Class Notes Noteworthy news from featured alumni.


Jake Garn

U. S. Senator Garn BS’55, the first sitting U.S. Congress member to fly in space, in 1985, is the 2018 David Eccles School of Business Hall of Fame inductee. Garn was elected to the Salt Lake City Commission and as mayor of the city before joining the Senate in 1974. He also served in the U.S. Navy and Utah Air National Guard as a pilot, retired as a colonel, and was promoted to brigadier general after his Space Shuttle mission.


Richard D. Burbidge

Richard Burbidge BS’69 JD’72—managing partner of Burbidge | Mitchell, and the Utah Minority Bar Association’s 2017 Distinguished Lawyer of the Year—is on the team of lawyers recently honored for their 13-year effort to change seat belt safety requirements. The fight went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which found that federal safety regulations related to seat belts do not preempt a state tort lawsuit, a finding that will help others in similar cases nationwide.


Marsha Knight

Marsha Knight BFA’79 MFA’83, an award-winning professor at the University of Wyoming, had her original multimedia dance-theater piece Six Songs from Ellis selected as the topic of UW’s Fall 2018 President’s Speaker Series. The work centers on the oral histories of immigrants and refugees who passed through Ellis Island during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Knight has researched some 500 oral histories, with 88 individuals represented in the piece to date.

Jerold G. Oldroyd

Jerold Oldroyd BS’73 JD’76 was honored with the 2018 Thayne Robson Award for Leadership by the Economic Development Corporation of Utah. Named for the late U professor, the award recognizes excellence through collaboration, statewide vision, private sector leadership, and public-private-partnerships. Oldroyd is senior counsel at Ballard Spahr, where he focuses on lobbying, government affairs, and legislative initiatives relating to financing and technology. A long time EDCU board member, he currently serves as its chair.

Claudia Sisemore

Claudia Sisemore MFA’76 received the U’s 2018 College of Fine Arts Distinguished Alumni Legacy Award. Sisemore studied with Utah artists Lee Deffebach BA’49 MFA’89 and David Chaplin BFA’59 and exhibits and teaches in the arts. Her production company, Canyon Video, produces historical documentaries and independent films. She has produced national award-winning educational films for the Utah State Office of Education and has recorded the histories of more than 20 outstanding Utah artists.


Jerre Holmes

Jerre Holmes BA’86 was named the 2019 Utah School Superintendent of the Year by the state school superintendents association. Holmes has worked for 31 years as a teacher, administrator, and state championship-winning coach. Under his leadership, the North Summit School District has implemented a technology initiative to benefit students; launched a district-wide program to ensure that students who are struggling mentally, emotionally, or academically receive resources to succeed; and raised pay and benefits for all staff.


Mike White

Mike White PhD’07 received the Anthony Hecht Prize for his poetry collection Addendum to a Miracle. White notes that he worked on the book while a grad student at the U from 2001-07, “so some of the poems got their start in poetry workshop classes taught by [U professors] Jacqueline Osherow, Paisley Rekdal, and Donald Revell.” White is now an associate professor at the U, teaching for both the LEAP program and the English Department.


Susanna Cohen

Susanna Cohen DNP’14 was named a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing at its 2018 policy conference in Washington, D.C. The honor is reserved for highly distinguished nurse leaders. Cohen’s research interests include improving the management of obstetric and neonatal emergencies, simulation learning, and humanized birth. An associate professor at the U, her current projects include interprofessional team training in Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, and India, and low-tech, high-fidelity training in midwifery and women’s health.

José Ángel Maldonado

José Ángel Maldonado PhD’17 received the Rhetoric Society of America’s 2018 Dissertation Award for his paper “Diana’s Confession: Precarious Rhetoric in Post-NAFTA Mexico.” The award recognizes the best dissertation in rhetorical studies completed by a student member of the society. Maldonado’s groundbreaking thesis looks at violence and death in Mexico in relation to larger geopolitical and economic shifts. Now an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, he was the first U student to win the award.

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