Stories Within Stories

Luise Poulton casually holds out the small, unassuming—even plain-looking—book. It lacks the exquisite line drawings, the delicate rice-paper pages, the elegant typeface, and even the literary credentials of many of the other books in the University of Utah’s rare book collection.

“It’s a tiny little book. It’s not very fat, it’s not very tall, and it’s very unprepossessing. The paper isn’t particularly great,” says Poulton BA’01, the rare books manager at the U’s J. Willard Marriott Library. “There’s nothing fancy about it.” But this book is likely the most valuable of the 80,000 pieces in the University’s rare book collection. It’s a treasure among treasures, all of which visitors are free to handle, touch, and read from cover to cover.

That includes this deceivingly valuable little Book of Commandments, or a surviving original of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogo, or the first novel Charles Dickens wrote (at age 25), or a tome of sacred Buddhist writings from China printed in 1440, 10 years before Gutenberg’s famous press.

“Here, you want to hold a million dollars?” Poulton says as she hands over the palm-sized Book of Commandments, written in 1830 and containing Mormon church founder Joseph Smith’s description of what he said were his revelations from God. The book, which sat in his brother Hyrum Smith’s library, was donated to the U by LDS Church leader John M. Whitaker in 1969. The U Rare Books Division also has one of only two known copies of the Book of Mormon inscribed by Joseph Smith; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owns the other. But the Mormon pieces are, by far, not the only storied stories.



Sumerian clay tablet

The one-by-one-inch square block is smooth like polished ivory and covered with little etchings. The Sumerian clay tablet dates to 2276 BC and is one of the earliest examples of writing. It’s one of three such tablets at the University of Utah, says Luise Poulton, manager of the U’s Rare Books Division.

This tablet is the smallest and was recently purchased by the U as part of the Kenneth Lawrence Ott collection from the small Okanogan County Museum in Washington state. Ott, who was a schoolteacher in the area, began collecting books on the history of books in the 1920s and ’30s and donated his collection to the museum during the Great Depression, with the stipulation that the collection be kept together.

Poulton says none of the U’s clay tablets have been translated, but because of its size, the tablet is believed to be “something like a receipt: ‘Yes, I acknowledge you bought two goats from me,’ or ‘I acknowledge that you paid your taxes this year.’ ”

The Marriott Library is home to one of the top rare book collections west of the Mississippi. The books are shelved in the library’s “inner sanctum,” a 7,000-square-foot, humidity-controlled, secured vault kept cold—between 58 and 62 degrees—and dark, with posted signs demanding, “Lights Out! Lights Out!” Stretching 120 feet long by 80 feet wide, the vault houses the world’s third-largest collection of Arabic papyrus, the largest collection of medieval facsimiles in the state, and the largest collection of fine press and artists’ books in the region. The books are brought to the vault after cataloguing in a “staging area,” but they don’t stay in the vault.

Poulton’s strong belief is that anyone who desires should have access to the collection—from a leaf of the Gutenberg Bible printed between 1450 and 1455 to Isaac Newton’s first-edition Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, an “extremely valuable book” that was printed in 1687 and is worth up to a half-million dollars. Poulton describes her job as balancing security and access. She shoulders the task of safeguarding the books, a responsibility that she acknowledges makes her nervous and keeps her up at night. But just as important, she says, is ensuring access to the books and making them as available as possible. “And I love that. I love the idea that you don’t have to come in with a letter from the president of Harvard to see these books. I love it that anyone—anyone—can walk into that room and say, ‘I’d like to see this book,’ and they get to see it.”

While other universities and institutions around the world may have larger, more impressive collections, Poulton marvels that the University of Utah, a public university, has the collection it does. “This is not Yale’s Beinecke Library, this is not Princeton’s library that has two full copies of the Gutenberg Bible. This is not Oxford. This is not Bibliothèque de Paris. This is a state institution,” she says, “and we have these things.”

U student Matthew Scholl, left, examines a page of a Gutenberg Bible, with Luise Poulton.

The way Poulton speaks about the renowned collection reflects her own background. As a young ballet dancer working in New York, she realized she had advanced as far as she could and needed a degree, so she came to the U as a student in the Ballet Department but ended up switching majors and graduating in history. Of Rare Books’ latest exhibition, Fighting Words: American Revolutionary War Pamphlets, which took months to curate, she says with a dancer’s aplomb: “We want the end-product to look effortless, like any good performance, right?” She rattles off an intricate history of each book but in the next breath betrays a performer’s anticipatory excitement: “The props that I have are just so incredible.”

Poulton has worked at the Marriott Library for the past 20 years, including the last 15 with Rare Books, and her enthusiasm for the job is palpable. She wants everyone to have the sensory experience of holding a centuries-old book—to not just touch it while leafing through pages but to inhale the mustiness of a book’s scent, to hear the thick rustle of pages made from rag paper, to see the fine craftsmanship of books that were early printers’ pride and joy, to handle ideas that were revolutionary.

“To hold a copy of Common Sense, printed in 1776, that was held by hands in 1776, and most likely read out loud to other people in 1776, that’s a connection. That’s a very physical and visceral connection,” Poulton says. And anyone can have that experience, by visiting the Rare Books room during its regular hours, Monday through Saturday. A staff member usually supervises the visits.

The power of holding these books is unmistakable. “There’s just nothing like it,” she says. But equally powerful are the stories behind each book, and the paths of the books through history. Among the most compelling is that of the U’s copy of Galileo’s Dialogo. Only 1,000 copies of the book were printed in 1632. The book’s discourse on astronomy and Galileo’s contention that Nicholas Copernicus was correct in postulating that the planets revolved around the sun rather than the Earth drew the ire of the Catholic Church.

The church considered the book so dangerous that Galileo was convicted of heresy by the Inquisition, placed under house arrest until his death, and prohibited from publishing any future books. The Dialogo was placed on the Inquisition’s list of forbidden books and remained there until 1835. Most of the copies were destroyed. It is believed only about 200 copies survived, and somehow, some way, one of those copies made its way to the U, hidden away and changing hands throughout the centuries.

Other highlights among the scientific books in the U’s collection include Euclid’s Elements of Geometry, the oldest mathematical textbook still in common use today. The first-edition copy, also among the U’s most valuable at $185,000 to $200,000, was printed in 1482 by famous German printer Erhard Ratdolt. “This was his book,” Poulton says, pointing out Ratdolt’s “self-congratulatory blurb” on the first page, in which he describes the quality of work his shop produces. Or there’s the first-edition Novum Organum, printed 138 years later, in which Francis Bacon disagrees with Aristotle to set “the stage for a new way of seeing, studying, and understanding the world around us.”


Da ban ruo bo luo mi duo jing

The delicate rice paper on which Da ban ruo bo luo mi duo jing is printed is just one part of the book’s multifaceted history. Purchased by the University of Utah as part of the Kenneth Lawrence Ott collection, the book is the first volume from a set of sacred Buddhist writings and was printed in China in 1440, during the fifth year of the reign of the Ming Emperor Cheng Tung.
The book’s 100 pages are bound accordion-style and contain Chinese characters, made from a wood-block print, interspersed with lavish illustrations. Most of the U’s rare books tell a strong Eurocentric story, says the collection’s manager, Luise Poulton. “But we do have pieces like this, and we try to use these pieces as often as possible to make the point that book-making—communicating with the written word—has been going on all over the world for a very long time.”




“This is the book for which Galileo nearly had his head cut off,” says Luise Poulton, manager of the U’s Rare Books Division. Only 1,000 copies of Galileo Galilei’s Dialogo were printed in 1632, and all of them were supposed to have been destroyed during the Inquisition. Somehow, about 200 copies survived.

Poulton says the book at the U was purchased for $2,250 in 1970 from a private collector, Herbert M. Evans, through donations the U received when the Marriott Library was built. A copy in similarly pristine condition sold a few years ago for $155,000. Evans, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley who co-discovered vitamin E, collected books on the history of science. The exact path the U’s copy of Dialogo took over the centuries to arrive in his hands remains a mystery.

In the book, Galileo supports the astronomical ideas of Copernicus, who had been censured almost 100 years earlier by the Roman Catholic Church for concluding that the planets revolve around the sun, and Earth is not the center of the universe. Galileo intentionally tries to make his case in a casual way. He writes his book in Italian as a conversation or dialogue—hence, Dialogo. The book’s frontispiece, a picture of three men engaged in conversation, seems to suggest, “Don’t worry about us, we’re just three guys talking,” Poulton says. But the pope, who was a childhood friend of Galileo, would not be fooled. Galileo was sequestered for the rest of his life and was forced to recant the book “to save his head.” Most of the copies of the book were rounded up, confiscated and presumably burned.

The pieces are among the “big guns” in the U’s science collection, Poulton says. But the science collection is just one part of “a world-renowned archives,” says book dealer Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books store in Salt Lake City. There are “hundreds of significant collections housed at the library, any one of which could provide a student a master’s thesis and a lifetime of research,” he says. One of the U’s rare pieces, an aquatint by Karl Bodmer featured in the 1839 book by German Prince Maximilian of Wied-Neuwied, is now on display at the Smithsonian through January 27.

But Poulton finds the simple stories of some of the books in the U’s collection to be as compelling as those of the grander works. She recalls curating an exhibition of 18th-century multi-volume herbal books. In one of the volumes, a dried plant had been pressed on a page that matched the picture of that plant. “This was at least a 200-year-old book,” Poulton says, “and who knows when that particular specimen was added in that 200 years and by whom—and why just that one, and why didn’t they keep going, or maybe they did and the rest fell out. So there’s the find. There’s this very personal touch, and then there are all these questions. So I love knowing. I also love the mystery.”

Like the discovery she stumbled upon in a lesser-known book given as a gift to a woman. Poulton doesn’t even remember the book’s title, but in it, she found an inscription by inventor Nikola Tesla. “I just flipped out,” she says. “I called one of my sisters and said, ‘You won’t believe this.’ ” Poulton’s students have had similar experiences. Just this fall, Poulton was giving a lecture on artist books, which are unique, newer books in the collection, mostly made in the 20th century. “One of those students was looking at a book smaller than a cell phone and burst into tears. I mean, lost it,” Poulton says. The text was about charity and quoted the medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides.

“I’ve had reactions like that often. It gets to be personal. … The smell, the touch, the sound really does have meaning to it. It’s the difference between getting an ‘I love you’ in an email and getting a hug in person,” Poulton says.

Emily Michelson, a history professor at St. Andrews University in Scotland who taught at the U from 2006 to 2009, says those stories and the experiences they elicit are extremely valuable. In Utah, she brought her students every semester to visit the Rare Books room. “It was enormously important for the students,” Michelson says. “Often the books were the oldest man-made objects they had ever seen, much less held.”

Poulton says she is always striving to expand the “depth and breadth” of the collection. “I have a wish list that’s five million lines long and a Microsoft-worth of money.” Besides expanding the collection, Poulton also is working to digitize many of its works so that readers can look at them online. It’s an interesting juxtaposition, given her desire for people to physically hold the books and equal wish for the greatest accessibility. She can’t help but think the early printers from centuries ago would feel the same way.



The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club

With the publication of his first novel, The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, Charles Dickens became famous overnight.

The book, written when he was only 25 years old, was published in installments of serialized, once-a-month chapters. The University of Utah’s Rare Books Division is home to a complete set of the first printing of the novel, printed in 1836 and illustrated by Hablot K. Brown, nicknamed “Boz.”

“I can see them saying on the one hand, ‘Wow, what a great idea,’ because part of the reason for Gutenberg developing printing with movable type was out of an obvious need for more copies of less expensive books. On the other hand, they did make a big deal about making what they produced beautiful.” Poulton—who doesn’t own a Kindle, has “no plans to get a Kindle,” and won’t use an iPad because it has no keyboard—can relate: “Texting is a great example. That’s not spelling,” she says.

Yet that modern-day dilemma is another example of what makes the rare books so intriguing. By handling and touching the books, it is easy to grasp that they are the reflection of real lives and real people who grappled with many of the same everyday circumstances that exist today. Their stories are rich, and the stories behind them even richer.

“The rewarding part is sheer selfishness,” Poulton says. “This is what I do. This is what I am surrounded by. To give students a context as to why they should care about some musty old books and see their reaction, that’s the most gratifying thing.”

—Kim M. Horiuchi is a longtime journalist and freelance writer based in Salt Lake City.

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The Shifting Tide

Expecting a new baby girl in early December, Katina Anthony and her husband, Chris, were both excited and worried. Already the parents of a 2-year-old boy, the couple has no health insurance, and they don’t know just how they’ll pay the hospital bill. “A delivery is like nine or 10 thousand dollars,” says Katina, who works part time as a night janitor for the University of Utah, a job that doesn’t qualify her for insurance benefits.

Her husband had been working for a small company that supports the construction industry, in a job that also lacked insurance coverage. Like many people, the couple found themselves living in an unfortunate financial gap: They couldn’t quite afford to buy private insurance, but still made too much to qualify for Medicaid. Katina says state workers advised her earlier this year that the only way the family could qualify for assistance was for her husband to quit his job. “Before that, they told me I could divorce my husband and live alone, and then I would qualify,” she says. “I was shocked. There’s got to be a better way.”

