus – the culinary arts students catered, the UVU Alumni Music Society performed, the UVU studios and engineering created videos of each winner. UVU Alumni Association organized the event.
“If you opt in, this school can give back in spades. That’s one of the things that I take away from my association with this university,” said Alumni Board President Curtis Blair, who wore a UVU scarf that he had received – and never took off – after the soccer game on Saturday. He said as long as the team wins, he’ll wear it.
More information about present or past recipients can be found at uvualumni.org/awards.
Tiffany is the Deputy Managing Editor for Spring 2015. Follow her on twitter @tiffany_mf