Updates

Law’s Campus Gateway

(Photo by Jack Bender)

(Photo by Jack Bender)

The new home of the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law had its grand opening on September 1, with speakers including Utah Governor Gary Herbert, U President David W. Pershing, and law dean Bob Adler. Construction of the new building began in June 2013. The new, 155,000-square-foot facility provides a gateway to students and the community on the southwest corner of the U campus. The design emphasizes sustainability and energy efficiency, including the use of south-facing, solar-screening, low-emissivity, and insulated glass in the windows throughout. Welcoming features include a café and coffee shop to serve the University and the greater community, as well as a 450-seat conference center.

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Huntsman Cancer Institute Gets Comprehensive Cancer Center Designation

HuntsmanCancerInstituteThe National Cancer Institute has awarded Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah its Comprehensive Cancer Center status, its highest designation possible. With this new status, Huntsman Cancer Institute joins distinguished cancer centers such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard University, Johns Hopkins Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, recognized among the top cancer centers in the world. Huntsman Cancer Institute is the only cancer center to be designated by the National Cancer Institute in the five-state Intermountain West region, which includes Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Nevada.

The comprehensive cancer center designation recognizes not only the outstanding cancer research, training, and public outreach programs that have long been conducted at Huntsman Cancer Institute, but acknowledges the exceptional depth and breadth of the institute’s research in each of the three major cancer research areas: laboratory, clinical, and population-based. The designation also recognizes Huntsman Cancer Institute for the impact of its research findings on national cancer care guidelines and improved patient outcomes.

“This designation is the result of professionalism and exceptional expertise of our physicians, scientists, and administrative staff at Huntsman Cancer Institute,” says Jon M. Huntsman, Sr., Huntsman Cancer Institute’s founder and chief benefactor. “Only a small percentage of the nation’s cancer programs have the excellence necessary to receive Comprehensive Cancer Center status. What a difference this will make to the cancer patients in our state, in the region, and in the world.”

A Comprehensive Cancer Center must demonstrate depth and breadth of cancer research, as well as substantial transdisciplinary research that bridges these scientific areas and changes cancer care. In addition, the center must demonstrate professional and public education and outreach capabilities, including the distribution of clinical and public health advances in the communities it serves. The evaluation is done by a team of national cancer experts, and includes a rigorous scientific review, a competitive grant process, and a site visit.

The National Cancer Institute evaluates each of its designated cancer centers every five years. Huntsman Cancer Institute opened more than 60 new collaborative grants and doubled enrollment in clinical trials of cancer treatments in the five-year project period. In addition, building expansion completed in 2011 doubled the size of the cancer hospital, and construction is under way that will double the size of Huntsman Cancer Institute’s research facilities upon its completion in 2017.


Engineering Professor Receives 2015 Rosenblatt Prize

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Jan D. Miller

Jan D. Miller, the Ivor D. Thomas Distinguished Professor of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah, was honored with the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, the U’s most prestigious award, this past May. The $40,000 gift is presented annually to a faculty member who displays excellence in teaching, research, and administrative efforts.

The Rosenblatt Prize Committee, a group of distinguished faculty members, recommends selected candidates for the award. University President David W. Pershing made the final selection. “Jan has been an outstanding faculty member for more than 40 years,” Pershing says. “He is a beloved mentor for his students, an excellent department chair, and a renowned international researcher.”

Miller holds a doctoral degree in metallurgical engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and began his career at the University of Utah in 1968. He became a full professor in 1978 and a Distinguished Professor in 2008, and he served as chair of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering from 2002 to 2013.

During his 47 years at the U, he has produced more than 600 publications, won millions of dollars in federal funding through grants and contracts, and secured more than 30 patents that have provided upwards of $750,000 in income to the U, making him one of the largest royalty earners for the University.

He is perhaps best known for his research contributions associated with the processing of mineral and energy resources, including patents on oil sands processing, resin recovery from Utah coal, and air-sparged hydrocyclone technology.

Miller has supervised the research of more than 100 graduate students, many of whom have received national awards for their thesis research and gone on to hold tenured faculty or administrative positions all over the world. He received seven best paper awards and four departmental teaching awards in four different decades, and he was elected by his peers to the National Academy of Engineering, one of the highest honors bestowed upon an engineer.


U Chamber Choir Wins International Competition

ChamberChoirThe University of Utah Chamber Choir won what is considered by some to be the world championship of amateur choral art, the European Choral Grand Prix. The competition in late May included choirs from all across the globe and had an international jury made up of judges from six different countries.

The U choir, directed by Barlow Bradford BMu’85, became qualified to compete after winning the prestigious Florilége Vocal de Tours in the summer of 2014. For the Grand Prix, they faced the winning choirs from the other regional competitions held in Italy, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Spain. “We had 25 minutes to walk in and show our stuff,” Bradford says. “They sang like a million bucks.”

The choir followed the competition with performances in early June in cathedrals in Paris, Normandy, and Barcelona.


Delon Wright Picked by Toronto in NBA Draft

DelonWrightUtah’s Delon Wright BS’15 was drafted this summer by the Toronto Raptors as the 20th pick in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft. Wright became the first Ute to be drafted since Andrew Bogut ex’05 went No. 1 in 2005 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Wright also became the 35th Ute to be selected in the NBA Draft and the 10th to go in the first round. He joins Bogut, Billy McGill ex’62, Mike Sojourner ex’74, Danny Vranes ex’81, Tom Chambers ex’77, Keith Van Horn ex’97, Michael Doleac BS’02, and Andre Miller BS’98 on that illustrious list.

Wright won the Bob Cousy Award for the nation’s top point guard and was a Sporting News All-American this past season as the Utes advanced to the Sweet 16. He also became the first two-time All-Pac-12 honoree in Utah basketball history, was named the USBWA District VIII Player of the Year, and earned a spot on the John Wooden All-American Team.


Kingsbury Hall Presents Series Broadens Its Mission

As part of an expanded mission that reaches beyond the boundaries of the Kingsbury Hall stage into other venues and spaces on the University of Utah campus and in the community, the Kingsbury Hall Presents performing arts series has become UtahPresents.

NorthwestDanceProjectThis evolution and expansion has the aim of infusing the campus and community with unique arts experiences through both live performances and community engagement activities. “Kingsbury Hall, the historic venue, and Kingsbury Hall Presents provide us with a strong foundation for this evolution,” says Brooke Horejsi, executive director of UtahPresents and assistant dean for art and creative engagement for the College of Fine Arts. “We are thrilled to announce a new name along with a new season of exciting performances in multiple venues, amazing connections between artists and community members, and a diversity of partnerships to deepen our impact.”