Katina Anthony and her husband, Chris, walk with their son Daniel in Salt Lake City. The new law would help the Anthonys, who lack health insurance.

By 2014, the young couple likely won’t have to worry so much. That’s when the major reforms in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are slated to take effect, expanding access to health care to about 32 million Americans and potentially transforming nearly every aspect of the way health care is paid for and provided. “Overall, I’m happy about the Affordable Care Act,” says Katina, whose family would have access to coverage under the law.

Focusing on Core Values

Passed in early 2010, the Affordable Care Act is considered the most sweeping reform of the health care system since the implementation in 1965 of Medicare, a publicly funded insurance program for seniors over age 65, and Medicaid, the assistance program for low-income Americans. The new federal law’s provisions are intended to expand access to insurance, increase protections for consumers, improve health care quality, streamline care delivery, curb costs, and shift the focus in health care to prevention and wellness.

For providers like University of Utah Health Care and the U’s School of Medicine, understanding and preparing for the law’s reforms isn’t easy. The complex law has many ramifications and will likely have unintended consequences for consumers, providers, insurance plans, and governments. As a paradigm shift, the law is “huge,” says Vivian Lee, the U’s senior vice president for health sciences, dean of the School of Medicine, and the chief executive officer of University of Utah Health Care.

“What we are trying to do is focus on some of the core values and core principles of how we need to deliver care,” Lee says. “We’re working on the things that prepare us for the new world but also enable us to survive in the old world.”

And how exactly does an institution change? “That’s the million dollar question,” says Lee. “It’s a migration.”

A number of factors are driving the way the U’s health care system—and other providers nationwide —will address the law’s countless changes. Those include volatile national and state-level political and philosophical debates and the more practical realities of funding and personnel. Proponents say the law will provide critical relief to the more than 50 million uninsured Americans by providing access to health care at affordable prices. The supporters say tax credits and subsidies will help both businesses and individuals manage costs and that health care will be less expensive for all.

Opponents of the $900 billion law, however, see it as a government takeover of health care that infringes on states’ rights. They contend the law hurts businesses and unfairly meddles in the private financial decisions of citizens. Opponents also argue the law will cost more than projected, raising the federal deficit even while curtailing as much as $500 million in Medicaid spending and imposing new taxes.

Although passed by Congress, no Republicans voted for the law, and since 2010, more than 30 unsuccessful attempts have been made to repeal it. Twenty-six states, including Utah, and the National Federation of Independent Business also sued the government to stop the Affordable Care Act’s implementation, arguing that many of its mandates are too expensive for already strained state budgets. That particular legal battle was lost this past June, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law’s implementation, on a 5-4 vote.

That the debate over the Affordable Care Act is mired in politics is no surprise to Robert Huefner BS’58, a U professor emeritus of political science and former director of the U’s Governor Scott M. Matheson Center for Health Care Studies. Politics and government are in part about making choices between values, Huefner says.

Quinn McKenna, chief operating officer of University Health Care, says that “a redesign of the system makes sense.”

“Government programs tend to be those where you’re having to balance things that you can’t just balance with a cost equation. You get those kinds of concerns in health all the time,” says Huefner, who helped two Utah governors through major changes to public health programs during the 1960s. “A second reason is cost. Health care is now the second biggest cost of state government in the country, behind education, so that means it’s political just in terms of the tradeoff between financing a public service and maintaining acceptable taxes.”

Huefner predicts that even if the Affordable Care Act is ultimately repealed, the U.S. health care system won’t go back to where it was two years ago because the system—from individual doctors to government programs and institutions such as University of Utah Health Care— has already started to change. “Too much has happened, and they are already moving on it,” he says.

Medicaid Expansion

As the law now stands, some of the key—and controversial—provisions include Medicaid expansion to cover individuals with incomes below 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and a requirement that individuals, with some exceptions, have health insurance through public or private providers, or face a penalty. Businesses will be required to offer insurance or face a penalty. States must create health-insurance exchanges to allow consumers to easily shop for and compare health-insurance plans and costs. And insurance companies will no longer be able to exclude individuals from coverage because of preexisting conditions, or charge variable premium rates.

How the Affordable Care Act will play out in Utah depends in part on decisions made by Governor Gary Herbert and the Republican-dominated Legislature that controls the state budget. Census figures from 2010 show 411,926 Utah residents without health care. State health-department data project about 111,400 of those people would qualify for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Of those, about 53,000 would be newly eligible. The remainder are people who already qualify but have never enrolled in Medicaid, says Tom Hudachko BA’98, spokesman for the Utah Department of Health. That group of people is also likely to come onto the Medicaid rolls under the new law’s expanded provisions.

Helping the Uninsured

But Medicaid spending, which represents more than 21 percent of Utah’s budget, is already vexing lawmakers. State analysts project expanding the rolls could cost the state as much as $1.7 billion dollars between 2014 and 2022, despite continued federal reimbursements. The Affordable Care Act allows states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion plan, and it’s not yet clear what Utah will do.

At the University, Lee says the state ends up paying for uninsured people’s health care costs anyway, regardless of whether the federal law prevails. Some costs are “baked in” to insurance premiums paid by others, and the rest is covered through so-called charity care, meaning that the University’s health care system picks up the tab, she says. Last year alone, University of Utah Health Care spent more than $80 million of its $1.2 billion budget providing care to uninsured or underinsured patients, says Quinn McKenna, chief operating officer of University Health Care.

Lee notes that it’s far more costly for institutions, and individuals, if patients defer care until they reach a crisis point. “You’d rather have them on Medicaid, managed and seen in clinics, so they don’t come to the ER three weeks later,” she says.

If the new federal law continues on track, just how many of the uninsured would come into the U system as patients in 2014 with either private insurance or as part of expanded Medicaid isn’t clear. Both expanded Medicaid and private insurance rolls have the potential to bring some dollars back to the University, and that could cut the volume of charity care so that those funds could be redirected for medical education, direct care, and other uses.

Another uncertainty is what the rest of Utah’s health care market will do under the new federal law, Lee says. “If the rest of the market is receptive to these patients, then the distribution will be the same. If there are barriers put up for some of these patients, then more of them will come to us, because we take everybody.”

Vivian Lee, the University of Utah’s senior vice president of health sciences and dean of the Medical School, says the school’s class size must grow, to address the state’s physician shortage.

Either way, it seems certain that the demand for health care will grow. That has Lee, as dean of the School of Medicine, focused on making sure that Utah is training enough new doctors to meet the need. The U has the only medical school in the northern Intermountain region and is typically the main supplier of physicians for Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and northern Nevada. Nationwide, a shortage is predicted of at least 91,500 physicians by the year 2020. Utah’s own physician shortage is even more severe, Lee says. A 2008 Association of American Medical Colleges study found Utah currently has fewer than one primary-care physician per every 1,000 people. Only three other states have fewer physicians per capita, and it’s hard to close the gap quickly, because it takes nearly a decade to train a physician. “With the Affordable Care Act and the fact we are the fastest-growing state in terms of population, that means that it’s just going to get worse,” she says.

Training More Doctors

To address the shortage, U administrators want to use a two-step process to restore the number of students accepted into the medical school annually from 82 to 102, and then expand the enrollment to 122. In 2008, the school had to reduce its class size from 102 students to 82 due to cuts in federal funding that were not replaced by the Legislature. Increasing the annual class size, however, will require money, and that funding is a top priority for the U with the Legislature in 2013, says Jason Perry, the U’s vice president for government relations.

Lee says that the U Medical School gets about $26.5 million annually in funding from the state. Increasing the number of medical students to 122 will require a projected $12.2 million in annual funding. The U is asking state lawmakers to cover $10 million of those costs. A similar appropriation request was made, but not funded, in 2012.

Raising tuition to help cover expanded enrollment costs just isn’t an option, Lee says. “Our students come out with an average of $158,000 in debt,” she says. “You don’t want to increase tuition more, because then they will have more debt, which forces them away from primary care [careers] and pushes them toward the higher-paying specialties.” Primary care doctors are expected to be in high demand after 2014, because the Affordable Care Act seeks to place more emphasis on wellness care and prevention.

The federal law will also begin to change the way doctors and hospitals get paid, and that has administrators like McKenna concerned about the bottom-line costs of doing business. In addition, the law’s reforms require that more of the health care dollar be spent directly on patient care, and the government will give more scrutiny to care delivery to make sure benchmarks are met.

Chris and Katina Anthony shop for baby items, with their son Daniel.

University Health Care facilities and staff annually handle an average of 1 million outpatient visits and 27,000 inpatient admissions and surgeries, McKenna says. That care gets paid for fairly evenly through private insurance and publicly funded programs. Data from the past three budget years show that on average, Medicare payments make up about 32 percent of the budget, and Medicaid payments total about 13 percent. Commercial insurance and managed care programs represent another 46 percent of the budget, with 5 percent coming from other government programs and 4 percent from patients who self-pay.

Those percentages are bound to change after the new law’s implementation, but no one can yet project what the numbers will look like. “From a philosophical standpoint, no matter what health care reform looks like, we know we are going to get paid less for what we do,” McKenna says. “Our strategy is to ask ourselves, ‘How do we live on less?’ It’s not a bad strategy, and that’s why a redesign of the system makes sense.”

Redesign is what McKenna’s job is all about. For nearly five years, he has promoted initiatives to keep the U ahead of the health care reform curve through staff-driven redesigns of care delivery and the processes needed to support the health care mission. Both on paper and in practice, the initiative seems a match with many of the criteria outlined in the federal law’s reforms. It’s also helping the U health care system meet its own goals of bettering the patient experience, improving care quality and outcomes, and bolstering overall financial strength.

The work is already netting tangible results. One review of patient outcomes for individuals needing ventilator support found that U patients stayed on the breathing machines longer than those in many other hospitals. A performance excellence team—a group of system-management engineers working in concert with doctors and nurses—reviewed the treatment protocols, looking for ways to improve. Under the changes they proposed, the number of patients staying on ventilators longer than 48 hours has dropped by 27 percent. The amount of time patients remain hospitalized has also been cut by 2.7 days, and the number of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases has been reduced by 67 percent.

Overall, that has saved the U health care system $3 million, McKenna says. “That’s what we’re trying to do across the board. We’re looking across the system and asking, ‘Where do we have those kinds of opportunities to redesign the way we do things?’ ”

Poised for Reforms

So far, care redesign has been approached on a project by project basis, McKenna says. The next step will be to up the tempo of change and spread the initiative across the wider health care system—a move that will help the U better prepare for the federal law’s broad reforms.

No matter what changes the law brings, the main goal of the University’s health care system is to provide the highest quality of care, McKenna says. “Our goal, my personal goal, is, whatever we are doing, we’re going to make it better.”

Lee and McKenna believe the institution is poised to weather the reforms well. The proactive work already begun has helped to reduce or flatten costs in recent years. Utah’s smaller and generally healthier populations also play in its favor. “I’d say we’re in a pretty good starting position,” Lee says. “And I hope were a good model for the country.”

To help that happen, Lee has established a health care reform committee to study the law’s reforms and analyze what protocols are already in place to ensure the U system makes the best possible choices for the future on the uncertain road ahead.

“I can picture seven scenarios where we’re doing the right things, and we’re going to be just fine,” McKenna says. “I can also picture two or three scenarios where all bets are off, and we’re going to have to be wildly creative and [think] out of the box, more so than what we are doing now. I think that’s where the nervousness comes. Is it going to be the seven or the three?”

Regardless of which scenario unfolds, uninsured patients like Katina Anthony are hoping the law prevails and provides them with much-needed help. Her husband lost his job this past fall, and the couple hoped they’d qualify for Medicaid in time for the baby’s birth, so the bills can get paid and so Katina and the newborn would have a few months of care. “It’s ridiculous,” Katina says. “We don’t want to the be the ones who are living off the government, and Chris is out looking for a job right now, but this will help.”

—Jennifer Dobner is a former longtime Associated Press reporter and editor who now is a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City.

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The Groucho Marxist

Here comes Sam Wilson, carrying a wild pig.

He plops the pig, which is mustard-colored and plastic, on a platform in the center of his classroom. It is the beginning of the 2012 Fall Semester, and the beginning of Wilson’s 35th year teaching at the University of Utah, and he is here to show his students how to draw.

Today the topic is triangulation, the technique of drawing, for example, a pig’s head by sketching a series of smaller and smaller triangles instead of the object’s natural curves. It’s a technique that will help the students draw what they actually see rather than what they assume they see, and the result is often messy. That’s okay, Wilson tells the students. “Be sloppy. Leave footprints. Show me you were alive when you drew it.”

Before they begin at their easels, he demonstrates at his own. “I’m going to do a couple of brief drawings,” he tells them, then pauses before he delivers his next line: “I’m going to draw underwear.” He pauses again, waiting to see if they’ve gotten his joke. This is quintessential Wilson; if there’s a pun to be made, he’ll make it, rounding it off with a smile that looks something like a grimace.

The students stand around him in a semicircle. “We’re after drawing as a verb, not a noun,” he tells them. That means working at it, again and again, and it means being willing to make mistakes. “Remember,” he says, “in the College of Fine Arts, everyone sees your blunders,” by which he means, basically, get used to it. Drawing, as a verb, means caring about the act of drawing—or painting or making a sculpture—as much as you care about the finished product.

It might even mean caring more about doing art than selling it.

