Alumni Association News
Emeritus Alumni Recognize Outstanding Peers
The Emeritus Alumni Board’s Merit of Honor Award is given each year to five alumni recognized not only for their impressive professional achievements but also for their commitment to the U and contributions to the community. The 2009 awardees were recognized at the Merit of Honor Awards Banquet in November 2009. Below, brief bios of each of this year'srecipients. For full biographies, click here.
Science is SuperNobel Laureate Mario Capecchi Talks to Alumni, Kids
U of U geneticist Mario Capecchi made a special guest appearance at a Bay Area Alumni Chapter event on October 1, almost exactly two years after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology (shared with two other researchers). Capecchi was invited to talk about his pioneering work in gene targeting, which has broad ramifications for the potential treatment and cure of disease and for which he won the Nobel Prize. More than 100 alumni from the San Francisco Bay Area gathered for a reception at the William J. Rutter Center on the University of California San Francisco-Mission Bay Campus. (The venue is connected to U of U alumnus William J. Rutter MS’50, a leader in biotechnology research, who received the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award at Founders Day in February 2009.)
Before introducing Capecchi, U of U President Michael K. Young acknowledged the efforts of outgoing chapter president Nancy Gregovich BA’89, along with the important contributions that the Bay Area Alumni Chapter has made in support of the University. He then touched on a few of the major activities and achievements taking place on the U of U campus. Capecchi then took the stage and explained in layman’s terms the highly complex nature of gene targeting in mice—through his work in homologous recombination, he developed the first mice with targeted mutations in 1989—highlighting many of the benefits the research could yield to all fields of biomedicine.
Italian-born Capecchi also related the story of his difficult childhood, wandering the streets of Italy for four years during World War II, trying to stay alive, while his mother was being held by the Nazis. After the war, Capecchi’s mother found him in a hospital, took him to the U.S., and put him in school. He didn’t learn to read until he was 9, but, against all odds, went on to graduate from Antioch College and receive a doctorate from Harvard, followed by pursuing the career path that led him to the University of Utah in 1973. Capecchi then recounted his experiences at the Nobel Prize presentation ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo in December 2007 and shared photos of the elaborate and various events involved during the celebration, which lasted several days.
He finished his presentation by fielding questions from alumni and expressing his appreciation for the support of the U’s alumni community. “I think it was one of the Bay Area’s best events yet, but with a presenter like Dr. Capecchi and his remarkable story, it was destined to be a crowd pleaser,” remarked Gregovich afterward. The following day, Capecchi paid a special visit to the Beechwood School in Menlo Park to talk to fifth- through eighth-grade students about how fascinating the study of science can be. Capecchi, who thoroughly enjoys encounters with students, was invited there by U of U alumnus Dick Jacobsen BS’68, who, along with his wife, Susan Jacobsen BA’66, and his partners in WSJ Properties, have been working to fulfill a need they recognized in some of the underprivileged neighborhoods in east Palo Alto and Menlo Park. Together, they formed the California Family Foundation, which focuses on housing, jobs, and education, including founding the Beechwood School, which opened in 1986. Virtually all of the students at Beechwood are on scholarship and come from neighborhoods where the rate of public high school graduation hovers at about 25 percent.
Referring to the challenges presented early in his life, Capecchi recounted the tale of his time spent homeless on the streets of wartime Italy. His mission at Beechwood was to stress to the students that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. “I’m going to try to talk you into becoming scientists,” said Capecchi, “because it’s a marvelous vocation.” Capecchi related his research with “knockout genes in mice” and answered numerous questions from curious kids—about his wartime experiences, about why he left Harvard for the University of Utah, and about science. At the end of his visit, Capecchi presented 10 students with medals awarded for academic achievement and overcoming their own difficult situations.
“If you have a good education, you can do anything,” said Capecchi.
For more on Mario Capecchi's life and work, read "A Nobel Effort" in the Winter 2007-08 issue of Continuum.
Hostess with the Mostest
At the time of “Susie” Price’s senior year Homecoming, the term “hostess” was used most often in reference to her honorary appointment (rather than “queen”), although she was featured in a picture and caption as “selected as the 1937 queen of beauty by students of the University of Utah” in the Dec. 27, 1936, Philadelphia Inquirer. A similar picture and caption were published in England’s Daily Sketch (“beauty queen of Salt Lake City”) and the L.A. Times (of “Utah’s Queen… Margaret Price, dimpled co-ed”) around the same time. (The British clipping was mailed in an envelope addressed to “Miss Margaret Price, Student at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, U.S.A.”) Part of her duties as “hostess” included giving a short introduction on a radio broadcast welcoming all alumni and inviting “the public of the entire state” to visit the U of U campus for Homecoming.