A highlight of the upcoming season includes Mercy Killers, a one-man show in partnership with the School of Medicine’s Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities that will engage both medical students and the public in dialogue about end-of-life decisions and the cost of health care in America. Another highlight will be an evening with tap legend Savion Glover, in concert with Jack DeJohnette, one of the most influential jazz drummers of his time, in a performance of percussion and rhythm. Prior to the public performance, Glover will work with junior high students, and DeJohnette will share his time and talent with U jazz students.

Student attendance at U arts events on campus has skyrocketed since 2011. For the fourth consecutive year, the number of student tickets issued to arts events on campus set a new record for audiences in the arts. During the 2014-15 academic year, the U issued 28,539 Arts Pass tickets, an increase of more than 20 percent over the year before. The Arts Pass program has been in existence since 2011 and allows students to use their UCard to get free or nearly free tickets to hundreds of arts events on campus each year, including those in the UtahPresents series.

“By providing our students access to a diverse array of live performances, discussions, and engaged learning experiences, UtahPresents will help enhance creative thinking, cultivate curiosity, and foster collaboration,” says Ruth Watkins, the U’s senior vice president for academic affairs.

The UtahPresents season begins September 19, as the new home of TEDx SaltLakeCity, an all-day event filled with speakers focused on a theme of “Upcycled Thinking.”


Cosmic Ray Observatory to Expand

CosmicRayPhysicists plan a $6.4 million expansion of the $25 million Telescope Array observatory in Utah so they can zero in on a “hot spot” that seems to be a source of the most powerful particles in the universe: ultrahigh-energy cosmic rays.

Japan will contribute $4.6 million, and University of Utah scientists will seek another $1.8 million to nearly quadruple the size of the existing 300-square-mile cosmic ray observatory in the desert west of Delta, Utah. The expansion will allow the next step aimed at identifying which objects in space produce ultra-high-energy cosmic rays. Luckily, they don’t get through Earth’s atmosphere.

“We know these particles exist, we know that they are coming from outside our galaxy, and we really don’t have a clue as to how nature pumps that much energy into them,” says Pierre Sokolsky, a University of Utah Distinguished Professor of physics and astronomy and principal investigator on the Telescope Array’s current National Science Foundation grant. “In order to have a clue, we need to know where they are coming from. This hot spot is our first hint.”

The planned expansion would make the Telescope Array almost as large and sensitive as the rival Pierre Auger cosmic ray observatory in Argentina. Together, they cover both the northern and southern skies.


U Among Top in Nation for Green Energy Use

GreenEnergyThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has once again recognized the University of Utah as a top school for green power purchasing in its College and University Green Power Challenge.

The U ranked eighth in the nation—and first in the Pac-12—during the 2014-15 competition by purchasing 85,926,100 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy. The total represents 28 percent of the U’s total energy use, and it is equivalent to taking more than 12,400 cars off the road. The EPA recognized 39 schools that each purchased at least 10 million kwh of green power.

Much of the credit for the U’s accomplishment is owed to students. More than a decade ago, a student-led campaign created a clean energy fund. Because of the campaign, every semester, each student contributes $1 toward renewable power.

The Mental Game

 

The record crowd of 16,019 grew quiet as All-American gymnast Georgia Dabritz approached the uneven parallel bars. The No. 4 University of Utah gymnastics team was squaring off against No. 5 Michigan in the Utes’ last home meet for 2015. In Section L, Row 7 on the aisle in the Huntsman Center was U sports psychology consultant Nicole Detling, who just days earlier had met with the team to help them mentally prepare for the Michigan meet and beyond. Dabritz had just finished eighth in vault, but when it was her turn at the bars, she smiled and acknowledged the standing-room-only crowd cheering her in her last year competing on the team. She took a deep breath and then went to work. In less than a minute, her routine was complete. A few minutes later, the crowd roared as the judges posted a perfect 10, her third on the bars for the 2015 season.

Detling PhD’07, despite having a pass that allows her quick access to the floor at any moment during a meet, watched from the stands as the Utah team went on to beat Michigan. But what Detling did for Dabritz—and others on the team—prior to the meet with Michigan had an impact on that evening’s results, by dealing with the psychological aspects of their athletic performance. “She really helped me with my mental toughness,” Dabritz says. “We’ve noticed a huge difference in our team over the last few years she’s been here.”

Baseball Player Circle

U infielder Kody Davis. (Photo by Stephen Speckman)

College athletics programs and pro sports teams across the country have increasingly turned to applied sports psychology consultants to give their athletes a mental edge through tools that help them have the extra focus they need when the pressure is on, or the coping skills in the heat of battle when even the smallest setbacks threaten to derail months of preparation. About 80 percent of U athletes across all sports now use sports psychology services provided by the private consulting practices of Detling, who is a full-time U assistant professor of exercise and sport science, and by Keith Henschen, who led the U’s sports psychology efforts for decades and still contracts with the men’s basketball team. The U also offers degree programs to educate people to take on the role that, for the athletes they serve, falls somewhere between Zen master and someone to just talk to about life.

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About 60 to 75 percent of major colleges nationwide now use mental skills coaches for their athletes, and more than 100 institutions, including the University of Utah, offer courses in sports psychology, Henschen says. The number of consultants across the country who have been certified through the Association for Applied Sport Psychology has grown from about 50 in 1992 to more than 500 today. They apply their mental skills coaching not only to athletes but to people working in fields such as medicine, music, the military, law, and business, helping them with their mental focus, confidence, concentration, and attitude.

From left, U track and field team members Beck Sarmiento, Jessica Sams, and Lauren Mills.

From left, track and field team members Beck Sarmiento, Jessica Sams, and Lauren Mills. (Photo by Stephen Speckman)

Among NCAA Division I universities, about half provide their athletes with sports psychology resources, according to an NCAA study by Ian Connole, director of sports psychology at Kansas State University. The offerings include clinical services provided by a psychologist as well as the mental skills coaching that certified consultants such as Detling use to sharpen an athlete’s performance.

Detling began her role with the U Athletics Department in 2013, after Henschen, who had initiated sports psychology work with U teams, retired. Henschen says clinical psychologists were the first to apply the knowledge they had developed for coaching people in the workplace to helping athletes with their performance. Applied sports psychology began to take hold in the late 1960s and early ’70s with bigger universities that were able to afford hiring mental skills coaches. “It just grew since then,” says Henschen, who taught for 39 years at the U, with an expertise in the psychological aspects of sports performance.