Which brings us, now, to Wilson’s home studio, a few miles south of the U. He is standing amid so much clutter and inspiration and finished products and nearly finished products that it’s hard to find an uncovered surface. “I have the world’s largest collection of my work,” he deadpans. There are paintings and drawings stacked deep on shelves and on the floor; many of the works are crammed into corners of the room.

There are also plaster busts, of Mozart and Beethoven and St. Francis of Assisi; there is a mannequin wearing a bra and Foreign Legion hat; there are skeletons and photos of popes; there is a rooster, a banjo, a moose head. There is a cabinet of rubber heads, including one with a fake nose, eyeglasses, mustache, and a beret. This is the one he calls Groucho Marxist.

In Wilson’s paintings, Groucho Marxist is a stand-in for the artist himself, and indeed the name and the mask add up to the perfect Sam Wilson. Don’t take any of this too seriously, they seem to be saying.

Like the studio itself, the paintings are crammed full of an odd juxtaposition of images. Wilson pulls out one painting with a title that’s 15 words long in Latin, plus 30 more in English, which he translates as “All things change as the years go by.” The painting is populated by a couple dozen figures, including a host of Renaissance-era Florentines, a comic-strip Blondie, the Groucho Marxist, and the initials LSMFT (from the 1950s ad slogan “Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco”).

U art professor Sam Wilson stands amid some of his artwork at his studio in his home in Salt Lake City. He often juxtaposes various images, leaving viewers to derive their own interpretations.

Wilson likes surprises, so perhaps it’s no wonder that when he begins each painting, he has no plan and no message in mind. They usually begin with something realistic—a finely rendered drawing of a turtle, perhaps—and then Wilson’s subconscious takes over. Many of his paintings include monks and everyday folks, which he freely admits he has copied from Renaissance works of art. The paintings might also include copied illustrations from 1950s magazine articles, with titles such as “Weasels Ripped My Flesh,” and perhaps a clown or a set of false teeth. The paintings are rendered in intricate detail, through a process of layering charcoal, pastels, and acrylics.

“He has his reasons for putting the objects together,” says his colleague, University of Utah art professor Kim Martinez BFA’98, “but he’s asking the viewers to come up with their own associations.”

Wilson sometimes calls his work “over-educated folk art,” and at other times “a neurotic conversation” or “these harmless dramas.”

He hates to be pigeonholed (he is, after all, a man who loves Italian Renaissance painter Domenico Ghirlandaio and also walks around a lot of the time chewing on toothpicks), but perhaps his art can best be described as pop art—not of the Andy Warhol variety but more Jasper Johns; art full of visual jokes about art itself. “They’re all legitimate historical things,” Wilson says about the art references in his paintings, “but I’ve redirected the truth of art history. It’s like I have a play with a lot of characters and I’ve mixed up the scripts; I have Hamlet quoting Puck.”

The titles of his works, often full of puns, add to the whimsy: He might refer to an “altar” ego, or “A Tension to Detail,” or the “Bisontennial.” Sometimes the titles are in Latin, or some approximation of Latin. Sometimes the titles go on for a hundred words or more.

His tendency to begin a painting without a roadmap of where it’s going to end up is “a product of a lack of discipline,” he says. But this is more self-deprecation than truth. His brother-in-law once figured out, for example, that one of Wilson’s paintings—a relatively small four-by-five-foot piece—took 450 hours to finish.

Wilson is a disciplined artist, comfortable with routines, and he has little patience or applause for what he calls T-ball art (anyone can do it), the kind of conceptual art in which the idea is sometimes more important than the execution. He is wary of celebrity culture, and museum and gallery curators who have too much power. “Contemporary art is too big a tent,” he says. “There has always been a balance between concept and content, and to me, it’s shifted excessively to the conceptual, at the expense of people making things. It’s getting to the point you’re denigrated if you make something.” And then, just to make sure you know that he realizes how he sounds, he adds, “Like every generation, Wilson’s gotten old.”

“I think my beef with contemporary art,” he says, “is their collar isn’t blue enough.”

Wilson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in Southern California, the son of two parents who never finished high school. His own high school career, he says, mostly centered on being cool. He gives a demonstration of what “walking cool” looked like in 1961: He strolls across his studio, slouching a bit and looking like someone who doesn’t care about anything very much.

His real name is Roger Dale Wilson; but one day when he was 5 his father looked at him and announced, “You look like somebody named Sam,” and that’s the way it has been ever since, except on his driver’s license and Social Security card and the Art Department list of faculty, where “Sam” is still in parentheses.

After high school, he enrolled in a community college and got a D in art history. He was married briefly in the 1960s and had one son. By the mid-1960s, Wilson was against the Vietnam War— and then he was drafted. He was sent to Vietnam as a sign painter, and when he came back home, his protestor friends thought he was too much a soldier, and his soldier friends thought he’d had too cushy a job in-country.

He enrolled in college again, and this time he tried harder. Here’s how he likes to tell it now, though: “You became an art major so you didn’t have to grow up too soon.” He eventually got bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from California State University at Long Beach.

The art degrees led to teaching art at his alma mater. There were also some side jobs painting the carousel animals at Knott’s Berry Farm, and cleaning the brushes of the matte painter for the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. In 1978, he was hired by the University of Utah as a visiting artist, and then stayed on and became a faculty member. Along the way, he met and married his wife, Kristie Krumbach BFA’80.

Today, as a professor of art, he teaches beginning and advanced drawing, figure drawing and figure painting, and intermediate and advanced painting. “I’m probably the least structured teacher” in the Art Department, he says. Except in the beginning drawing classes, he says, he tends to not have a series of set assignments. “I think it’s my role to encourage the students to find their particular voice.”

University of Utah art professor Sam Wilson sits in a corner of his home studio, which is filled with some of the eclectic objects that inspire him in his work.

Over the past decade, he has also mentored five emerging artists through Art Access, a Salt Lake gallery that encourages and provides a venue for disabled and disadvantaged Utah artists. Art Access, which is part of VSA Utah, which in turn is an affiliate of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, occasionally couples these new artists with established artists.

“Sam is one of the kindest people I know,” says Ruth Lubbers, who retired in 2011 after 17 years as director of Art Access. “He puts on a really good act, like he doesn’t care. But he cares.”

The first artist Wilson mentored was Vojko Rizvanovic, a Bosnian war refugee whose injuries left him nearly blind. They first started working together in 2003, and the mentoring continues informally to this day. Rizvanovic BFA’05 is currently working on his master’s degree in fine arts at the U.

“He never says ‘Look at me, I’m the best,’ ” Rizvanovic says about his mentor. “But I’ve never seen anyone who draws that well, especially with colored pencils.” More than most observers, Rizvanovic has gotten an up-close view of Wilson’s work; because he is legally blind, he views both his own art and everyone else’s by using a magnifying glass. Many of the paintings in Rizvanovic’s MFA art show were made with art supplies Wilson donated.

Rizvanovic likes not only the mastery in Wilson’s work, but the spirit. “His art says, ‘Laugh, eat well, make friends, because tomorrow we will die. … Use your mind, make some jokes.’ ”

Wilson’s most public art pieces can be found at Salt Lake City’s Cathedral of the Madeleine, where his 14 paintings of The Stations of the Cross line the cathedral walls. Wilson grew up Lutheran, which he defines as “an underachieving Catholic.” But he had spent 16 months in the 1980s helping to renovate the interior of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, and when the diocese put out a call seeking someone to do the Stations, he applied. The paintings, which he completed in 1993, are in Wilson’s brightly colored, fractured style, but his usual irony has been replaced by a more mystical, darker reverence. Wilson chose to make each Jesus look different from the one before: Some look Hispanic, some Middle Eastern; all clearly show their pain. In 2010, Wilson was awarded the Cathedral’s Madeleine Festival Award for his artwork.

This painting is one of 14 Stations of the Cross that Sam Wilson did for the Cathedral of the Madeleine.

His cathedral paintings sparked his interest in the long history of church art in Italy. He and Kristie now travel there every year. Like the 15th-century Florentines he admires— Ghirlandaio and Filippino Lippi—he isn’t what he calls “a headliner,” the way a Michelangelo or a Masaccio was. By and large, he has made no effort to sell or promote his art, although he has shown his work in galleries in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and California. Former first lady Betty Ford bought one of his paintings at a gallery owned by a friend of his in Vail, Colorado. The piece was from his tromp l’oeil days, a watercolor featuring a paper sack, masking tape, and a seascape in the background. The title: Pull-tab Seascape in a 10-ounce Container.

“Part of selling art is building a reputation,” he says. “But I don’t want the responsibility of a reputation,” because that entails going to too many gallery receptions, he says. And, too, “the expenditure of time promoting myself isn’t worth it.”

He is happy to be holed up in his studio, or teaching his students to draw, or traveling to Italy with his wife, soaking in yet another fresco.

“I would rather do art,” he says, “than ‘be an artist.’ ”

—Elaine Jarvik is a Salt Lake City-based playwright and journalist, and a frequent contributor to Continuum.

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Building to Foster Excellence

On Guardsman Way, just east of Rice-Eccles Stadium and across the street, construction workers have been laying brick and hanging drywall on a new Football and Sports Medicine Center at the University of Utah. Take a tour through virtual video renderings that the U’s Athletics Department has created to show what the facility will look like, and you’ll see the grain and warm hues of smooth wood accents and floor-to-ceiling windows that let sunlight flood some of the building’s glittering gathering spaces. Stay a little longer, and you’ll see giant flat-screen TVs inside slick meeting rooms and offices, inviting hydrotherapy pools in another room, and a seemingly endless array of training equipment in a 21,000-square-foot weight room.

Athletics Director Chris Hill says the new facilities will help the U stay competitive in the Pac-12. (Photo by August Miller)

When the $30 million facility opens this summer, it’s expected to serve more than 400 student athletes, including 100 or so football players, who make up 18 varsity teams from various sports at the U. And it’s just one step in a larger, five-year plan to improve the quality of the U’s practice facilities and playing fields.

In the real world of the Pac-12, which the University of Utah joined in 2011, the Utes are playing in the first period of a game of catch-up in a league where the U’s comparatively meager athletics operating budget of $36.8 million for 2010-2011 was the lowest in the conference. In comparison, the average athletics operating budget in the Pac-12 during 2010-2011, the most recent year for which figures are available, was $63.5 million. Given those numbers, it’s no surprise that athletics facilities at the University also lag behind those of many of its Pac-12 peers.

The U aims to even the score with or surpass competing Pac-12 schools through a $150-million, five-year athletics resource and facilities plan that, by 2016, will usher in new training, practice, and playing areas on the U campus for basketball, softball, tennis, swimming, and football. By building the new facilities, the University intends to ensure a level playing field when it comes to recruiting top athletes, who in theory will help the U stay competitive in one of the nation’s most talent-rich athletics leagues.



Football and Sports Medicine Center

600 South Guardsman Way
$30 million

The floor plan for the street level of this cornerstone effort to improve athletics facilities at the U starts with a 10,200-square-foot outdoor patio and a 6,614-square-foot Hall of Fame area. Athlete-specific nutrition services will be dispensed in an 11,457-square-foot cafeteria.

The building, slated to open in summer of 2013, also features a 15,164-square-foot training room on the lower level, along with hydrotherapy pools to aid in rehabilitating injured athletes, more than 15,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a 160-seat auditorium, a locker room, a player lounge, and an impressive 21,000-square-foot weight room.

In early 2011, U Athletics Director Chris Hill and a few staffers visited a handful of cities around the country to view football facilities at other universities before they began plans for the U’s center. The new building, Hill says, will be “excellent.”

As part of the design, architects included energy-efficient equipment, windows, and insulation with the hope of achieving a coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold building certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Funding to cover the $30 million price tag is split about evenly between money from the athletics budget (mainly TV revenue) and donations.

For U Athletics Director Chris Hill MEd’74 PhD’82, the reality of needing an ambitious five-year plan crystallized upon hearing that the Utes would be in the Pac-12. “It quickly became apparent that we need to support our student athletes and our coaches with operating expenses and facilities that put us in the game with the rest of the league,” Hill now says.

The strategy behind the U’s building plan is to create facilities that will dazzle, delight, and, of course, serve student athletes for decades. In addition to the football center, plans are under way to build a softball complex, outdoor tennis courts, a Basketball Training and Sport Performance Center, and a swimming and diving complex. The Athletics Department also intends to improve its soccer field and expand the Burbidge Academic Center for providing academic support to student athletes.

Indeed, the U is currently the only Pac-12 school without a 50-meter pool or outdoor tennis courts. Hill says all of the facilities upgrades are needed—and soon—to compete. “We’re moving this as fast as we can,” he says.

Doug Knuth, U senior associate athletics director for external relations, is leading the fundraising. (Photo by August Miller)

Other Pac-12 universities, meanwhile, are spending large amounts on new facilities of their own. The University of Washington is building a new football stadium, to be completed in 2013, at a cost of $300 million. Arizona State University is planning a football stadium renovation that will run at least $150 million, probably more. The University of California at Los Angeles has more than $280 million invested in renovations to Pauley Pavilion and the Rose Bowl. The University of California at Berkeley is renovating its football arena to the tune of $321 million. In 2009, Stanford University completed its $90 million football stadium.

