Through the Years


Donald Yacktman BS’65 is the president of Yacktman Asset Management Co. and the co-manager (with son Stephen) of the Yacktman Fund and the Yacktman Focused Fund, which were ranked numbers one and two, respectively, in performance over the last 10 years among the 450 mutual funds classified as large cap value by Morningstar, a highly trusted provider of independent mutual fund analysis, research, and ratings.


Annie Holt BS’76 has been named president and CEO of Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage. Holt has 30 years of hospital-administration experience, most recently as the vice president of the Quality and Service Line Department for HCA Mountain Division, the parent company of Alaska Regional. Previous positions have included CEO and chief clinical officer at St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, CEO at Indianapolis Women’s Hospital, and CEO at Methodist Children’s Hospital and Women’s Services in San Antonio. Holt has a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix as well as a bachelor’s in nursing from the U of U.

 Matthew Moffit BS’74 recently retired from the Navy as a two-star admiral after 30-plus years of service and now works for The Boeing Company as vice president, Navy and Marine Corps Systems. Matt married fellow U of U grad Megan (Williams) Moffit BS’77,and the two reared five children together. Matt notes, “Megan has been by my side throughout my entire Navy career… It takes a very special woman to raise five wonderful children with my many deployments.” Megan received a master’s degree in special education from the University of North Florida and worked as a special education teacher at several schools in Florida and Virginia. She currently serves as the Relief Committee chair for the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and is a member of its Board of Directors. Matt participated in Navy ROTC at the U and went on to a distinguished military career as a naval aviator, serving in command six times and receiving awards including the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with “V,” the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Individual Air Medal with “V” and four gold stars, the Strike Flight Air Medal with numeral “2,” and the Navy Commendation Medal with “V” and two gold stars. Matt Moffit is the son of a retired Navy rear admiral and has a brother and nephew who also served in the Navy. Now, the Moffits’ four sons are all serving in the military. “We have been blessed to have been able to contribute to the defense of our nation and its citizens,” Matt notes. Daughter Sarah is currently a high school freshman. Matt continues to be a red blooded Ute fan, and to this day, he notes, is rarely without some article of U of U paraphernalia.


R. Scott Ward BA’80 PhD’94 was recently reelected president of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Ward has served as APTA president since 2006. He is chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Utah and is immediate past chair of the Rehabilitation Committee of the American Burn Association. He is also a member of the Burn Rehabilitation and Research Consensus Summit Group and served as a member of APTA’s Guide to Physical Therapist Practice Volume 3 Practice Panel, among many other professional activities.

Blaine D. Leonard BS’81 MS’87, P.E., F.ASCE, a research program manager for the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) in Salt Lake City, is the new president of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). The oldest national engineering society, ASCE represents more than 146,000 civil engineers worldwide. Leonard has been with UDOT since 2001 and is responsible for balancing needs, priorities, and resources in the Research Division, as well as managing a wide variety of geotechnical, structural, seismic, environmental, and traffic safety research efforts.

Peter W. Mueller BS’82 has been inducted into the 2009 Officer Candidates School Hall of Fame, the single highest honor the OCS can bestow upon its past graduates. To be eligible, officers must have attained the rank of colonel, be Medal of Honor recipients, or have distinguished themselves in civilian occupations. A colonel in the U.S. Army, Mueller holds a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, and has served in the military for 27 years. He is currently a commander and district engineer assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Md.

Deborah Dugan JD’84, who began her career as a corporate lawyer, is currently senior advisor to the Tribeca Film Board. Dugan was most recently CEO of Entertainment Rights, a publicly traded U.K. based company that owned the intellectual property rights to kid-friendly properties including Pat the Bunny, Veggie Tales, and Where’s Waldo? before Dugan spearheaded its sale in early 2009. Prior to joining Entertainment Rights in 2007, Dugan spent eight years as president of Disney’s worldwide publishing division. One of her successes at Disney was the purchase of the Baby Einstein preschool brand. She also previously ran various record labels for EMI, where she worked with artists including Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Joan Baez.

Dawn Bennett BA ’85, founder and CEO of Bennett Group Financial Services, placed No. 5 on Barron’s magazine’s most recent list of the top women financial advisers. More than two decades ago, when a 20-something Bennett went to Wall Street, she says she clipped out a quote from a magazine that became the cornerstone of her success today. John D. Rockefeller was quoted as saying: “I’ve never met a wealthy man who didn’t take it out of the middle.” Rockefeller’s quote—an admonition to not count on stocks running too high before taking profits—became a building block of her temperate investment strategy, says Bennett. It’s about not being greedy and consistently capturing returns as assets appreciate. “Wall Street brings you to your knees at a moment’s notice,” she says. Her goal is to generate steady annual returns for her clients.


Chris Shaffer BS’92 is the chief meteorologist at WCCO Television in Minneapolis, Minn. He forecasts for the entire state of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin during the 5, 6, and 10 p.m newscasts. But television isn’t the only medium he is a part of on a daily basis. Shaffer also gives daily weather reports for WCCO AM Radio and writes a daily weather column for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He got his start in broadcasting in Salt Lake City, at radio station 98.7 KCPX, where he was an on-air personality from 1990-1992. Shaffer recently received the American Meteorological Society’s Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation, a professional recognition of the high quality of his weather broadcasts.