Pull Quote 1Henschen, who has also been the sport psychology consultant for the NBA’s Utah Jazz for the past 32 years, still helps the U men’s basketball team, which under Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak this year reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2005. For both teams, Henschen says he administers tests to athletes that he uses to develop competitive and learning style profiles that help coaches gain insight into why an athlete prefers to avoid failure, how not to overload a team member, or what type of anxiety issues a player might be facing.

“He has been very helpful to our program and players over the years,” says Tommy Connor BS’90, the U’s assistant head coach for men’s basketball. “He has unbelievable credentials, and our coaching staff and team have great respect for him.” Connor says the team plans to work more this year with Henschen on mental imagery, and individuals will continue working with him on confidence issues and implementing positive self-communication practices. “We talk a lot about breathing and relaxation prior to games and while shooting free throws,” Connor says. “In our practices, we try to create drills and situations that improve mental toughness.”

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For about 35 years, Henschen also helped gymnasts at Utah improve their mental skills. Co-head gymnastics coach Megan Marsden BS’84 says Henschen was a big part of her success back in 1981 when she first competed as a gymnast at the U, and he advised the team to use a sort of mental “choreography,” a blend of mental imagery and focus to keep gymnasts from overthinking their routines.

Her husband, outgoing co-head coach Greg Marsden (who in April announced his retirement), at one point worked on a doctorate in sports psychology, studying under Henschen, and also has an acute understanding of where it fits in with gymnastics performance. “Without the mental training part, a big piece of the puzzle would be missing,” he says. “At the very top level for almost all sports, it becomes a mental game—who can handle the anxiety and stress and still compete at their top level when everyone else around you is kind of panicked and losing it.”

U sports psychology consultant Nicole Detling, left, with U golfer Brent Pollock.

U sports psychology consultant Nicole Detling, left, with U golfer Brent Pollock. (Photo by Stephen Speckman)

His point is one Detling pushed in a team meeting a week prior to the Michigan meet this past March. “You should be at a point now where you know what you need before you compete,” she told the gymnasts. “You know what mindset you need. You know what feeling in your body you need in order to compete at your best.”

As part of the coaching leading up to the meet, Detling taught Dabritz to clear her mind for the bars, which Dabritz says is an “easier” event for her, and to use mental imagery to help with focus when performing on the more difficult beam routines. “I tried a few things in previous years like singing and counting,” Dabritz says about being on the beam. “This year, it’s deep breaths. I tell myself to be strong and calm. I’ll take a deep breath and say the word ‘calm’ on the exhale.”

U Athletics Director Chris Hill MEd’74 PhD’82 recognizes that the scope of sports psychology goes beyond wins and losses. “This was and continues to be a critical part of our program,” he says. The sports psychology model led by Henschen introduced the need to look at other support systems, he notes, and his department in the mid-1990s formed a Wellness Team to help student athletes with psychological and nutritional issues, as well as returning to play after injuries. “This is a very comprehensive program,” Hill says.

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Henschen was the reason Detling, a native of tiny Barnesville, Ohio, chose to study sports psychology at the University of Utah back in 2000. She received her doctorate in 2007, and in 2008 she went to work as an assistant professor (lecturer) at the U in Exercise and Sports Science, with an emphasis in sports psychology. In her private practice, she helped the U.S. Ski and Speedskating teams during the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Vancouver, and she also has worked with pro athletes in nearly every sport. Since she started her sports psychology consulting for the U Athletics Department in 2013, the number of U athletes taking advantage of mental skills coaching has grown by about 30 percent. The athletes who have worked with her office say that when it’s game time, most of what determines success and failure in their sport comes down to mental mettle.

Several members of the U’s golf team noted in a spring team meeting that the game is 90 percent or more a matter of mental skills, once competition starts. They credit Detling with being key when Utah tied for second place this past February at the Loyal Golf Invitational in Arizona. “A few weeks before, we did team sessions, and in Arizona, we were talking with her almost every night,” says golfer Brandon Kida, who shot a four under par and tied for fifth individually in that tournament. “After rounds, we would talk about what we were doing on the course and what we were thinking,” he says. “It’s something our team definitely needs to keep doing. It’s helping everyone as individuals and as a team.”

Cover Story Graphic FixThe use of a mental skills coach is a relatively new development for the golf team. “It took us a while to get to the realization that with golf, being as mental of a game as it is, it’s crazy not to use the resources we have up here,” says Andrew Mecham BFA’94, the golf team’s assistant coach. “Most of these kids can hit the shots—they have the physical tools, or they wouldn’t be here in the first place. I feel like if they can have some help thinking around the golf course, it helps them a lot.”

Detling educates athletes about their body’s physiological responses to frustration, anger, and negative thoughts—including chemicals released and muscles tightening—versus what happens when athletes use techniques such as repeating positive sayings to themselves. “Finding those positive moments actually releases serotonin, which is the happy hormone, and serotonin and cortical hormones fight each other,” she told the golf team in that spring meeting. “So, if you’re having that cortical stress reaction, that causes tension, and if you talk positively to yourself, that releases serotonin.”

Like Henschen before her, Detling has taught students who have gone on to accomplished careers in sports psychology. Justin Su’a MS’11 was a pitcher on Brigham Young University’s baseball team and received an undergraduate degree in broadcast journalism. “I realized I wanted to help athletes, not report on them,” Su’a says. So he enrolled in in the U’s sports psychology program, studying under Detling. After getting his master’s degree, he established a private practice. Last December, he was hired to be a mental skills coach with Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox. “The players are responding really well,” he says. “It comes down to language. There might be some bosses or coaches who say you messed up and to go see a mental skills coach. Now they say, ‘We want to take you to the next level.’ ”

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The U baseball and football programs also recently have warmed up to using sports psychology to help their athletes. “It’s huge in baseball right now,” says U baseball head coach Bill Kinneberg. “It really helps players get ready to play.” In baseball, he notes, it’s about helping players be ready for the next pitch, and Detling’s office is helping his players be at their ready best for that.

U tennis player Tereza Bekerova.

University of Utah tennis player Tereza Bekerova. (Photo by Stephen Speckman)

In football, it’s about getting to the next down. “We’re just now starting to explore the benefits of sports psychology,” says U Head Coach Kyle Whittingham. “We’re starting to integrate Detling slowly into what we’re doing. We’re looking for that edge. Anything that can give us a bit of an advantage, we’re going to explore.” The mental part of football is “huge,” he says, and he believes Detling might be able to help his players deal better with adversity. “A defensive back, for example, is going to get beat a certain amount of the time, and the way they react to that is crucial,” Whittingham says. “I have a lot of confidence that she can help us.”