In other sports, the University of Arizona has a new $20 million gymnastics practice facility. The University of Oregon put down $227 million for a new basketball arena. And Oregon State University is spending more than $18 million to improve its basketball facilities.

Hill says that eventually he’d like to see the U’s sports facilities and budget land somewhere in the middle of the Pac-12. Achieving that goal, he says, will require the $150 million. One-third of that amount, $50 million, will come from Pac-12 television revenues. The Athletics Department launched a capital campaign last spring with the aim of raising the remaining $100 million from private donors. So far, the U has received $7 million from the Pac-12 television revenues and raised $22 million from private donors.

As part of the Pac-12 revenues, the U will see its annual share of the Pac-12 television 12-year contract go from $8 million this year to $12 million next year and, upon being fully vested, about $16 million a year by 2015. Brisk ticket sales, which generated nearly $10.4 million last year, have planners talking about how to squeeze more seats into the south end of Rice-Eccles Stadium. Corporate sponsorships, expansion of merchandise sales, and licensing revenues also are expected to help the U generate more money to stay in the game.



Softball Complex

North of the McCarthey Family Track and Field on Wasatch Drive
$4.5 million

In the spring of 2013, the U will begin hosting home softball games at its new 500-seat stadium, day or night, with the addition of a lighted field. The entire complex includes a press box, athletic training room, outdoor batting cages, and an indoor hitting and pitching facility.

While football, basketball, and gymnastics may attract the most attention of Ute sports, softball is one area that is no less competitive in a league where the Pac-12 is consistently one of the top conferences in the nation. U Athletics Director Chris Hill anticipates that the new digs will begin to turn the recruiting tables and eventually make the women’s softball team a Pac-12 powerhouse.

Welch Suggs, a former associate director and now a consultant for the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, says the U’s plans are all “doable.” But it won’t be easy, he says: “How much wealth is there, and how much competition does Utah face in its home territory?”

Suggs now studies college sports issues as an associate professor of journalism at the University of Georgia, which is among only a handful of schools in the country that year after year are able to cover their athletics expenses with the revenue brought in by sports programs. The universities of Alabama, Florida, and Iowa, as well as Ohio State University, are a few others.

The norm is that athletics departments end up relying on their universities’ institutional support to cover athletics expenditures. Whether that will happen to the U, Suggs says, may depend in part on whether worst-case scenarios unfold, such as another economic recession or chronically losing teams, which hurt ticket and merchandise sales.

Hill, however, believes the U Athletics Department will be able to prevail, and balance its budget, with its fundraising through private donors. And the projects outlined in the five-year plan don’t require tapping into University institutional funds or public monies. “It’s all athletics, all our funding,” he says. “We want that to be clear.” There is “zero” competition between athletics and academics for public funding, Hill says.



Basketball Training and Sport Performance Center

West Side of the HPER Complex Off Campus Center Drive 
$24 million

Planning is still under way for this facility, expected to open for the 2014-2015 academic year. An artist’s rendering depicts two full-sized men’s and women’s practice gymnasiums on either side of a large area that features a weight room, video-viewing rooms for the women’s and men’s teams, and a training room. Plans also include offices, meeting rooms, and a revamped basketball Hall of Fame, as well as a hydrotherapy area and facilities to support strength and conditioning for athletes in various sports, including basketball.

U Athletics Director Chris Hill is confident that the basketball program will continue to improve and live up to its proud history, and donors already have stepped up to help. “They understand the vision,” Hill says. One donor for this $24 million project has already committed a seven-figure gift that provides a jumpstart for the committee formed to raise $10 million in donations for the building. The U will bond for the project, which also will be backed by dollars from the U’s Pac-12 television contract.

Doug Knuth, the U’s senior associate athletics director for external relations, is spearheading the Athletics Department’s private fundraising efforts. His challenge is to find potential donors who are passionate about a particular sport to see if they’re ready to support a specific Utah team. He believes a strong athletics program at the U helps build an inviting “front porch” to engender support for the rest of campus. “When athletics wins, we all win,” he says.

For the new Football and Sports Medicine Center, about half the cost, roughly $15 million, is coming from donations, and the rest will be funded through television revenues. At least 20 donors gave more than $100,000 for the project. U football alum Alex Smith BS’04 donated $500,000, and his name will appear on a new strength and training room in the building.

Hill says the glittering new center is a cornerstone for the U’s overall effort to improve its resources for athletes. “It puts us in the game to provide our student athletes with support.”

—Stephen Speckman is a freelance writer and photographer based in Salt Lake City, and a frequent contributor to Continuum.



Tennis – Swimming – Soccer – Burbidge Academic Center

$12 million-plus

The U is the only Pac-12 institution without an outdoor tennis facility or 50-meter swimming pool. That will soon change.

By fall of 2013, the men’s and women’s tennis teams will have six new courts with an elevated spectator viewing area next to the Eccles Tennis Center on Guardsman Way. The existing indoor tennis center is also getting upgrades that include electronic scoreboards, a spruced-up locker room, and a revitalized Hall of Fame. The tab for all of the new construction and improvements is about $2 million and is being funded mostly by donations.

In 2016, building will begin on a $9 million pool and diving facility, bringing the U at least up to par with the rest of the Pac-12 programs. Construction is expected to take about a year.

U Athletics Director Chris Hill says several smaller projects also are in the works to improve U athletics facilities, including plans to spend $750,000 on providing better drainage for the soccer field. A 4,000-square-foot, $1.2 million expansion of the Burbidge Academic Center is expected to be complete by fall 2014 and is being funded entirely by donations. The expansion will include areas for academic support services, more meeting rooms, and study spaces.

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Lessons of the Bones

Paleontologist and University of Utah alumna Lindsay Zanno spends much of her time out in the field prospecting for dinosaur bones, and this past summer took her to the Mussentuchit Flat area near Cedar Mountain in Utah’s Emery County. It’s difficult work, in a moonscape of drab, barren hills. But that’s where you find dinosaur remains, and Zanno hit pay dirt with a new discovery the same way she always does: by looking down.

“Someone else on the team called me over to the other side of a hill, and as I was walking over there, I looked down and saw bits of brown bone sticking out of the ground,” says Zanno MS’04 PhD’08. “I got very excited right away because I could tell it was a theropod bone—they’re very thin, with a big cavity on the inside, just like the bones of a bird. That’s how you know you’ve found theropod leg bones, by the thinness.”

This //Falcarius utahensis// claw was among the finds during Lindsay Zanno’s 2012 fieldwork in central Utah.

Zanno’s team collected what they could and tagged the area for excavation, which they’ll go back to do in 2013, in a process that can take a couple of years before the new species is named and its significance assessed. Then it will go into the database Zanno has been amassing for years, to help fill out an ancient family tree of feathered dinosaurs that stretches from hundreds of millions of years ago to present-day bird species. It’s work that suits her, because Zanno has always been fascinated with ancient history.

“It’s almost an obsession,” she says. “The idea that the world was once very different than it is today. I enjoy trying to help people understand the idea that life is transient but also permanent. It changes, but everything is intertwined that way. It’s thrilling to be part of a longer story, the idea that you’re part of a long web of interactions through time. It’s an interesting way to look at life. What we see now is a snapshot in a very long history, and the present is this one little piece. Paleontologists get to go back in time and experience a little more of that past through a longer lens. That helps put my own life in perspective.”

As a paleontologist, Zanno splits her time between work in the field and work in her lab, hunched over a microscope examining fossils, or crunching numbers. She also holds forth to visitors at the North Carolina Museum of Sciences’ Nature Research Center, explaining scientific findings in layman’s terms. Zanno, a research assistant professor at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh, is director of the Nature Research Center’s paleontology and geology lab, which has a fossilized skeleton of a young Tyrannosaurus rex standing guard outside the door.

Zanno grew up in a single-parent family in Norbrook, New York. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and her mother, Sally, worked the night shift as a nurse. So Zanno had long stretches of time alone as a kid, developing a streak of curiosity and inquisitiveness. She liked being outside, taking things apart and putting them back together.

When it came time to choose a college, Zanno knew she wanted to get out into the world. So she opened up a road atlas to a random page and wound up at the one for New Mexico. That led her to the University of New Mexico.

“I can be fairly impulsive,” she says with a laugh, “although that’s lessening somewhat in my old age. But I don’t like living or thinking within the box. I wake up every morning thinking, ‘How can I erase what I know, think in new ways, and create something completely different?’ I still try to live my life that way.”

At New Mexico, Zanno started out studying human evolution. Then she did an internship with a grad student named Andrew Heckert (now an associate professor at Appalachian State University), who was doing a dissertation on microsorting fossils under microscopes. That resonated with Zanno’s obsession with ancient times, inspiring her to shift the focus of her studies farther back in geologic time. She changed to dinosaur paleontology and came to the University of Utah to study with then-new curator of paleontology Scott Sampson for her graduate work. With Sampson serving as her advisor, Zanno received master’s and doctoral degrees in geology.

“She’s always been driven and curious, and also interested in women in science,” Sampson says. “That’s a really important aspect of her personality, how to get more women into the field, and how to make science more relatable for the general public. We need more scientists trained in communication. She also wrote an amazing dissertation examining a group of small-bodied feathered relatives of Velociraptor. One important discovery was that a number of them were not carnivorous but herbivorous. She’s continued that work and made a real contribution to evolutionary history.”

Along with fieldwork unearthing fossils, Zanno’s other formative experience at Utah was working as a resident graduate student at the old Utah Museum of Natural History, which gave her numerous opportunities to interact with the public. One of Zanno’s earliest efforts at making science more accessible to the public was a children’s book she wrote while at Utah, The Fall Ball (2005, BookSurge Publishing). Zanno wrote the book, and her sister, Kristine Zanno-Kratky, illustrated it. They did it as a tribute to their mother, who died of breast cancer in 2000.

“She’d work the night shift while we were growing up, and she’d write ideas for stories in her journals,” Zanno says. “When she died, my sister found some of them, and we decided to write one of her stories for her. It’s about the cycle of life, trees that dress up by putting on their fall colors, sleep through the winter and then come back in spring. We’ve talked about doing a dinosaur book, too, but I’m not sure how that might work out, because they keep me pretty busy here.”

Visitors view a dinosaur display at the North Carolina Museum of Sciences’ Nature Research Center.

“Here” would be the Nature Research Center, Zanno’s professional address for the past year. Before that, she did stints as a research associate at Chicago’s Field Museum and as an assistant professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. But the Nature Research Center job offered special allure for Zanno, thanks to its mission of demystifying science and involving the public in the process as much as possible through “citizen science” initiatives. She moved to Raleigh with her husband— fellow U alum Terry Gates MS’04 PhD’07, a postdoctoral fellow in paleontology at Ohio University—and their two young daughters in time for the museum’s opening in April 2012.

Zanno is one of four lab directors at the Nature Research Center and oversees a staff of six researchers and graduate students. Her job involves as much communication about science as hands-on research. The museum’s research work takes place in an atmosphere of transparency, with a mantra of, “How do we know what we know?” You can watch the scientists at work through the glass, and the public is frequently invited into the labs to take part and talk to scientists about the work.

“When it comes to dinosaurs, the most common public misconception is that they’re extinct,” Zanno says. “That’s something I say on a daily basis to any audience I can, because it’s a tidbit of information that can be transformative. Explaining to somebody that dinosaurs are still here and you interact with them whenever you see a bird, something clicks. It opens up a new fascination with the world we live in.”

As part of its goal to make science more appealing to lay people, the Nature Research Center envisions and presents its four directors as “rock stars”—visible personalities, and the institution’s faces. Each of the Nature Research Center’s labs is in charge of public outreach programming for one day every week, and Zanno’s paleontology and geology lab handles Tuesdays.

Most Tuesdays, you’ll find Zanno presenting her findings in the museum’s Daily Planet multimedia theater, either in-person or via satellite from the field. Margaret Lowman, the Nature Research Center director who hired Zanno, calls her a rising star.

“She may even be a supernova in the constellation of amazing scientists I’ve been honored to hire,” Lowman says. “Lindsay has an extraordinary enthusiasm, and also an amazing ability to relate to young people—which is important, because there’s a unique component of science communication that’s required as part of her job. But what’s even more important is that the paleo-history work she’s been doing in Utah is incredible. The family tree she’s constructing is going to be fascinating. As a botanist, I hope to learn from it myself.”

The outreach aspect of the job is perfect for Zanno, who has always put a high value on making science appealing to the general public. But the science profession hasn’t always seen the need for accessibility. Scientists have at times thought that explaining themselves and their work was beneath them.

“I’m not so sure that time is entirely past,” Zanno says. “But it’s a process. The public in general does not seem to trust the scientific process anymore, and as scientists we are responsible for that. The recent trend of mistrust toward science, I find that disturbing and concerning because our problems about the environment, technology, and health are only getting more intense. If I can help make a difference in terms of building trust between science and society, I feel like my career will have been a success.”

U alumna Lindsay Zanno, second from left, digs for fossils in Utah during the summer of 2012.

A common question people ask Zanno is how she knows where to find dinosaur fossils, and the answer is simple: in places where there aren’t too many plants. For example, there’s the Crystal Geyser Quarry, one of her research outposts, in Utah’s Grand County. Zanno and her crews regularly go there to unearth fossils from a “mass death assemblage” of Falcarius utahensis, a plant-eating dinosaur from the Cretaceous era, bringing the specimens back to North Carolina to pore over them in the lab.

