Association News

Six Alumni Receive Merit of Honor Awards

The University of Utah Emeritus Alumni Board chose six exemplary alumni to receive its 2014 Merit of Honor Awards. The annual awards recognize U alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago (or who have reached age 65) whose careers have been marked by outstanding service to the University, their professions, and their communities. This year’s winners were Jeffrey L. Anderson BA’68, Ronald G. Coleman BS’66 PhD’80, Ron Henriksen BA’71, Betsy Ross Young Newton BS’46, John C. Pingree BS’64, and Heidi Sorensen Swinton BA’71.

To recognize them, the Emeritus Alumni Board hosted a Merit of Honor Awards Banquet in November at Rice-Eccles Stadium and Tower, with Barbara Snyder, the U’s vice president for student affairs, as the featured speaker and Spencer Kinard BS’66, a former broadcast journalist and past president of the U Alumni Association’s Board of Directors, as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

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Jeffrey L. Anderson

Anderson graduated Phi Beta Kappa in chemistry, magna cum laude, as valedictorian of the U’s class of 1968 and received the Bonner Award (for outstanding chemistry student). He went on to Harvard University’s Medical School, where he graduated with honors in 1972. After two years as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, he joined the U Medical School’s faculty. He went on to become director of coronary care and later chief of cardiology at LDS Hospital, and then a professor and chief of cardiology at the University of Utah. He is past president or governor for the Utah chapters of the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology, and the American Heart Association.

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Ronald G. Coleman

Coleman has been a faculty member in the U’s History Department and the Ethnic Studies Program since 1973. He received his undergraduate degree in sociology and doctorate in history at the University of Utah. As an undergrad, he was a member of the U football team and was named the Outstanding Back in the 1964 Liberty Bowl. As a professor, his primary research focus is African American history. He has received the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP Albert Fritz Civil Rights Worker of the Year Award, the Utah Humanities Council’s Governors Award, and the Days of ’47 Pioneers of Progress Award for Historic and Creative Arts.


Ron Henriksen

Henriksen received his bachelor’s degree from the U in political science. He co-founded Henriksen/Butler Design, a contract furniture business, with Steve Butler BFA’70 in 1980, and the company went on to become one of the leading distributors in the Intermountain West. Henriksen helped initiate a lecture series for the U School of Architecture that brings in designers from across the United States to talk about architectural trends. His other U and community service has included being chair of the U President’s Club.


Betsy Ross Young Newton

Newton graduated with a degree in speech communication from the U. She went on to become the mother of six children, and she was a real estate property and finance manager for 20 years. Her community service has included working with her husband, Joseph Newton BA’44 MD’46, to campaign and raise funds for water fluoridation, which was approved by voters in 2000. She also has served on the Ronald McDonald House Board of Trustees, and she was a member of the Assistance League of Salt Lake City for more than 30 years.


John C. Pingree

Pingree received his undergraduate degree from the U in economics and went on to get his MBA from Harvard University in 1966. He was regional manager for sales planning for Xerox Corporation and then moved on to Memorex Corporation, where he was director of marketing. He served as general manager and chief executive officer of the Utah Transit Authority from 1977 to 1997. He later was executive director of the Semnani Foundation, from 2001 to 2004. He also is a former member of the Utah State Board of Education.


Heidi Sorensen Swinton

Swinton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah. She has written several books that have been published by Deseret Book, and she has been a screenwriter for five documentaries about Mormon history, for PBS. In 2000, she won an Independent Book Publishers First Place Award for her book Joseph Smith: American Prophet. She also is the author of LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson’s official biography To the Rescue.

The new presidents of the Alumni Association’s affiliated boards are TJ McMullin BA’11, Beehive Honor Society Board; Tony Middleton BS’63, Emeritus Alumni Board; Lacey Despain, Student Alumni Board; and Jamie Sorenson BS’05, Young Alumni Board.