Senior wide receiver Tyler Cooperwood says Detling is a “great listener” who has helped him with life on and off the gridiron. “She gives me tools on how to stay positive,” he says. “In football, she’s helped me with focusing for that moment. A play is usually no longer than six seconds. So for that six seconds, the focus has to be in that moment and doing the best I can in that moment.”

For baseball players Hunter Simmons and Kody Davis, distance runners Jessica Sams and Nicole Rietz, and tennis players Luisa Gerstner Da Rosa and Tereza Bekerova, Detling has introduced a multitude of mental coping tools that range from simply being with their breath to choosing a focal point—Davis uses a foul pole—on which to concentrate and regroup during a stressful moment in competition.

U gymnast Georgia Dabritz (Photo by Russ Isabella)

U gymnast Georgia Dabritz (Photo by Russ Isabella)

U women’s track coach Kyle Kepler last year watched Detling work with an injury-plagued senior on pole vault and help her toward an “amazing” season. “Her ability to catch a student athlete in the moment is unbelievable,” Kepler says.

Every athlete who works with Detling hears the acronym WIN, or “what’s important now,” and she coaches them to quietly repeat it to themselves. “It just brings you back to the moment,” Davis says. “It’s another phrase, reminding you to be where you need to be, when you need to be there. It gets you away from thinking about the past or worrying about the future.”

Dabritz, who plans to graduate next year with two bachelor’s degrees, believes the lessons she has learned from Detling will help her in pursuing a career in health promotion and education. “As I move on from competitive gymnastics, I think there are many techniques that I have learned from Nicole that I can use in job interviews and, from there, as I continue into the workforce,” she says. “One thing we as a team have worked on a lot this year is self-confidence, and that not only applies to gymnastics and competition, but will help us excel in whatever we choose to do after our gymnastics careers are over.”

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

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Balancing Act

 

The morning is a struggle for electrical engineering student Nick Elliott, who is operating on no sleep after pulling an all-nighter to study and finish homework that is now due. He rushes to head toward his two classes in differential equations and circuits, but on the way, he makes a stop at the Alfred Emery Building. There, in the “purple room” of the ASUU Student Child Care Center, he pauses for a moment with his 7-month-old daughter. “I try to set her down and get her used to sitting by herself so she doesn’t freak out when I leave,” he says. In about three hours, after his classes wrap up, Elliott picks her up from the center and tends her for the day while his wife, Alla, who is also a student at the University of Utah, attends her classes and works as an accounting clerk. He says there’s an art to balancing his schooling with responsibilities as a dad and work at Costco, where he spends three nights a week and a full shift on Saturday.

Elliott counts himself lucky to find child care on campus. “There aren’t many places that provide day care services for infants that are affordable,” he says. “When you total up how much it’s going to cost to have day care, it almost makes it insurmountable to finish school. It’s like, ‘Oh, how am I going to do this?’ ”

Graphic 1The University of Utah is trying to make the answer to that question a little easier for student parents and nontraditional students with families. Providing affordable, on-campus child care for students is a high priority as a means to help prevent them from dropping out, alleviate possible debt, and enable them to graduate sooner.

“Our goals are to help, support, and enable our students to focus on their learning, and one of the ways we do that is assuring them that they have great, safe, high-quality spaces for their kids,” says Ruth Watkins, the U’s senior vice president for academic affairs. The University also is providing quality and convenient child care for faculty members as a way to attract and keep them.

About a quarter of the U’s 31,515 students are parents, and an estimated 4,000 children of both students and faculty require some sort of child care, from full-time day care to part-time, hourly services. The University has eight child care programs with a total capacity for 480 children, meaning that only about 10 percent of the child care needs are being met on campus. Yet the U is doing much more than most colleges and universities across the country. In January, the University of Utah was ranked No. 2 in the nation by BestColleges.com as a top school for nontraditional students, and the University is expanding child care and other family-friendly services even as institutions nationwide are cutting back because of funding constraints.

From left, Hanna Kordy, Haylee Puga, and Kate Rasmussen study a plant’s growth, in the U Child and Family Development Center.

From left, Hanna Kordy, Haylee Puga, and Kate Rasmussen study a plant’s growth, in the University of Utah’s Child and Family Development Center.

The ASUU Student Child Care Center groups children by ages in five rooms painted different colors. The center opened a purple room this past January, to provide part-time hourly care for infants at the U, a first on the campus. Within the past year, the University also added lactation rooms across campus, and starting in May, all new buildings and renovations totaling more than $10 million must include designs for a lactation space. In all, the University now has 21 private rooms for nursing mothers, and three more will be located in the new S.J. Quinney College of Law building when it opens this fall.

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Afamily reading room where parents can study while their children play also opened last fall at the J. Willard Marriott Library, along with three adjacent lactation rooms. And renovation of the Child and Family Development Center, located next to the ASUU care center, is planned for next year.

Debra Daniels, right, director of the U Women’s Resource Center, with student Victoria Farrimond and her daughter Tori Anne.

Debra Daniels, right, director of the U Women’s Resource Center, with student Victoria Farrimond and her daughter Tori Anne.

Lindsey Reichlin, research and program coordinator for the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, D.C., says the U’s efforts to provide comprehensive child care options are “fantastic.” “For students with children, child care can be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, factors in a student’s ability to complete college and be successful,” she notes. “It’s the most obvious solution that schools can seek to provide in order to help student parents graduate.”

Even so, fewer colleges nationwide are providing such services. The research institute, which follows women’s policy issues in the United States, released two studies last November that found child care services on campuses across the country are declining, even as the number of student parents is increasing. According to one of the studies, 26 percent of U.S. college students, or 4.8 million undergraduates, have children, and 71 percent of those students are women.

From 1995 to 2011, the number of student parents increased by more than 1.6 million. Meanwhile, the number of four-year institutions providing child care decreased from 54 percent to 51 percent from 2002 to 2013, and federal funding for child care through CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) grants dropped from $25 million in 2001 to $14.8 million in 2013. (The University of Utah received one of the coveted grants, totaling $1.3 million, last year.) Students with children also have much higher debt after graduation, the study found.

Reichlin says the numbers are concerning. “When you’re having to balance so many competing responsibilities, child care plays an even greater role,” she says. “Child care is the crux in a lot of ways.”