Originally discovered in 1999, the Crystal Geyser Quarry cache is a hillside with a layer of fossilized bones about one meter thick. There are several hundred bones per square meter, from newborn dinosaurs to elderly specimens, and they’ve yielded up a veritable gold mine of information about growth curves and how that rate changed over time.

Fossil records are usually just fragments that give researchers clues, and it’s very rare to find so many individuals of one species in the same place, as Zanno and the other paleontologists have done at Crystal Geyser. But there are still some sample gaps for Falcarius utahensis; Zanno is hoping to find more of the skull, for example. Maybe that will shed light on how these dinosaurs died, which is where the practical modern-day value of Zanno’s work comes in.

You could say Zanno is going back to the future here, trying to understand how dinosaurs responded to environmental changes similar to those happening today as the earth’s climate becomes warmer and dryer. Some people may debate about the reasons for climate change, but the way Zanno sees it, whether mankind is causing climate change is irrelevant. Whatever the causes, its potential consequences are ominous.

“There have been other periods of rapid climate change in the earth’s history— each associated with a mass extinction event,” she says. “Humans are adapted to a certain temperature range and sea level, and the temperature is getting hotter while the seas are rising. We have to deal with it. It doesn’t matter if this is natural or not. And paleontologists are the only ones looking back through the longest-running natural experiment, life on earth, with a historical perspective on how life changes in response to climate change.”

To that end, you’ll find Zanno spending summers at various dig sites for the foreseeable future, and the rest of the year trying to put it all together. The future is unknown, but the best way to predict it might be to look at the distant past.

“It might be the same spirituality that religion is for many people,” she says. “The idea that you’re part of a story, and you can understand that everything that happened before led to this point. Not that they were predestined to be that way; it’s just how things unfolded. But you’re part of it.”

—David Menconi is a features reporter for The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina. His freelance writing has appeared in publications including The New York Times and His book Ryan Adams: Losering, A Story of Whiskeytown was published by University of Texas press in September.

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Looking at the Logo


I just finished reading the “Heartbeat of the People” article in the [Fall 2012] Continuum, and the following comments/questions are stirring within me. I attended the U in the “Runnin’ Redskins” era and was saddened when that nickname went away. Now, it seems that “Utes” and the “drum and feather” logo are not politically correct. The issue is not with the Ute Tribe but with people not raised in the shadow of the U and the tradition of the Native American culture. The warrior mascot has been replaced by a red-tailed hawk whose name brings to mind a certain athletic shoe. How will the teams of the U be named if the changes become effective? What would be the next target? The colors of the U? Crimson may be an offensive color to some. White definitely could be a problem. Maybe the name of the state needs to change, too. After all, “Utah” is derived from a Native American word meaning “One who lives higher up,” which basically translates to “Land of the Utes.” It seems like rewriting history. My five yearbooks are no longer correct with their references to unacceptable nicknames, mascots, and logos. Just some thoughts. I am very thankful for the education and enjoyment that the University of Utah has afforded me for all these many years.

Steven M. Hansen BS’66
Richmond, Texas

My heart goes out to everyone attached to the Ute name and the drum and feather logo. As an undergraduate alumna of a school (The College of William and Mary) that was so proud of its two-feather logo when I attended, it has been hard to accept its replacement. Yet for the current students there, they embrace the new symbol and mascot wholeheartedly because it represents their college. Though my heritage is remotely Native American (1/16 Seminole), I was proud to support the tribe and still uncomfortable with the “tomahawk chop” arm motion used by students at sporting events. It is likely that the abuse of Indian imagery will persist in our time. Even without it, some will continue to be offended by the Ute name and logo. Should the Board of Trustees choose to replace them, at least we alumni can consider our Ute gear and paraphernalia to be rare classics in years to come!

Debbie Martin-James MS’96
Dana Point, California

Electrical Innovation

I was very pleased to see in the Fall 2012 issue of Continuum that the U is testing a wireless electric shuttle bus [“Campus Notebook,” bottom brief]. Since graduation from the U in ’85 and a successful career in the software industry, I’ve become very involved in advocacy work for electric transportation. My wife bought our first electric car in 2008 as an experiment in more sustainable transportation. We hoped it would cover half of our local driving, but found an electric car with a 100-mile range covered all of our local driving and offered such a superior driving experience that our garage is now all-electric. I’m vice president of Plug In America and look forward to seeing continued advancements in the electrification of both personal and mass transit.

Tom Saxton BA’83 MA’85

A Pioneer for Equality

In the Fall 2012 issue of the Continuum, Kim M. Horiuchi wrote a very good article, “Leveling the Playing Field,” on Norma Carr, a U alumna and former coach, and her struggle to participate in sports before, and even after, passage of Title IX in 1972 giving women access to intercollegiate sport equal to men.

What the author neglected to mention is the woman primarily responsible for the passage of Title IX, Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-Hawaii). In fact, Title IX is [now] known as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act.

Mink saw, and was target of, ethnic and gender-based discrimination, starting with her Japanese American family on the plantation in Hawaii. She was class president and valedictorian when she graduated Maui High School at age 16 in 1944. Planning on a career in medicine, she received a B.A. degree in zoology and chemistry from the University of Hawaii. When she applied for medical school, she was turned down by over 30 medical schools, not because of her grades, not entirely on her Japanese American heritage, but because of her gender.

Her career path changed in her passion to serve the community, and she enrolled in the University of Chicago Law School. In 1951, she married John Mink, who was also attending the University of Chicago, studying geology. After the birth of their daughter, Gwendolyn, the family moved to Honolulu. She again faced sexism when no law firm would hire her. Therefore, she opened her own tiny law office, supplementing her income by teaching business law at the University of Hawaii.

She began her political career when she ran and was elected to the Territorial House in 1956, and the Territorial Senate in 1959. That same year, 1959, Hawaii was admitted to the Union, and she unsuccessfully ran for the House seat. She was defeated by a war hero, Daniel K. Inouye.

In 1964, Mink did win the House seat, and she became the first woman of color in the U.S. Congress. She served in Congress from 1965 to 1977, and again from 1990 to 2002, when she passed away. In between her two periods of service in Congress, she served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs. She ran for president of the United States, to show Americans to consider the possibility of a woman president. She was on the Oregon ballot on the Green Party.

Mink had an illustrious career. She introduced or sponsored many important bills and legislation, particularly those pertaining to education, children’s issues, the environment, and women’s rights. She was a principled fighter, going against party votes if it did not fit her own agenda. However, one of her greatest legislative triumphs, and one which she is most closely associated with, is being the author of the Title IX portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 and garnering critical support for its passage. Because of her persistence, passion, and leadership, women of today are able to participate in competitive sports, with scholarships and funding equal to men.

September 28 was the 10th anniversary of her passing. We should all pause to remember this courageous trailblazer, who, like many other civil and human rights leaders, made a difference in all our lives, and in our children’s lives. Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927 – 2002)

Robert Moriguchi BS’54
Granada Hills, California

A Memorable Professor

Such a wonderful article on a truly amazing man [“The Way of Motion,” Fall 2012]. I was a member of the Actor Training Program when Jerry [Gardner] first came on board, and there are few people who leave an impression on your life so strong that 12 years later you still hear their voice in your head, dropping lessons and insight. Jerry is certainly one of them. I miss him out here in NYC, but his lessons are always there.

Chris VanDijk BA’99
Comment submitted via

Campus Notebook

University of Utah Dedicates Honors Housing

On September 21, the University of Utah dedicated the Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community, the newest solution to the U’s growing need for on-campus housing. The dorm provides apartment-style living to 309 honors students in all years of the program.

Students study in the Simmons Innovation Center. (Photos by August Miller)

“These are not old-fashioned dorm rooms,” says Sylvia Torti PhD’98, dean of the Honors College. “The buildings were designed to create a seamless living and learning environment under one roof. Student apartments, classrooms, faculty offices, a library, easy transportation access—even a market—all in one place draw together the traditionally segmented components of campus life. Importantly, the dynamic atmosphere created here could become the new model for an engaged student experience throughout the U.”

The complex is located on the eastern side of campus, adjacent to a TRAX light rail station, and a short walk to the Honors Center in Fort Douglas, the University Health Sciences Center, USTAR building, sports facilities, and the future Student Life Center.

The building also incorporates classroom and collaborative workspaces that host the honors learning model. That model is based on small, intensive courses, led by a team of distinguished faculty across disciplines, and often with involvement by non-academic experts from the local community.

The living quarters are four- or eight-person apartments, which appeal to new students and particularly upperclassmen, who typically gravitate to apartment living as they get older.

Students live in four- or eight-person apartments in the Honors Residential Scholars Community.

“Research shows that students who live on campus stay engaged, do better academically, and graduate earlier than those who live elsewhere,” says Torti. “This building makes it easy for students to engage our four-year program.”

The design makes optimal use of the site with ample use of natural light, and includes windows that open to take advantage of canyon breezes. Proximity to the TRAX line provides easy access to shopping and attractions.

“The seven-minute ride downtown and secure bike storage with bike-in, bike-out access make having a car on this campus obsolete,” Torti notes.

The apartment wing is private, but the building entry and the amenities on the first floor are open to everyone on campus.

The lobby is open and staffed by students 24 hours a day, offering a market with groceries, snacks, prepared meals, a coffee shop, and lounge areas.

Classrooms and offices occupy one wing off the lobby. The Virginia and L.E. Simmons “Big Ideas” Innovation Center is a large open classroom planned for many uses. The windows have a special coating that turns them into writable white boards.

Furniture can be arranged to suit the size and style of just about any class. All classrooms have wireless computer access and can be subdivided for small group study.

Each floor also includes a dashboard system to monitor and display electrical use throughout the building.

A group visits in a common area of the Honors Residential Scholars Community.

The building meets LEED Gold certification.

Classrooms in the Honors Residential building all have wireless computer access.

The community lobby is open to all U students.

David W. Pershing Inaugurated as University President

President David W. Pershing speaks at his inauguration ceremony at Kingsbury Hall. Much of the speech centered on his desire to improve the undergraduate experience. (Photo by Lawrence Boye)

David W. Pershing was officially inaugurated on October 25 as the 15th president of the University of Utah. Pershing, a Distinguished Professor of chemical engineering and former longtime academic vice president at the U, was selected by the State Board of Regents earlier in 2012 to succeed Michael K. Young.

President Pershing’s inaugural address highlighted many of the goals he hopes to accomplish. Much of the speech centered on his desire to improve the undergraduate experience at the University. “Students must be job No. 1,” he said.

He noted many of the recent changes implemented in the admissions process, including taking a more “holistic” approach to examining a potential student’s suitability for college. While emphasizing the U’s commitment to diversity and affordability, Pershing also made note of his “presidential promise”: his commitment to ensuring that all incoming students have at least one transformative experience during their time at the U, whether working one-on-one with a well-known professor, or perhaps participating in some form of study abroad program.

Pershing also announced that the U intends to build a 400-bed residential entrepreneurship institute, as well as explore opportunities for joining a multiuniversity campus in South Korea.

The inauguration followed a week of special events at the University, which included a Community Engagement Day on October 23 with opportunities for faculty and staff to join social service projects, and a student social with the new president on October 24.

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Eccles Foundation Helps U Student Life Center Proceed

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has provided a $3 million “capstone” grant for a much-anticipated new Student Life Center at the U. The grant completes funding needed to begin construction on the center, slated to be a centerpiece of campus activity that will include state-of-the-art facilities for recreation, fitness, and social activities. Groundbreaking is scheduled for spring 2013, with completion in time for the start of the U’s fall semester in 2014. The 172,000-square-foot facility has been a priority of Associated Students of the University of Utah leaders for more than five years, and they approved an increase in student fees in order to bond for the majority of the facility’s cost. The Eccles Foundation grant provides significant momentum toward the $6 million private fundraising campaign for the project, which also includes an early leadership gift of $1 million from Kem Gardner BA’67 JD’70 and a $1 million pledge from the University Federal Credit Union. The Student Life Center will be open year-round, seven days per week, and will offer an indoor running track, wellness clinic, café, and study nooks, among other amenities.

The U’s Student Life Center, shown in this rendering, will be open year-round, seven days a week.

In Memoriam

Audrey E. Bush BS’41 MFA’59, 92, principal bassist of the Utah Symphony for 35 years and a U adjunct faculty member in music for 36 years

Stephen Richards Covey BS’53, 79, author of the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Milt Hollstein BA’48, 86, U professor emeritus of communication and lifelong journalist

Lorenzo “Ren” Neville Hoopes ex’37, 98, a longtime member of the U’s National Advisory Council and strong supporter of the U

Mervin Peter Jackson, Jr. ex’68, 65, captain of the U’s basketball team who led the Utes to the NCAA Final Four in 1966

Joseph Stead Jacobson BS’48 MA’65 PhD’71, 99, a professor emeritus in the U’s Middle East Center

William Lewis Roberts, 52, a U professor and medical director at ARUP Laboratories

Richard Warren Shorthill BA’54 PhD’60, 83, a professor emeritus in the U’s Mechanical Engineering Department

Jim White BS’85 MPA’02, 57, a career counselor at the U for 25 years

For more on these and other memoria, click here.