Paul Mayfield BS’97, Microsoft Corp.’s director of engineering, is serving as immediate head of Microsoft’s new research and development office in Lehi, Utah, where it expects to employ about 100 people in highpaying jobs working on key areas of the giant software company’s products. In early September, Microsoft marked the facility’s opening with a ceremony featuring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). At an open house in June announcing a five-year lease agreement on the property, Mayfield noted that the company would be hiring product developers, software engineers, program managers, and software test engineers for the new facility near Thanksgiving Point, the first of a planned energy-efficient five-building complex.

Samer M. Ali MA’97, associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, received a Fulbright Scholar grant to do research in Egypt and Kuwait during the 2009-2010 academic year. Ali is conducting archival research for a book project titled The Medieval Arabic Islamic Public Sphere exploring the ways that individuals and groups in the Middle East used literature from about the 10th to the 15th century to participate in common social and political concerns.


Reid Mumford HBS’00, who holds a doctorate in particle physics from Johns Hopkins University, is currently competing as a professional cyclist with the Kelly Benefits Strategies team and completed this year’s Tour of Utah in a very respectable 43rd place. Mumford began bike racing seriously after he started graduate school and turned pro a few years ago, all while conducting scientific research. Mumford, his wife, Jenni, and their young son maintain a home in Salt Lake City but spend most of the spring and summer in a motor home driving to various bicycle races.


Matt Canham BS’02, Washington correspondent for The Salt Lake Tribune, received two prestigious awards from the National Press Club this year. Canham received the Washington Regional Reporting Award, which is given to a D.C.-based journalist who best provides a clear understanding of issues and events relevant to a geographic region, and also won the club’s Joseph D. Ryle Award for Excellence in Writing on the Problems of Geriatrics. The latter prize was awarded for his series on the best and worst of Utah’s nursing homes. Canham has worked for two years as a Tribune reporter in the nation’s capital.

Lieu Tran BA’06 HBA’06 currently works at a nonprofit in Utah that assists refugee children and also volunteers for Results, a not-for-profit grassroots organization aimed at ending poverty worldwide. Tran and her siblings were born into extreme poverty in Vietnam. By the time she was 7, Tran had been forced into a labor camp. She and her family eventually escaped Vietnam and made their way to Salt Lake City. When she first arrived, Tran was unable to read the alphabet in her native language, let alone speak, read, or write English. By her senior year at Highland High School, she was enrolled in four Advanced Placement classes, including physics. After receiving her bachelor’s degrees (in Asian studies and political science), she completed a master’s degree in human rights at Columbia University

Dominic Jones PhD’08 was named the Federal Aviation Administration Flight Standards Service 2008 Staff Employee of the Year. Jones received the award at a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in August. He currently works as an Operations Research Analyst for the FAA in Salt Lake City, where he lives with his wife and new daughter.

Alexandra Grosvenor Eller MPH’09 has been named to the National Geographic Board of Trustees. A greatgreat-granddaughter of both Alexander Graham Bell, the National Geographic Society’s second president, and Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a founder and first president of the society, Eller is the sixth generation of her family to hold office at the society. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology from Princeton University, she pursued a medical degree from Wake Forest School of Medicine and did her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University. At the University of Utah, she completed subspecialty training in high-risk pregnancy as well as a master’s degree in public health. Eller is now assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the U of U as well as a physician in maternal fetal medicine at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.

Zachary Howell BS’09 has been elected chair of the College Republican National Committee (CRNC). He will lead the organization, located in Washington, D.C., for the next two years. Howell notes that he is the second U of U and Hinckley Institute alumnus to hold the position, as Karl Rove ex’71 served as chair from 1973 to 1975. A native of Sandy, Utah, Howell grew up loving politics and volunteered for his first campaign at the age of 13. While still in high school, he began his involvement with College Republicans when he helped coordinate “Get out the vote” activities for a Congressional campaign. While at the U, he served as state chair of the Utah Federation of College Republicans for two years and was named the “Best State Chairman” of the CRNC in 2006.

Clayton B. Cornell BS’05 is currently the general manager of GO Media, the first green blog network. While working as a faculty research assistant in toxicology at Oregon State University, Cornell became a biodiesel enthusiast, experimenting with small-scale biodiesel production in OSU’s chemical engineering lab and acquiring extensive hands-on experience with diesel cars and trucks, including the practical use of biodiesel and straight vegetable oil as alternative fuels. With this experience, he first joined the GO network as a professional blogger and lead writer for, its blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He later moved up to managing editor and director of social media strategy for the network and joined its office in San Francisco. The network very quickly grew from a few hundred thousand readers to more than two million and picked up syndication deals with big-name publishers including The Guardian (UK),, and Reuters. Cornell helped re-found the quickly growing company, becoming a major stakeholder before GO was acquired by social-venture incubator Virgance. Cornell is now working with sister company to develop an electric car program, as well as enjoying living in (sometimes) sunny San Francisco.

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