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The U has made child care a priority, in part, because the unique demographics of both the University and the state of Utah dictate that focus, Watkins says. “I do think that our undergraduate student population is very different than most flagship universities, and I think that puts some special responsibility on us to think about this creatively and assertively.”

Graphic 2A higher proportion of Utahns—28 percent, compared to 22 percent of people nationwide—has taken some college coursework without finishing. “That does tell us that we do have a fair number of working-age adults who have started college but haven’t been able to complete their degrees,” Watkins says.

At the same time, more than half of students at the U are taking six years or longer to graduate, and for the past decade, nearly a third of students enrolled at the U have been over age 25. “That then leads us to question, ‘What’s different about our population and our students?’ ” Watkins says.

Two important factors are that half of undergraduates at the U marry before they complete their degrees, and about a quarter of students have one or more children before graduating. Many students also delay their education to serve religious missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and because those students are older when they return to school, they are often also starting families.

Shauna Lower directs the University of Utah’s Center for Child Care and Family Resources.

Shauna Lower directs the University of Utah’s Center for Child Care and Family Resources.

“As an institution, possibly the single most important thing we’re working on is increasing the retention and graduation rate of our students,” says Watkins. “So that leads us to look at the most important things to be doing to promote student success, and clearly one of them is to help our students with access to quality child development and child learning opportunities.”

Mary Parker, associate vice president of student affairs at the U, agrees that the picture is different in Utah than in other states, especially when it comes to women in higher education and the number who graduate. “We know we have to do a better job of helping young women understand the importance of an education and how that helps their families.”

According to the U’s Office of Budget and Institutional Analysis, 45 percent of undergraduate students enrolled at the U this year are women, compared to 55 percent who are men. Nationally, more women than men are enrolled in public universities, at a ratio of 56.4 percent to 43.6 percent.

When students begin families, their finances also can become stressed. The U surveys students who are enrolled one semester but not the next, and the number one reason they indicate for not coming back is “financial constraints.”

“Student parents take longer to graduate, and many times it’s because they go to school, work a semester, go to school, work a semester,” says Parker. Once they do leave, she notes, there’s a strong risk they won’t come back. To help students defray some of their costs, the University is utilizing the CCAMPIS funds it received from the U.S. Department of Education to subsidize child care for low income students during the next four years, through the duration of the grant. About 150 families at the U now receive such subsidies each year.

Pull Quote 7The University has an array of campus child care options. The U’s Center for Child Care and Family Resources manages the ASUU Student Child Care Center, which offers a variety of services such as drop-in evening care, free finals week care, and a “Parent Night Out” one Saturday per month for students. The center, which is open from 7:15 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 6 p.m. on Fridays, serves 160 children ages six weeks to five years. Student parents sign up each semester for the hours they need to cover for study or classes, and a sliding scale based on income is used to calculate cost.

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Shauna Lower, director of the Center for Child Care and Family Resources, says the efforts are making a difference. “There are parents with infants, in particular, who have said, ‘I am so thankful. I wouldn’t be in school right now.’ Some have dissolved into tears when they’ve heard there is a space.”

Other child care programs at the U include the BioKids center, started by faculty in the biology department in 2000. It provides full-time care to children ages six weeks to five years, and generally has about a nine-month waiting list. The Child and Family Development Center, which opened back in 1930, is the oldest program on campus. It primarily serves as a child care development lab for University students studying early childhood and human development, and enrolls children ages 18 months to five years in a three-hour morning or afternoon session.

There’s also the Early Childhood Education Center, a full-time center that mainly serves employees’ children ages two to eight years, and the Fine Arts Preschool for children ages three to six. The full-day University Kids, a private national program run by Children’s Creative Learning Center, enrolls children ages six weeks to eight years, and University Head Start provides morning and afternoon classes for three- and four-year-olds. And then there’s Club U and Youth Academy, summer programs run by U Continuing Education.

“If you’re looking at Pac-12 schools, most of them do not have child care at this level,” Lower says. “Even in the state, having eight programs that serve children in different capacities is pretty unique.” Lower knows firsthand the challenges of juggling school and child care. “I’ve experienced all of this. I’ve taken children to class before, which is an awful experience.” She says she wants to make it easier for students at the U: “I don’t think wanting to be a parent should stop you from going to school.”

Erin Beeghly, a U assistant professor of philosophy, with her daughter Esme Rivkin in the Marriott Library’s Family Reading Room.

Erin Beeghly, a University of Utah assistant professor of philosophy, with her daughter Esme Rivkin in the Marriott Library’s Family Reading Room.

Debra Daniels MSW’84, director of the Women’s Resource Center at the U, notes that by far, women shoulder the responsibility for finding and providing child care. To help, her office provides emergency grants to students each year. The grants, funded by a number of foundations, range from $10 for a needed stroller, formula, or diapers, to thousands of dollars for a child care voucher or help with tuition.

Graphic 4The goal is to keep student parents, especially mothers, in school. “We know that if they step out, the chance is slim to none that they will come back,” she says.

U student Cassie Smith has three young children who are enrolled at the ASUU child care center for a few hours here and there while she goes to class and studies. “I wouldn’t be able to go to school if I didn’t have this,” she says. Her husband just graduated from the U with a master’s degree, and while she has had to take some semesters off due to parenthood, she plans to graduate this summer in elementary education after enrolling six years ago.

Elliott, whose daughter is in the infant room at the ASUU center, says student parents face many challenges that other students don’t. “It’s intimidating, too, because sometimes you may not get the academic performance that you would like maybe because of all the other things that are going on.” But there’s no question that having a child as a student also has its pluses, he says. “It’s surprising how much motivation there comes from that. No matter how stressed you are, you always find little times of thinking, ‘Oh, I get to go see my baby.’ And that cheers you up. It’s weird how that works.”

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Virtue and Vice

When Teresa Jordan was 6 or 7 years old, friends of her family took her swimming, and she remembers watching the father play with his three kids in the water, helping them climb up onto the side of the pool and then opening his arms so they could jump to him. They were splashing and laughing and having a great time, and she felt a longing so intense, it still takes her breath away.

Her own father didn’t swim and didn’t play. He was a big, stern man, and on the ranch where they lived, he taught Jordan how to shift her weight when training a horse to rein, how to double clutch the stock truck, and how to hog-tie a calf. From as far back as she can remember, he told her she could do anything she put her mind to. But he was not an affectionate father, and in that moment at the pool, she realized how much she wanted one.