Association News

Encouraging Education

The U Alumni Association awards $400,000 annually in scholarships.

By Cassie Taylor

This academic year, the University of Utah Alumni Association will award more than $400,000 in scholarships to deserving students at the University of Utah. A broad range of scholarships are offered to anyone from incoming freshmen to final-year seniors, and from those who come from a long line of U graduates to first-generation college students.

Scholarship applications are available on the Alumni Association webpage,, and most will be due in early February. Applications for the Founders Day Scholarship are due the following November.

Several committees made up of members of the various Alumni Association boards are given the task to select the scholarship recipients every year. Committee members spend hours reading hundreds of applications from well-qualified students. While this is a difficult task, it is very rewarding when they know that the money given helps to relieve the financial burden of paying for the ever-increasing costs of tuition.

During the past year, more than 50 scholarship recipients were honored at the association’s Spring Awards Banquet in April, and the Founders Day Scholarship recipient was honored last February at the Founders Day Banquet. The Alumni Board Awards and Scholarships Committee selected Randy W. Cardon for the Founders Day Scholarship in 2012.

The Alumni Association awards the full-tuition, $6,000 scholarship annually to recognize students who have overcome difficult life circumstances or challenges and who have given service to the University and the community. Cardon is a U student and gunnery sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who has served five deployments, including two tours in Iraq.

Scholarship winners honored at the Spring Awards Banquet included 13 other Founders Day applicants who were selected to receive the Achievement Scholarship, which is $4,000. The committee also awarded 11 Campus Involvement Scholarships to students who have been exceptionally engaged in campus activities, in addition to their studies, while maintaining good grades; 11 Legacy Scholarships to students who have parents or grandparents who attended the U; six scholarships to nonresident incoming freshmen; and two Marvin J. Ashton Scholarships, to a graduate student in the Humanities College and one in the Business School.

The Alumni Association’s affiliate boards presented scholarships this year, as well. The Emeritus Alumni Board awarded $5,000 each to six students at Salt Lake City’s Bryant Middle School who participate in the board’s tutoring program. Most of the students are refugees who have fled hardship and political strife in their home countries, and they will be the first in their families to attend college.

The Emeritus Alumni Board also gave two scholarships to nontraditional students who are returning to continue their education after many years away from school. The Young Alumni Board’s scholarship committee gave scholarships to four seniors and four graduate students this year. The Beehive Honor Society Board presented one undergraduate scholarship and one Beehive Legacy Scholarship, which is given to a Beehive Honor Society inductee or child of a Beehive inductee. These scholarships all required a GPA of at least 3.0 and ranged from $1,000 to $4,000 in value.

Funds for scholarships are available thanks to donations from and participation in events by generous alumni. The purchase of University of Utah license plates for vehicles is the greatest source of funds for scholarships. The Young Alumni Scholarship 5K, held every year in conjunction with Homecoming, is another big source of scholarship revenue and is a fun way for alumni and others to get involved and contribute to the Alumni Association scholarship fund.

The Alumni Association places great value on being able to award scholarships to help students achieve their academic goals. With the help of scholarship money, students are given the opportunity to improve themselves and the University. Tate Matta, recipient of the Marvin J. Ashton Scholarship, says, “The money generously awarded through the scholarship will provide an incredible opportunity for me to further my career goals while increasing my ability to positively impact lives around me. I hope to build my own legacy of service and compassion throughout my career while continually supporting the University.”

—Cassie Taylor is a program coordinator for the University of Utah Alumni Association.


Founders Day 2013

The University of Utah Alumni Association will present the 2013 Founders Day scholarship winner in February and will honor four outstanding graduates of the U and one honorary alumnus with 2013 Founders Day awards. A Founders Day Banquet will be held in their honor on February 28 at the Little America Hotel. Go to for more information and to register, if you’d like to attend.

Merit of Honor Awards Recognize Five Exemplary U Alumni

By Marcia Dibble

Kim R. Burningham

Loabelle “Loa” Black Mangelson-Clawson

Bryant W. Rossiter

JoAnn B. Seghini

The University of Utah Emeritus Alumni Board honored five alumni in November with its 2012 Merit of Honor Awards. The annual awards recognize U alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago and whose careers have been marked by outstanding service to the University, their professions, and their communities.This year’s winners are Daryl Cameron Barrett BS’67, Kim R. Burningham BS’60, Loabelle “Loa” Black Mangelson-Clawson BS’59 MFA’68, Bryant W. Rossiter BA’54 PhD’57, and JoAnn B. Seghini BS’58 MEd’73 PhD’79. The Emeritus Alumni Board hosted a Merit of Honor Awards Banquet for them on November 7 at Rice- Eccles Stadium and Tower.

Barrett has spent many years as a community volunteer for child advocacy and education, serving on community boards and committees including the University of Utah Alumni Association; Junior League of Salt Lake City; Utah Children; Zoo, Arts & Parks; and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. She was also elected to a term on the Utah State Board of Education and was appointed to the Utah State Board of Regents. With her sister-in- law, Barrett co-authored “You’re In Charge,” an innovative child-abuse prevention program for elementary-aged children that gained national recognition. She has been recognized with honors including a National Association of Child Advocates Volunteer Award.

Burningham (who also holds a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and an MFA from the University of Southern California) served as a member of the Utah House of Representatives for 15 years and has been a well-respected teacher of speech, debate, and drama at Bountiful High School for 27 years. He was a member of the Utah State Board of Education for more than a decade, chairing the board for six years. He has also been a consultant in professional writing and presenting for Shipley Associates and Franklin Covey for 20 years and directs the Bountiful Community School. He has been recognized with honors including the Utah PTA Friend of Children Award and a Legislative Leadership Award.

Mangelson-Clawson is a legend in Utah dance. Now University of Utah professor emerita, she studied with eminent dancers including Martha Graham, Willam Christensen, and Alwin Nikolais. Mangelson-Clawson was a charter member of Repertory Dance Theatre and also danced for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, and her choreographed works have been performed by both companies. In 1978, she formed and became artistic director of Performing Danscompany, a student company. She has directed hundreds of dance productions and directed and produced two award-winning films on dance. She has also written articles on dance history and technique, and she created and performed a 90-minute one-woman show about Isadora Duncan, later produced as a video by KUED.

Rossiter spent many years conducting scientific studies with the Eastman Kodak Research Laboratories, becoming director of the Chemistry Division and later director of Science and Technology Development, through which he helped form a new venture between Eastman Kodak and ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc. that led to pioneering efforts to develop broadspectrum antiviral drugs. One drug, Ribavirin, was eventually approved worldwide for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus, hepatitis C, and a number of other viral diseases. Rossiter is senior editor of Physical Methods of Chemistry, a 23-volume treatise found in many libraries and scientific institutions throughout the world.

Seghini, now in her fourth term as mayor of Midvale, Utah, dedicated 36 years to the Jordan School District. She taught K through sixth grades for 12 years and then was an administrator for 24 more, retiring as assistant superintendent of curriculum and staff development. She also spent more than a decade as an adjunct faculty member with both Utah State University and the University of Utah, and was co-chair of the Brigham Young University-Public School Gifted/Talented Task Force. Her contributions to community and professional boards and committees include currently serving on the Board of Trustees of the Itineris Charter School and as chair of the Salt Lake County Human Services Committee.

—Marcia C. Dibble is associate editor of Continuum.

Alumni Homecoming Events Raise $60,000 for Scholarships

Photos by Nathan Sweet

Runners and the U’s mascot Swoop participate in the Alumni Association’s
Homecoming KidsK

The University of Utah Alumni Association raised about $60,000 for U scholarships for deserving students through its fundraising events during Homecoming week.

A golfer makes a swing in the Scholarship Scramble tournament

Homecoming began Saturday, September 8, when scores of volunteers turned out to participate in the Legacy of Lowell Community Service Day. The following Tuesday, campus groups decorated their areas to reflect this year’s Homecoming theme, “Red, White and U.” The U’s emeritus alumni—those who graduated 40 or more years ago—gathered for their Homecoming reunion later Tuesday afternoon, with tours of the Natural History Museum of Utah followed by a reception and dinner there featuring museum director Sarah B. George as the guest speaker.

Fraternity and sorority members competed in song and dance at Songfest on Thursday. Students and alumni then gathered for a pep rally at the Union Building on Thursday night. Friday began with the U Alumni Association hosting the Homecoming Scholarship Scramble, a golf tournament at Bonneville Golf Course. Under the leadership of this year’s tournament chairman, Keith Wallace BS’72, the golf tourney netted approximately $30,000 for U scholarships, about 50 percent more than last year. Friday night, students gathered for the annual Homecoming dance, held at The Depot at The Gateway shopping center in Salt Lake City.

The Young Alumni 5K and KidsK on Saturday morning, September 15, also raised about $30,000 for U scholarships. The crowds headed in the direction of Rice-Eccles Stadium in the afternoon for the Alumni Association’s pre-game tailgate party on Guardsman Way and then watched the Utes triumph over Brigham Young University, with a score of 24-21.

U cheerleaders dance at the Crimson Rally

alumni look at old yearbooks during the Emeritus Alumni Reunion

The Homecoming king and queen, Bridger Harris and Sarah Hammer, talk with U President David W. Pershing

Through the Years: Short alum profiles and Class Notes

Treasuring the Wasatch

U alum and physician Howie Garber photographs the mountains to help preserve them.

By Kim M. Horiuchi

Howie Garber MD’80, an emergency room physician and award-winning nature photographer, has focused his expertise and efforts outside medicine on preserving and defending the beauty of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains.

Garber has photographed the Wasatch Range for 25 years and received national and international awards for his images. His pictures have been widely published as book and magazine covers and in calendars and greeting cards.

“There are many similarities in my two professions,” he says. “As an emergency physician and as a nature photographer, you must accept that many factors are out of your control. Every day as an outdoor photographer is different and often full of surprise. Your success depends on multiple factors—weather, planning, animal behavior, and luck.”

In this photo by Howie Garber, Matt Hoskisson climbs Bridal Veil Falls in the Wasatch Mountains.

His latest project is a book, Utah’s Wasatch Range: Four Season Refuge (Peter E. Randall Publisher, October 2012), that is a collaboration with 22 writers, including 17 University of Utah professors or alumni. Among the contributors are Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker JD’77 MS’82; U professors Brooke Hopkins, Jim Steenburgh, and Margaret “Peggy” Battin; and professors emeritus Gale Dick, former dean of the U’s Graduate School, and William T. Parry BS’57 PhD’61 of the Geology and Geophysics Department. Each contributed essays for the book that accompany nearly 160 photographs by Garber. The photos feature the area’s wildlife, alpine scenery, and people— including skiers, hikers, and children.

“There wasn’t a single person who turned me down, and it really didn’t take much convincing,” says Garber, who adds that what makes him most proud about the book was the opportunity to collaborate with the writers. “It just shows how much people love the Wasatch Mountains.”

Photographer and author Stephen Trimble, who contributed one of the essays, says the photos and essays “work together to celebrate the diversity and fragility of one small mountain range that does so much for so many.”

Garber says the book sprang from his wish to preserve the remaining natural areas and watershed of the Wasatch Mountains. Proceeds from the book, which is available for purchase through, will benefit groups working on clean air, wilderness, and protection of natural areas in the Wasatch. Garber’s involvement in Utah conservation efforts started after the City Creek flood of May 1983. Garber met regularly with city planners and helped establish the current system for biking and pedestrian use of the city’s surrounding canyons. In 1987, Salt Lake County started a master plan, incorporating bike and pedestrian use, for Emigration, Mill Creek, Parley’s, and Big and Little Cottonwood canyons.

Garber worked for the next two years with Salt Lake County planners, as well as Becker, who was a consultant at the time, and a citizen’s advisory committee, on the master plan adopted by Salt Lake County. In 2009 and 2010, Garber worked with Envision Utah on the Wasatch Canyons Tomorrow plan. Since 2008, he has worked with Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment to improve Salt Lake City’s air quality.

Howie Garber’s new book of photographs also features essays by 22 writers, including 17 U professors or alumni.

Garber, who was born and raised in Boston, says he is constantly trying to balance his three loves: medicine, photography, and conservation. He began working as an emergency room physician in 1982 after graduating in medicine from the U. His career path soon took him to Nepal and Brazil, where he met Sandra Cavalcanti, who was hitchhiking. Cavalcanti, to whom he was later married for a time, is a biologist specializing in jaguars and sparked his interest in wildlife photography.

Garber most recently has worked as a doctor at a hospital in Rawlins, Wyoming, and has filled in for doctors at hospitals across the West and Alaska. “I still really enjoy practicing emergency medicine,” he says. “I never really worked full time as an ER doctor, because I always wanted to have time to do other things. I could easily work full time as a photographer, but I don’t think it would pay the bills.”

So he strives to do both—two completely different professions that have taught him many of the same life lessons. “Every day is totally different and unexpected,” he says. “There’s an inability to predict what will happen, and surprises. And I guess I’m the kind of person who really likes that. I don’t think I’m the kind of person who could work a job that was the same thing every day.”