Homecoming Events Net $82,000 for Scholarships

The Homecoming Scholarship Scramble at Bonneville Golf Course raised about $30,000 for U scholarships. (Photos by Anna Pocaro)

The University of Utah Alumni Association raised a record amount—about $82,000—for U scholarships for deserving students through its events during Homecoming week. The Young Alumni 5K and KidsK on Saturday, September 27, raised a new high of about $52,000 for U scholarships. The day before, under the leadership of tournament chairman David Allred BA’84, the Homecoming Scholarship Scramble, a golf tourney at Bonneville Golf Course, netted about $30,000 for U scholarships.

Homecoming began Friday, September 19, with Redfest, a fall concert on the Union Lawn featuring B.o.B, a.k.a. Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr. On Saturday, scores of volunteers participated in the Legacy of Lowell Community Service Day. The following Tuesday, campus groups decorated their areas to reflect this year’s Homecoming theme, “Believe In U.”


The Young Alumni 5K and Kids K raised a record high of about $52,000 for University of Utah scholarships.

The U’s emeritus alumni—those who graduated 40 or more years ago or who are age 65 or older—gathered for a reunion on Wednesday evening, with dinner and then tours of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts and Education Complex. Fraternity and sorority members competed in Songfest on Thursday. Students and alumni then gathered for a pep rally at the Union Building that night. Friday began with the golf tournament. Later, students celebrated at the Homecoming dance, held at The Gateway shopping center.

On Saturday, runners braved the rainy morning with the 5K and KidsK. The crowds headed to Rice-Eccles Stadium in the afternoon for the Alumni Association’s pre-game tailgate party and then watched the Utes play Washington State in a one-point heartbreaker.

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U Graduates Form Mongolia Alumni Club

The University of Utah Alumni Association now has a Mongolia Alumni Club. U graduates in and from Mongolia formed the club in August, bringing the total number of U international alumni clubs to 10.

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Onon Soninbayar

The U currently has 15 alumni from Mongolia, and 14 students from Mongolia are enrolled at the University this year. The president of the new Mongolia Alumni Club is Onon Soninbayar BS’11, who graduated from the U’s David Eccles School of Business with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration with an international emphasis. Soninbayar lives in Salt Lake City and works for Goldman Sachs & Company as an analyst in private wealth management.

The Mongolia Alumni Club also has two board members: Enkhjin Munkhjargal BS’13 and Tseveenbolor Davaa PhD’11. Munkhjargal received a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering at the U and was recognized as the John E. Wilson Distinguished Student of the Year. He now lives in Mongolia and works as a mining engineer for the Oyu Tolgoi Copper Mine. Davaa received a doctorate in economics at the U. She works as a national consultant in Mongolia for the United Nations Population Fund.

The U currently has nine other international alumni clubs, in China, India, Europe, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Turkey, and Vietnam.


Mountain America Teams With Alumni Association

CreditCardRoundThe University of Utah Alumni Association has partnered with Mountain America Credit Union to offer the U Rewards Credit Card. Under the agreement, the credit union will pay the Alumni Association royalties based on the number of customers who use the credit card and how much they spend. The proceeds will help support student scholarships and association programs.

Two design options for the card are available, both with U logos, so that customers can show their U loyalty. The card, which has no annual fee, also offers customers rewards points that can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, rebates, or travel discounts. Learn more at


Save the Date for Founders Day 2015

PresidentsCircle2The University of Utah Alumni Association will hold a Founders Day Banquet on February 24 at the Little America Hotel to honor four outstanding graduates of the U and two honorary alumni who are receiving 2015 Founders Day Awards. A scholarship winner also will be recognized.

The 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Greg Goff BS’78 MBA’81, Brent James BS’74 BS’75 MD’78 MStat’84, Gretchen McClain BS’84, and Clayton Parr BS’60 MS’65 JD’68. John and Melody Taft will be recognized with the Honorary Alumni Award. The scholarship winner will be announced at a later date. (Read more about them in the upcoming Spring 2015 issue of Continuum.)

If you’d like to attend the banquet, go online to to register.


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