Jordan BA’02 uses this memory to introduce an essay on envy in her new book The Year of Living Virtuously (Weekends Off). Author of four other books, she had been away from writing for several years involved in what she calls “a midlife expansion”—studying visual art at the University of Utah. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, with an emphasis in painting and drawing, she was looking for a project to get her back to the written word. When she came across Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and his experiment to write about 13 different virtues as a way to work toward moral perfection, something clicked and she knew she had found the writing project she was looking for. Her book follows a similar thread, but with a twist: taking weekends off to attend to the Seven Deadly Sins.

book photoJordan wondered if Franklin’s centuries-old ideas of virtue could influence a nation today that is struggling with increasingly polarized positions around who’s right. “I wanted to write about extremes—about the angry righteousness that is dividing the country,” Jordan says. “Just look at terrorism. It’s a righteousness taken to the extreme. Anything taken to excess becomes a vice.” Unlike Franklin, she was not using the project to aspire to moral perfection, but rather, “to examine the ordinary strengths and weaknesses that shape the quality of our relationships, to see how virtue and vice play out in ordinary life,” she says. “What interests me is what we talk about over the dinner table.”

The 45 essays in the book go beyond Franklin’s 13 virtues and range from examining courage, listening, and punctuality to pondering grumpiness, procrastination, and stubbornness. She says she realized, only after completing the project, that The Year of Living Virtuously for her was all about the questions: “What was I raised to believe? What do I believe now? To what degree are the decisions I make on a daily basis congruent with my core beliefs? That was the gift of this book.”

The Year of Living Virtuously has drawn praise from national reviewers since its publication in December by Counterpoint Press. In The Wall Street Journal, author Tom Nolan called the book “an engaging and moving collection” and noted, “Teresa Jordan is a writer who aims to stick to resolutions. But like many of us, she has noted more than an occasional disparity between the ideals and values she aspired to in youth and some much less appealing habits of thought and being that have encroached upon her over the years.”

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To begin her project, Jordan made a commitment to write one essay on a different virtue or vice each week and post to her blog every Sunday night. Weaving in her own experience with the views of theologians, philosophers, ethicists, evolutionary biologists, and a range of scholars and scientists within the emerging field of consciousness studies, the project involved her skills as a writer, storyteller, researcher—things she already knew how to do and enjoyed.

In doing research for the book, she stayed for a few days at the Trappist monastery in Huntsville, Utah. “I am not Catholic,” she says. “As a child, I did not attend church of any kind, and my adult observance can best be described as Cafeterian, drawing nourishment from many spiritual traditions.” But the abbey provided seclusion for anyone seeking renewal, and during her three days there, as she told KUER’s RadioWest in a recent interview, she realized that “it is a generosity to allow silence.”

In her essay on cleanliness, she writes about her mother, who did not want to be known for her housekeeping. “She was not a slob, but neither was she overly fastidious, a poise that left her time for reading, play, and genuine connection.” Her mother was 5 feet 11 inches tall and often wore four-inch heels, and she taught Jordan to enjoy her height. “My mom wasn’t invested in being a perfect mom, or wife, or friend. She liked her own solitude, and her lack of the need to be perfect gave her space, which made her more fun to be around. She brought balance into what would have been a two-dimensional view of the world,” Jordan writes.

Growing up in the 1950s and ’60s on her great-grandfather’s ranch property in the Iron Mountain country in southeastern Wyoming, Jordan says she “was raised to be Western, which is to say, stoic.” Her parents were devotees of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, and she and her brother Blade were surrounded by brandings, roundups, and trail drives. Not surprisingly, many of the book’s essays reflect Jordan’s life on the ranch.

Writing about habit, she recounts how each day “started with the last gesture at night, the thermos of coffee my mother made and took up to her bedside table in preparation for the morning to come. When the alarm rang at 5 a.m. she woke to light a cigarette and drink a cup of coffee in the dark before she dressed quietly and headed downstairs to put the kettle on and let out the dog. When the dog came back in, he bounded upstairs to wake my father, who gave him a biscuit before rising to pull on his jeans, his boots, his snap-fastened shirt… the first motions in the daily habit of my family.” And, Jordan says, the barn was “the heart of it all, the cathedral, the place where the day truly began, a hall you entered with a sacred tone— ‘whoa’—to avoid startling the horses.”

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U alum Teresa Jordan is an artist as well as a writer.

In her 1994 memoir, Riding the White Horse Home, Jordan writes that it was perhaps her great-grandmother, Matilda Tait Lannen—Nana—who had the most influence on her as a child. On their long, magical walks together on the land around the ranch, Jordan could count on the two of them discovering fossilized crinoids, snails, clams, and Indian relics—things she didn’t easily find when Nana wasn’t with her. “It is a matter of looking, of learning to see,” writes Jordan, recalling Nana’s words to her. The idea still guides Jordan today. During Jordan’s junior year at Yale University, her mother unexpectedly died of an aneurism and Jordan “felt like the sun had fallen out of the sky.” She returned home and withdrew from school for the rest of the semester. “I couldn’t bear the thought of my father all alone on the ranch 50 miles from town, and the truth is that I was devastated, too,” she says now. She received permission from Yale to do an independent study program from the ranch, and switched from Latin American studies to American history with an emphasis on the American West. Working on her senior thesis—how Wyoming ranchers had responded to the Great Depression—Jordan would drive the pickup every day from the ranch to the archives in Cheyenne, fascinated with the information she found there.

In 1977, Jordan received a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale, graduating summa cum laude, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Her thesis, Wyoming Ranchers During the Great Depression, won the McClintock Prize for History of the American West. That same year, due to a declining economy, her father sold the ranch property that had been in their family for 90 years—four generations—leaving Jordan feeling “untethered.” (It changed hands a few more times and ultimately was bought by an oil company.)

During the 1980s, Jordan continued researching and writing. She wrote the script for the documentary Cowgirls: Portraits of American Ranch Women; conducted several oral history projects; and recorded nearly 100 interviews as background for her first book, Cowgirls: Women of the American West, published in 1992. That same year, she met Hal Cannon.

“Teresa and I met when we were both presenting at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho,” says Cannon, a musician, folklorist, and public radio producer. “I was married at the time, she was involved with someone, but we recognized each other and kept track.” Years later, when they were both free, they met again at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where Cannon was the founding director. “She gave a keynote address about women and families in the West,” says Cannon. “She convinced me. We fell in love and got married a few months later. That was nearly 25 years ago.” They live near Zion National Park in Virgin, Utah, where they raise a few Navajo- Churro sheep and keep an old pioneer pecan orchard. Among numerous collaborative ventures, Jordan and Cannon created The Open Road, a series of radio features for Public Radio International’s The Savvy Traveler, and continue to partner on many projects. For venues ranging from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering to the Conference on World Affairs, Jordan has turned many of her Open Road features into stories that she tells live on stage without notes. “Both Teresa and I have a strong inclination to live artistic lives,” says Cannon. “We like to make things happen. Our canvas is the American West: its people, landscape, animals, and music. Wherever we go, we like to bring people together around stories, songs, and imagery.”