Garber’s photo clients have included Newsweek and National Geographic, as well as Nikon, Patagonia, Anheuser-Busch, and Greenpeace. In 1997, he won the Wild Places (landscape) category of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. During the summer of 2000, his work was featured in Nikon World, which highlights the best of photography from around the world. In 2004, he won the Animals in their Environment category of the BBC contest. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of Natural History in London.

As for his new book, he says, “I hope to give people a greater appreciation for what we have in our backyards. Not only is the Wasatch an incredible place, but it’s so close to so many people.”

—Kim M. Horiuchi is a longtime journalist and Salt Lake City-based freelance writer.

Other Notable Alumni

By Marcia C. Dibble


A.U. “Dan” Daniels BS’61 PhD’66 has been named an international Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering by the International Union of Societies for Biomaterials Science and Engineering. The main focus of this field is research and development for materials used to create surgical implants and other medical devices. The union includes the biomaterials societies of the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, and Korea. Daniels was a tenured professor at the University of Utah in the colleges of Medicine and Engineering. In 2003, he became a professor of experimental surgery with the University of Basel Faculty of Medicine, in Switzerland, and is now a professor emeritus there.

Robert B. Smith PhD’67 BS’72 was honored by the Geological Society of America with its George P. Woollard Award for outstanding contributions to geophysics. Smith is a University of Utah professor emeritus and research professor of geophysics and a coordinating scientist at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory run jointly by the U.S. Geological Survey, the U, and the U.S. National Park Service. He is recognized as a leading expert on earthquakes and volcanism in the Yellowstone-Grand Teton National Park region and for operating seismic and Global Positioning System networks that record quakes and ground deformation in the region. Last fall, Smith was honored with the 2011 John Wesley Powell Award from the Geological Survey.


Jim Holbrook JD’74, clinical professor of law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, was honored with the 2012 Alumni Award from Grinnell College for his “extraordinary contributions of service” to his profession and community. Holbrook graduated in 1966 from Grinnell in philosophy before going on to a master’s degree in history and philosophy from Indiana University. In 1969, he served for a year in Vietnam with the U.S. Army, receiving a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal for Valor. After graduating from the U’s College of Law, he spent more than 25 years as a mediator and attorney, including two years with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Salt Lake City. He began teaching alternative dispute resolution classes at the U in 1990, becoming a full-time professor in 2002. He published a book on advanced negotiating skills in 2011.


Erin R. Fox BA’94 DPH’99, director of the University of Utah Health Care’s Drug Information Service and an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacotherapy, has been honored by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) with its 2012 Award of Excellence. Fox was recognized for bringing the issue of drug shortages to the attention of legislators and the public, helping the ASHP Drug Shortages Resource Center keep up with drugs in short supply, and finding alternative solutions. ASHP is a professional organization whose nearly 40,000 members include pharmacists and pharmacy technicians nationwide.

Paul C. Burke JD’97
was recognized by the Utah State Bar as the 2012 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year. The award is one of the State Bar’s top honors. Burke, a partner and general counsel of Ray Quinney & Nebeker, was honored for his significant pro bono work during the preceding year, particularly his representation of an abused teenager in a complicated child welfare case, which included district court proceedings, two appeals, and an appellate mediation. Burke also served in 2011 as a mentor for a first-year lawyer through the Utah Supreme Court’s mentoring program, as chair of the Rules Committee for the United States Soccer Federation, and as a member of the Utah Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on the Rules of Appellate Procedure. LM


Miriah Meyer PhD’08, a computer scientist at the University of Utah, was selected as one of seven Microsoft Research Faculty Fellows for 2012. The award recognizes innovative, promising new faculty members from research institutions around the world for their advancements in computing research. Meyer is a USTAR (Utah Science Technology and Research) assistant professor in the U’s School of Computing and Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute. Her computer research focuses on visualization systems that support complex data analysis for scientific research. Fast Company magazine placed Meyer at No. 24 on its “100 Most Creative People in Business” list for 2012 (ahead of Björk).

LM Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association    AM Annual Member of the Alumni Association

  We want to hear from you! Please submit entries to Marcia Dibble. To read more alumni news, check out the “Honor Roll” column in the Alumni Association’s online newsletter here.

One More: A Monumental Tradition

The Block U of the University of Utah is said to be not only the first such symbol placed on a hillside by a university, but one of the largest.

It has its origins in a class competition. In April 1905, the sophomore class at the University laid out and painted a giant “07” on the side of Mount Van Cott, easily visible from the University campus. Not to be outdone, the freshman class replaced the numbers with “08,” and for a time the numbers changed as often as students could scramble up the hill with buckets of lime.

The lights of the icon shine on a recent fall evening. (Photo by Nathan Sweet)

Cooler heads proposed that instead of numbers, a giant “U” be put on the hill, “as an emblem of loyalty to the whole school,” according to an account in the Utonian yearbook. One spring day shortly after this decision was reached, almost the whole student body turned out to haul buckets of lime from a nearby kiln to replace the dueling numbers. But by the spring of 1906, the snow and rain had all but washed it away. It was refreshed that year by 600 students who handled about 5,000 buckets of lime, but it was obvious that unless they wanted to redo it every spring, a better solution was needed.

In 1907, Stayner Richards, the student body president, proposed that the “U” be constructed of concrete and whitewashed each year. This was met with enthusiasm, and with the help of a water wagon drawn by spans of U.S. Army mules borrowed from Fort Douglas, the “U” was laid out. The massive size of the symbol, 100 feet wide by 100 feet tall, meant that it took two days and part of a third for the men of the student body to mix and pour the concrete.

After that, whitewashing the concrete “U” became a hallowed campus tradition every April, and hundreds would participate in the annual ritual. In the 1960s, to make it visible at night, lights were installed. But by the end of the 20th century, the “U” had fallen prey to the ravages of Utah winters and was in poor condition. University administrators and alumni rallied to save the “U,” raising more than $400,000 in a campaign to renovate it. In October 2006, an official lighting ceremony was held during the halftime of a football game between the University of Utah and Texas Christian University.

The new “U” is not only stabilized on its hillside, with a diversion dam and a drainage system to protect it from melting snow, it also has flush-mounted lights that can flash red and white, and be dimmed or brightened as the need arises. The lights are controlled by a wireless signal that emanates from a control panel located in the Merrill Engineering Building. Today, all members of the University community can be proud that the symbol can be seen all over the Salt Lake Valley. As former U president David Gardner once put it: “It flashes when we win a game; it burns steady in defeat.”

—Roy Webb BA’84 MS’91 is a multimedia archivist with the J. Willard Marriott Library.

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In Memoriam

Audrey E. Bush BS’41 MFA’59
, longtime principal bassist with the Utah Symphony, died July 31 in St. George. She was 92.

Bush was born September 17, 1919, in Ogden, Utah, to Samuel Edward Bush and Edith Elizabeth Wanless Bush. Audrey began playing the piano and trombone as a child, and when she was 11, switched to playing the bass. She attended the University of Utah, and received a bachelor’s degree in music. At about the same time, the Utah Symphony was organized under Hans Henriot, and Bush began performing with them. When a guest conductor, Sir Thomas Beecham, came to Salt Lake to conduct the orchestra, he offered Bush a contract to play with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. She was there for three years, and became principal bassist during her third season. Bush left Seattle for New York, where she studied for 18 months with Anselme Fortier, the principal bassist of the New York Philharmonic. During the next eight years, she returned to New York annually during the summer months to study with him. In 1948, Maurice Abravanel, who had become the conductor of the Utah Symphony in 1947, brought Bush back to that orchestra as principal bassist, a position she held for 35 years. During her career, she also performed with other orchestras across the country and under the batons of renowned conductors such as Pierre Monteux, Arthur Fiedler, and Aaron Copland.

Bush was an adjunct professor of music at the University of Utah from 1948 to 1984 and taught private lessons to hundreds of young students from Salt Lake to Ogden. She wrote several books for the bass to help students perfect their technique and music theory. “My big love is working with and teaching children,” she said in a 1992 newspaper interview. “It’s a feeling like no other. When you put a violin, or any instrument, in children’s hands and they begin, it is a privilege and joy to watch their love of music unfold.” After retiring from the Utah Symphony, she moved to St. George, where she helped found the Washington County String Orchestra and the Color Country Youth Symphony. The St. George mayor in 1984 declared “Audrey Bush” week in honor of her accomplishments in music. In 1998, when the Las Vegas Philharmonic was formed, she became its principal bassist. She also taught bass students at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the Nevada School of the Arts, and the Las Vegas Academy. In 1999, she was named Educator of the Year by the American String Teachers Association. She retired in 2002 and returned to St. George.

Bush is survived by her daughter, Denise Jones of St. George, and sons Eric Bush and Lance Bush, both of Anchorage, Alaska, as well as 14 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were held August 6 in St. George, and interment was August 7 at the Salt Lake City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the “Foundation to Assist Young Musicians” (FAYM) to create a scholarship in Audrey’s name. Contributions may be sent to FAYM; 9513 Coral Way; Las Vegas, NV 89117.

Stephen Richards Covey BS’53,
author of the 1989 book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died July 16 at a hospital in Idaho Falls, Idaho, following injuries sustained in a bicycle accident in April. He was 79.

Covey was born on October 24, 1932, in Salt Lake City to Stephen Glenn and Irene Louise Richards Covey. He attended East High School and graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in business. Following his graduation, Covey served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Great Britain. Upon his return, he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and began his teaching career at Brigham Young University, where he later earned a doctoral degree. On August 14, 1956, he married Sandra Merrill, whom he had met while he was a missionary and she was traveling abroad as the youngest member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They eventually had nine children. In 1983, he left his teaching position at BYU after 25 years to start the Covey Leadership Center, which later became FranklinCovey. With the goal of taking what he called “principle-centered leadership to the world,” Covey’s business became a global organization with operations in more than 125 countries. Covey delivered thousands of speeches and sold millions of copies of books he wrote about his business philosophy and keys to success in life. More than 20 million copies of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People were reportedly sold, in 38 languages. Covey was named by Time magazine in 1996 as one of the top 25 most influential Americans, and in 2011, he was ranked 47th in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top 50 business thinkers.

He most enjoyed spending time with his family, including on trips, for birthdays, at sporting events or skiing, and in Montana, where he taught his children to water ski, drive boats, ride bikes, fish, and shoot a bow and arrow and BB guns. Covey served in various capacities of the LDS Church, including as a bishop, regional representative, temple worker, and an advisor to the LDS Church Missionary Committee. At age 29, he served as the first mission president to Ireland.

Covey is survived by his wife of nearly 56 years; his nine children and their spouses: Cynthia (Kameron) Haller, Maria (David) Cole, Stephen M.R. (Jerolyn) Covey, Sean (Rebecca) Covey, David (Pamelyn) Covey, Catherine (Paul) Sagers, Colleen (Matthew) Brown, Jenny (Jason) Pitt, Joshua (Jenny) Covey; his siblings: Irene (Cal) Gaddis, Helen Jean Williams, and his brother John (Jane) Covey. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Marilyn. A funeral was held July 21 at the UCCU Events Center at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. Condolences may be expressed online at, and donations may be made at any Zions Bank location to the I Am A Leader Foundation, a charity supported by Covey and dedicated to developing character and leadership skills in children and youths in public schools.

Milt Hollstein BA’48
, University of Utah professor emeritus of communication and lifelong journalist, died September 24 after battling kidney failure. He was 86.

Hollstein was born September 6, 1926, in Salt Lake City, to German immigrants Erick O.H. and Elizabeth Kalt Hollstein. He began his professional journalism career as a copy boy for the old Salt Lake Telegram in the summer of 1942. Later that year, he became a regular reporter and writer for The Salt Lake Tribune as well as Tribune school correspondent and editor of the South High School student newspaper, The South Scribe. After a two-year stint in the Navy during World War II, he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, where he was an editor of the student Utah Chronicle. He went on to receive his master’s degree at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in 1949 and his doctorate in mass communication at the University of Iowa in 1955. He taught journalism as a graduate student at Iowa from 1952 to 1954. He taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Utah for more than 40 years after teaching at Humboldt State University in California. He served as chairman of the University of Utah Department of Journalism before it merged into the larger communication department, and he became an expert in international communication and comparative journalism, studying mass media in more than 50 countries.

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hollstein married Shirley Francis Waller on September 1, 1948, and was a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. In his later years, he became an avid artist who filled his home with original oil paintings of family members, scenes from his many travels, and creative and modern artistic approaches. He was also an enthusiastic sports fan, especially enjoying University of Utah football and basketball, and the Utah Jazz.

Hollstein is survived by his wife, Shirley; a daughter, Helynne (Lynne) Hansen (Lawrence), a professor of French at Western State Colorado University, Gunnison, Colo.; a son, Mark Hollstein (Yoshiko), a professor of Asian Studies at Kansai Gaidai University, Osaka, Japan; three grandchildren, Lt. Joseph Hansen, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas; Mary Hansen Booth, Salt Lake City; and Kristof Hollstein, Osaka, Japan; four great-grandchildren, Dorothy Hansen, Elliot Hansen, Jordan Booth, and Ruby Hansen; and a brother, Raymond, of Salt Lake City. Another son, John, died in 1977. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in his memory be made to the Milton Hollstein Endowed Scholarship Fund, University of Utah, Department of Communication, 255 Central Campus Drive Rm. 2512, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

Lorenzo “Ren” Neville Hoopes ex’37
, a longtime member of the University of Utah’s National Advisory Council and strong supporter of the U, died September 21. He was 98.