Price and her Homecoming attendants, Adelaide “Addy” Campbell and Julia Brixen, were selected by a panel of two Utah Supreme Court justices, David W. Moffat and William H. Folland. The justices chose from some 25 candidates, two from each of the University of Utah’s sororities and a handful of at-large students. Price was then a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, president of Associated Women Students, vice president of Spurs, and co-chair of the Founders Day committee. U of U Homecoming at the time featured a downtown parade of floats, created by various campus entities, on the morning of the Homecoming football game. Price and her attendants actually rode the ASUU float, but Delta Gamma’s won second place among sorority floats. As noted by one sorority sister in a Delta Gamma newsletter published shortly thereafter, “We felt repaid for the time we spent sewing crepe paper on muslin and tacking it onto the truck.”
Born in Salt Lake City in 1916, Margaret attended East High School before graduating from the U of U with a degree in business education, with a focus on shorthand and typing. She was promptly hired by Utah Gov. Charles R. Mabey, applying her abilities toward duties including typing the governor’s book The Pony Express: An Epic of the Old West. In 1940, Margaret married Kenneth DeWitt Carlston BS’38, and together they raised five children. In 1955, Margaret and Ken moved their family to Whittier, Calif., where she returned to college to get her California teaching credentials. She taught high school English as a full-time substitute teacher for nearly 30 years, retiring from teaching when she was 86. Ken died in 1992, and in 2005, Margaret, now 93, moved back to Salt Lake City to be near her two daughters.
—Contributed by Marcia C. Dibble, assistant editor of Continuum.
Beehive Honor SocietyBuzzing Along
Beehive, the oldest local honor society on the University of Utah campus, is busy planning for another stimulating, active year. The 10-member Board of Directors hopes to increase the amount and number of scholarship awards provided to deserving University of Utah students. The board is also working to reach out to its nearly 1,000 members living throughout the United States, as well as to develop additional community service projects and other opportunities to better engage members. For more information about the Beehive Honor Society, visit www.alumni.utah.edu/beehive.
Save the date! Founders Day 2010
The 2010 Founders Day celebration and banquet will take place on Wednesday, February 24, at Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, when the following four Distinguished Alumni will be recognized for their outstanding professional and personal achievements: Larry D. Gluth BS’83, M. Elizabeth Hale Hammond BS’64 MD’67, Fred P. Lampropoulous ex’70, and Robert A. McDonald MBA’78. Marta S. Weeks will receive the Honorary Alumna Award.
Look for updated information—including photos and extended biographies—at www.alumni.utah/foundersday.
Young Alumni Board (YAB)
It seems that the Young Alumni Board’s achievements and aspirations grow by leaps and bounds every year. The YAB continues to present its well-received and popular Speaker & Networking Series—periodic gatherings that feature either a U of U sports personality or a specialist on a contemporary topic of interest. And this year, the YAB’s Homecoming 5K Run/Walk/ Stroll & Kids 1K Fun Run was bigger and better than ever. More than 700 runners participated, and, in the process, raised more than $32,000 for student scholarships.
Heading up the YAB’s activities again this year are Jeremy Barlow BS’99, president, and Brandon Riley BA’98, vice president. New members include (group photo, L-R) Matt Klein BA’06 MA’07, an auditor with Deloitte & Touche; Nicole Barber BA’04, a loan servicing specialist for Wells Fargo Bank; Daniel Owen BS’03, a land manager for Property Reserve, Inc.; Julie Nelson BA’99 JD’03, an attorney for the State of Utah; Tim Conde BA’00 JD’04, an attorney with Stoel Rives LLP; and Julie Davidson BFA’02, owner of Bibitty, LLC, a product photography and design business, and, pictured individually (L-R), Sharon Mangelson BS’01 MPrA’03, a CPA with Hansen Barnett & Maxwell, P.C.; Joel Manwill BS’96, a pediatric occupational therapist; and Derek Winegar BS’05, a dentist.