In all, Jordan has written or edited seven books about Western rural life and the environment, and she has received numerous literary awards. She has served as writer in residence at the University of Nebraska and the U, and has taught writing throughout the West. Her artwork ranges from notebook sketches, black and white paper cuts, and ink-onpaper portraits to hand-colored monotypes of landscapes and animals, including a surprising number of chickens, one of which graces the cover of the new book. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in Utah, Colorado, and Idaho.

In The Year of Living Virtuously, the theme that emerges most consistently is “the need to create space in which that still, small voice can make itself heard,” she writes. “As I searched for stories with which to understand the various aspects of virtue and vice, I repeatedly encountered the importance of stillness in creating a meaningful life.” She says when she first conceived of the book’s title, she added (Weekends Off) as something of a joke, “to suggest a vacation from the arduous pursuit of decency. Now I realize that weekends off are a more serious concern, for without periodic time for renewal, we forget what we care about.” She notes that the project started as a way to practice writing. “It continues to engage me, long after my self-assignment of weekly reflections has expired, as a way to practice life.”

Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.

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An Examined Life

 

The student arrives late, frazzled and out of breath, and takes a seat around the table. The topic today in Jack Newell’s graduate class in educational leadership is Norman Maclean’s A River Runs Through It, a book that, on the surface, is about fly-fishing. When it’s her turn to speak about her favorite passages, the woman turns to an earmarked page, and then another, starts to speak, then stops. A minute goes by. She says nothing. Newell waits. Some of us fidget in our seats.

Finally the woman says, “We’re going through a process in our school district, a pretty major district improvement.” She’s a school administrator in the Salt Lake Valley, and she says she has just come from a meeting with a likeable employee who isn’t performing well. Newell leans slightly towards her. “How would you describe the feelings you’re experiencing?” he asks. She pauses and then realizes why a book about fly-fishing has brought her to tears—because, like the characters in the book, she finds herself face-to-face with the responsibilities and limitations of trying to help another person.

“Teaching with your mouth shut” is the way former students have described Newell’s classroom style. It always has been more about listening than lecturing, as students sort through moral quandaries and difficult ideas.

The buzz in America these days is all about STEM courses (those in science, technology, engineering, math), and Newell doesn’t underestimate the need for skilled workers. But he still holds out for an education that is broader and deeper than that. Too often now, education focuses on amassing credits, beefing up résumés, and getting through college as quickly as possible. But the ultimate goal should be this, he says: to become ethical, effective, and caring citizens, “so we can live in a society where blindly following our chosen ideologies and pursuing our self-interest isn’t good enough.”

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Newell is a professor emeritus of education at the University of Utah. When he arrived at the U in 1974, he was 35. He was hired to be dean of students but soon was appointed to a new post, dean of liberal education, charged with revamping the University’s graduation requirements.

For years, undergraduates had been required to take a somewhat random set of “general ed” courses in addition to courses in their majors. The new “liberal ed” program required a more focused selection of classes designed specifically to challenge students to become thinkers. That’s the premise behind the term “liberal education,” which of course is not how to become more like Nancy Pelosi but about teaching students, as current U Honors College Dean Sylvia Torti PhD’98 says, to “thrive in ambiguity and complexity.”

U professor emeritus Jack Newell teaches students in an Honors College course held at the Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community.

University of Utah professor emeritus Jack Newell teaches students in an Honors College course held at the Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community.

So Newell began searching the campus for professors “who had that glint in their eyes.” What he envisioned was an environment in which these passionate teachers would create captivating classes and feel they had a common purpose: “that we’re doing something really, really important, together, and it’s bigger than departmental assignments.” He invited them all over to his house once a month, because he wanted to create a community. “It felt like an oasis among the silos” of the U’s disparate departments, says David Chapman, a distinguished professor emeritus of geology and geophysics who taught in the Liberal Education Program.

In 1980, the program was named by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the 10 undergraduate programs nationwide that were worthy models for reforming liberal arts study. But the University and its levels of bureaucracy were growing, and some of the U deans wanted to channel funding and control of liberal education classes back to their own departments. After Newell left his deanship in 1990 to return to full-time teaching, the Liberal Education Program morphed into the U’s Office of Undergraduate Studies. Today, students can choose from more than 900 “gen ed” courses. Whether something has been lost depends on whom you ask.

Newell’s passion for “liberal education” began in his childhood home in rural Englewood, Ohio, where his father was a physician and his parents would talk around the dinner table with reverence about their former college professors. Still, Newell admits, as a child and teen he was more adventurous than studious. (“The Newells have very slow-maturing genes,” he says by way of explanation.) He preferred to daydream, or make a raft and float it down the river behind his house; at school, his grades were mediocre.

Pull Quote Fix 2In junior high, he became enchanted by the idea of Deep Springs College in the remote Sierra Nevadas of California, after a neighbor who was a student there came home with stories of the school’s improbable mix of scholars and cowboys. Newell, who had spent summers at his grandfather’s Colorado ranch, was already predisposed to the romance of the West. So, with his aptitude for science and a letter of recommendation from the local superintendent of schools, he applied and was accepted at Deep Springs.

Unless you’ve made it a point to investigate progressive American colleges, you might not have heard of Deep Springs. As Newell writes, it’s “the smallest, most remote, most selective, and certainly the most unusual liberal arts college in the world.” More than half the graduates have gone on to get doctorates.

Today the two-year college has, at most, 30 students. In the whole school. When Newell entered in 1956, there were 13. Located northwest of Death Valley, the college is housed on a working cattle ranch and alfalfa farm. Students milk the cows, bale the hay, and clean the toilets, as well as engage in intellectually strenuous course work. They also help choose the faculty, design the curriculum, and run the admissions process.

Physical isolation—the closest town (population 259) is 28 miles away over a high mountain pass, and even today the students have chosen not to have wi-fi access in their dorms—was crucial to the vision of the school’s founder, Lucien L. Nunn, who wanted to create a place that would foster both self-reliance and community spirit, and would produce “capable and sagacious leaders.”