Hoopes was born in Brigham City, Utah, on November 5, 1913, to Jesse Warner and Matilda (May) Eastman Hoopes. He married Stella Bobbie Sorensen on April 9, 1938, in Salt Lake City, and they were sealed in the Mesa Temple on March 30, 1945. He attended Weber College and the University of Utah before graduating from Harvard University’s AMP Program. He went on to receive an MBA from Pepperdine University. He also received honorary degrees from the University of Utah, Oklahoma Christian College, and Utah State University.

He began his career with Safeway in 1941 and was appointed executive assistant to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson in 1953. Hoopes returned to Safeway in 1955 and became manager of the dairy and egg division. He was elected vice president and manager of supply operations in 1963, and he became senior vice president and director of Safeway in 1972. He retired in 1979. Hoopes served on many boards of directors, including The Paramount Theatre; San Francisco Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Oakland School Board; Foundation for American Agriculture; Farm Foundation; California Coordinating Council for Higher Education; National Dairy Council; Belkorp Industries Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia; and advisory councils at Brigham Young University, the U, Weber State University, and Utah State University. He was a member of Rotary since 1941. An active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served as a bishop, stake president, England Bristol mission president, and Oakland Temple president.

Hoopes was preceded in death by his wife and their daughter, Janet Hoopes Washburn. He is survived by his son, David Craig Hoopes, seven grandchildren, and 26 great-grandchildren. Services were held on Saturday, September 29, at Oakland Interstake Center Auditorium, with interment at the Brigham City Cemetery. Friends may express condolences at In lieu of flowers, family suggests donations to the LDS Church’s Perpetual Education Fund.

Mervin Peter Jackson Jr. ex’68,
who was captain of the University of Utah’s basketball team and led the Utes to the NCAA Final Four in 1966, died on June 7 in Illinois. He was 65.

Jackson was born on August 15, 1946, to Mervin Peter Jackson Sr. and Vestie Dickson Jackson in Savannah, Georgia. He was the older of their two sons. In 1964, Jackson graduated from Beach High School, where he was a star in two state title basketball teams. He went on to play baseball and lead the basketball team for two seasons at the U, playing three varsity seasons from 1965 to 1968. One of 34 Utes in the 1,000-point club, he ranks 18th on Utah’s all-time scoring list, with 1,458 points, and seventh in career scoring, with an average 17.6.

Jackson was drafted in the ninth round, 120th overall, by the NBA’s Phoenix Suns in 1968. He signed instead with the rival American Basketball Association’s Los Angeles Stars and appeared in the 1969 ABA All-Star game. He remained with the Stars franchise when it moved to Utah in 1970, and he played an integral role in the Stars’ 1971 ABA Championship title. He played guard for the ABA Memphis Tams from 1972 to 1973 before retiring from basketball that same year. In 1979, he was inducted into the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame. Jackson eventually moved to Denver, where he was a stockbroker and a television advertising executive with KWGN-TV. In the mid-1990s, Jackson returned to Savannah, where he worked as a news anchor at WJCL-TV. He also worked at WEAS-AM Sports Radio as a college basketball analyst, and wrote, produced, and hosted WEAS-AM’s Straight Talk show. He was an analyst for several University of Utah basketball games, as well. After retiring from his career, Jackson moved to Tinley Park, Illinois.

He is survived by two first cousins, Marsha Jackson-Bob of Round Rock, Texas, and Barbara Jean Fuller of San Antonio, Texas. He was preceded in death by his parents and brother, Merle Anthony “Tony” Jackson. A memorial was held July 2 at Beach High School. Condolences may be expressed online at or at

Joseph Stead Jacobson BS’48 MA’65 PhD’71
, a professor emeritus in the University of Utah’s Middle East Center, died June 11 at his home in Holladay, Utah. He was 99.

Jacobson was born May 6, 1913, to Sarah Rebecca Stay and Baltzar Hans Jacobson, their fourth of nine children. He and Viola Nordgren married April, 6, 1937, in Coalville, Utah. After attending Granite High School, he graduated from LDS High School in 1930. He received a bachelor’s degree in military science and tactics, a master’s degree in German, and a doctorate in Middle East studies, all from the University of Utah. He was a member of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi and was a Fulbright Fellow to Istanbul, Turkey, from 1969 to 1970.

Jacobson worked for Mountain States Telephone Company and the U.S. Weather Bureau before joining the U.S. Army. He served in Puerto Rico with the 25th Field Artillery Battalion during World War II and fought in the European Theater from 1944 to 1945 with the Third Army. As a ballistics meteorologist, he worked at White Sands Proving Ground during the firing of V-2 rockets in 1947, and at the Artillery Center in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He also served as an Army attaché in Ankara, Turkey, from 1953 to 1955, and was the deputy sector reserve commander at Fort Douglas from 1955 to 1959. After retiring from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1959, Jacobson taught at Salt Lake Community College and at the University of Utah’s Middle East Center. He retired from the U as a Professor Emeritus of languages and literature in 1981. With his wife, Viola, he spent his retirement translating and publishing numerous short stories and several books from Turkish literature, and founded Southmoor Studios publishing in 1999.

He is survived by his wife of 75 years; sister, Catherine Walther; sons Joseph Douglas (Jeannie) of Woodbridge, Virginia, and Donald Eugene (Carolyn Bennion) of Ogden, Utah; daughters Annette Thompson (Glenn) of Midvale, Utah, and Susana Viola Jacobson (Susan Covey, deceased), Murray, Utah; eight grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by brothers Leo and Cecil, and sisters Rowena J. Miller, Dorothy Jacobson, Rebecca Marie Knaphus, Margaret Williams, and Phyllis Riches. Jacobson donated his body to the University of Utah Medical School, and he was honored at the Celebration of Life Monument ceremony and at the donor gravesite in the Salt Lake City Cemetery. His family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Body Donor Program at University of Utah School of Medicine.

William Lewis Roberts
, a University of Utah professor and medical director at ARUP Laboratories, died July 26, following a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was 52.

Roberts was born July 23, 1960, in Columbus, Ohio. He attended Ohio State University on a Battelle scholarship and graduated in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He then earned a doctoral degree in pharmacology in 1988 and a medical degree in 1990 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed a pathology residency and fellowship at Yale University, where he served as chief resident in 1991.

During his training, he presented his research at the annual meetings of the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists and received the Young Investigator award for his research in 1992, 1993, and 1994. After completing his fellowship at Yale in 1995, Roberts accepted his first academic appointment as assistant professor of pathology at the University of Mississippi in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1998, he joined the University of Utah and ARUP as assistant professor in clinical chemistry. At ARUP, he directed the automated core laboratory and served as the chemistry group medical director, chairman of the capital equipment committee, and executive member of the research institute.

Roberts was promoted to full professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine in 2007. As a clinical chemist, he authored 144 peer-reviewed publications, eight review articles, and 13 book chapters. At the time of his death, his publications had been cited 2,684 times. He also reviewed submitted manuscripts for 13 scientific journals and served on the editorial boards of two journals in his specialty: Clinical Chemistry and Clinica Chimica Acta. He was an active member of Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists, as well as the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and the College of America Pathologists. He served as the Academy of Clinical Laboratory Physicians and Scientists’ president in 2010 and 2011 and was honored in 2006 with the organization’s Gerald T. Evans award for outstanding leadership and service.

Roberts is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.W. Roberts of Columbus, Ohio; his wife, Wendy; his son, Joel; and daughter, Laurel. A funeral was held in Salt Lake City on August 2.

Richard Warren Shorthill
BA’54 PhD’60, a professor emeritus in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Utah, died August 2. He was 83.

Shorthill was born December 28, 1928, to Warren and Elizabeth “Pat” Shorthill in Aberdeen, Washington. After joining the U.S. Army at age 22, Shorthill attended Westminster College in Salt Lake City before transferring to the U, where he received bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in science. He taught physics at the U, as well as at a private school in Sandy, Utah. Prior to joining to the U, he was employed at Boeing in Seattle and worked on the Viking and Apollo space programs. He is credited, along with Victor Vali, with the first experimental demonstration of the fiber optic gyroscope, for which he received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science in 1999. “Richard was a great colleague and a joy to work with,” says Tim Ameel, professor and chair of the U’s Mechanical Engineering Department.

Shorthill was an avid skier and for many years taught skiing in the U’s program at Alta ski resort. He and his wife of 44 years, Ellen, also enjoyed traveling, and visited China, Russia, and Germany.

Shorthill is survived by his wife; his son, David (Patty), and daughter, Ann; his brother, Robert H. Shorthill (Rita); five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his first wife, Ruth W. Shorthill. A funeral was held August 9 in Salt Lake City, with interment at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park in Bluffdale.

Jim White BS’85 MPA’02
, a career counselor for 25 years at the University of Utah, died August 23. He was 57.

White was born June 21, 1955, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He was a longtime resident of Park City, where he worked as a firefighter and emergency medical technician from 1980 to 1990. He helped start Park City’s full-time fire department and was a member of the Fire Commission from 1984 to 1990. For the past 25 years, he was assistant director of Career Services at the U and coordinated the minority placement program. White moved from Wisconsin to Utah at age 19 to ski, and ended up staying. He held various odd jobs painting houses and condominiums and working at a ski shop in Park City before eventually becoming a property supervisor at Deer Valley Ski Resort in the early 1980s and then working for the fire department. He received a bachelor’s degree from the U in health and his MPA in social and behavioral science. He said his most unusual job ever was when he painted the bear cages for Bart the Bear, the famous bear appearing in several Hollywood films; Honey Bump, Bart’s sister; and Tank, the bear that starred in the movie Dr. Doolittle.

He said he loved his job as a career counselor at the U because he was able to help students obtain opportunities and change their lives. “I love to hear where my students get jobs and internships,” he said. “I’ve had students in the White House; Johnson Space Flight Center; the International Court in the Hague; Los Alamos and Sandia National laboratories; the Sierra Club; the Utah Governor’s Office; L.A. and New York Times; FBI; State Department; many architectural firms; many federal, state and local government departments; and many more cool places.” He and his wife, Sally, made their home in Summit County with their dog, Echo, in a log house he designed. White described himself as a science and weather buff, rock hound, and explorer of wild places around Utah. He participated as a sundancer in the Ute Sundance ceremony.

White is survived by his wife, Sally Nealley White; father, Robert N. White; brother, Richard (Mary Ann); sister, Diane Comstock; brother-in-law, Mike Nealley (Lori); nieces Laura White (Walter Lux), Ashley, and Page Comstock; nephews Brad White (Lisa), Donald Comstock, Nathan, Cameron, and Kanaan Nealley; and one great-nephew, Ronin White. White is preceded in death by his mother, Beverly Ruth. White was honored at a private ceremony on August 26. His family suggests a donation in his name to the Jim White Vital Ground Memorial being created to honor his love and respect for grizzly bears and close friendship with animal trainers Doug and Lynne Seus. Contributions may be made online, or mailed to Vital Ground, Building T-2, Fort Missoula Road, Missoula, Montana 59804.

Mel Wilson BS’67 JD’71
, who served as the Davis County attorney for nearly 20 years and later as the director for the state Office for Victims of Crime, died October 19 after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 68.

Wilson was born November 14, 1943, in Salt Lake City, the fifth of eight children, to Henry Bytheway Wilson and Wynona Curtis Wilson. He grew up in Clearfield and graduated from Davis High School before going on to the U. He was admitted to practice law in October 1971. As an attorney, he served in capacities including time as a private practice attorney, Clearfield City Prosecutor, public defender, and Davis County deputy attorney.

Wilson’s ambitious nature and desire to protect the public and ensure the rights of crime victims led him to run for public office as the Davis County Attorney. He was elected in January 1987 and served until 2006. Through 35-plus years in public service, he witnessed the trauma suffered by victims of crime and devoted his life to ensuring that people impacted by violent crime had a voice and observable rights within the criminal justice system. After retiring from the Davis County Attorney’s Office, Wilson was appointed by Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr. to serve as director for the Office of Crime Victim Reparations. Wilson was influential in passing laws that furthered the services available through the newly reorganized and renamed Utah Office for Victims of Crime. In August 2012, Wilson was presented with the office’s Melvin C. Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award for his services to victims of crime throughout the State of Utah.

Wilson married Gay Gunnell in June 1964, and they had five children. He married Sue Spooner on May 26, 1979. She had two daughters, both of whom he adopted. His seven children are: Brooke Virginia Wilson, Brad (Jeni) Wilson, Kim (Robert) Brehm, Holly (Matt) Piper, Heidi (Jason) Tarbet, Kate (Craig) Budge, and Clark (Shannon) Wilson. Wilson also is survived by 25 grandchildren and one great-grandson. His siblings are Dennis (Vernetta) Wilson, Dale (Pat) Wilson, Larry (Judy) Wilson, Colleen (Doug) Gordon, Naoma (Karl) McGuire, David (Susie) Wilson, and Renee (John) Warner. Funeral services were held in Bountiful on October 25. An online guest book is available at In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Melvin C. Wilson Lifetime Achievement Award at America First Credit Union. This award will be given out annually to recognize others who dedicate their lives to serving crime victims and will be administered through the Utah Office for Victims of Crime.