L.L. Nunn was a quirky, theatrical, driven, complicated man. In Colorado, in 1891, he built the world’s first alternating current hydroelectric power plant for industrial use, taking energy from a stream downhill to his gold mine higher up the mountain, a feat that revolutionized industrial production worldwide. At Niagara Falls in New York, he built what at the time was the largest power plant in the world. In Utah, he built the Olmsted Power Plant in Provo Canyon, and in order to train enough able workers, he established an educational institute on the site. He also once owned a Ford dealership in Provo and developed the Federal Heights neighborhood in Salt Lake City. In 1917, he founded his own liberal arts college, Deep Springs, in California.

Newell has written a book about Nunn and the school—The Electric Edge of Academe: The Saga of Lucien L. Nunn and Deep Springs College—published this spring by the University of Utah Press. The book includes Newell’s firsthand account of his years as a student, young professor, and, from 1995 to 2004, the college’s president.

NewellCoverLike Deep Springs itself, Newell is both academic and practical-minded, obtaining a doctorate in educational leadership from Ohio State University but also working as a forest fire crewman and a mule packer during and after college. He encourages his students to branch out, too: “I plead with my students not to just take an internship somewhere, as good as those things are, but to use their college summers to go out and throw themselves into a different life and meet people they would otherwise not rub shoulders with.” It’s advice that often falls on deaf ears. “I can’t get their attention on this, partly because their parents are saying ‘résumé, résumé, résumé.’ ”

And you need to learn to write well, he tells his students. He requires them to keep journals about what they read and to connect those readings to their own life experiences. “Be yourself, be funny, be inspired, be irritated, be real!”

Newell has kept a journal since his first autumn as a student at Deep Springs, beginning with a passage that reads, “When I’m a parent and my kids go off to college, I want to ask them what they are reading in their classes, buy those books, and dive into them so we can talk about what is exciting to them.” His youthful exuberance diminished only slightly by the time his actual four children went off to college—he didn’t end up buying all those textbooks, but there were always spirited conversations, says his son Eric, who like his three sisters, ended up becoming an educator, too.

Jack met his wife, Linda King Newell, when both of them worked on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon one summer while she was an art education major at Utah State University and he was getting a master’s degree at Duke University. Linda is probably best known as the co-author, with Valeen Tippetts Avery, of the prize-winning but controversial 1984 biography of LDS Church founder Joseph Smith’s first wife, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith.

Newell himself has written more than 120 published articles and six books, served as editor of The Review of Higher Education, and with his wife was co-editor in the 1980s of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, an independent quarterly published by generally more liberal members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The articles about church history that the Newells published sometimes got them in hot water with LDS Church authorities, but he stands by them.

“Our tests for publishing became 1) Is the evidence unimpeachable? 2) Is the interpretation responsible? And 3) Is the issue important to a rounded understanding of the Mormon experience,” Newell wrote in a 2006 Dialogue essay that followed his spiritual journey as a Mormon convert who, as he says, eventually “moved beyond the religion over issues such as the squelching of dissent.”

Pull Quote 6Transparency and trust are keys to good leadership, he says. He notes that the best lesson he ever received about how to be a good leader came when he was 21 and working as foreman of a forest fire crew at Crater Lake in Oregon. It had been a rainy spring, and the fire danger was low, so the chief ranger assigned him to supervise the building of a boathouse—and then announced that he would not be back to check on their work until the end of the summer. Being trusted like that, Newell says, meant “we were not going to let him down.”

Katherine Chaddock PhD’94, chair of the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina, says she felt the same way about Newell when she was taking his graduate courses at the U nearly 30 years ago. “You could tell he wanted to learn from you,” she says. And that led her to this realization: “You just didn’t want to bring someone like Jack a half-assed essay.”

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Sometimes Newell asks his students to imagine the kind of newspaper story that might be written about them in the future, perhaps on the occasion of their retirement after a long career. The assignment is to write a story that captures not only what they were like but also what they stood for. Moral courage, moral authority, moral issues— these are themes that come up again and again in Newell’s classes.

So what would the news story about him say? Maybe it would note that he hardly ever wears a necktie, that he loves hiking and photography and canoeing, that some of his happiest moments are spent paddling his old red canoe on a quiet lake at dawn. But first and foremost, he says, he would like to be remembered as a teacher, someone who “has always been passionate about pushing people to think.”

Jack Newell enjoys hiking, photography, and canoeing and in his youth worked as a forest fire crewman.

Jack Newell enjoys hiking, photography, and canoeing and in his youth worked as a forest fire crewman.

For the nine years since his return to Utah from his presidency at Deep Springs, he has taught both at the U and in the Venture Course in the Humanities, a Utah Humanities Council program that provides college courses in philosophy, history, art history, and literature to low-income students. These days, he teaches two courses at the U: a graduate-level seminar on leadership in the School of Education, and a year-long undergraduate honors class whose subtitle is “Rediscovering Liberal Education.”

After a half century of teaching, this is what he still wants: to sit down with students, to throw out a question, to not shy away from what happens next. “Good teachers must ask students to examine their deepest beliefs and values,” he says. “None of us can ultimately live a full and good life, a committed life, without questioning what we believe and reaffirming as full-blown adults the commitments we wish to live by.”

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

Campus Notebook

End of an Era

Greg Marsden was the U’s head gymnastics coach for 40 seasons.

Greg Marsden was the University of Utah’s head gymnastics coach for 40 seasons. (Photo by Russ Isabella)

Greg Marsden, who led University of Utah gymnastics to unprecedented national success on the competitive floor and in the stands, has retired after 40 seasons as the U’s head coach. He made the announcement in April, the week after Utah placed second at the 2015 NCAA Championships, just five one hundredths of a point out of first place.

His wife, Megan Marsden BS’84, Utah’s six-year co-head coach and an assistant for the previous 25 years, will continue in her current role. Tom Farden, Utah’s assistant coach for the past five years and the former head coach at Southeast Missouri State, has been elevated to co-head coach.

“We’ve actually been preparing for this transition for the past few years, and I feel really secure in leaving this program, which has been my life for 40 years, in the hands of Megan and Tom,” Greg Marsden says. “There is no one reason I chose to leave now. It just felt right. I still love coming to the gym every day and working with these elite student-athletes, coaches, and staff, but I feel the other elements of the job are best suited for someone younger. I have been incredibly fortunate to spend my entire career here at Utah and to receive support unprecedented anywhere in the country from our administration and our amazing fans.”

Marsden retires as the coach with the most wins in college gymnastics history, leaving a 1,048-208-8 record. His 10 national championships tie for the most by any women’s gymnastics team. Hired in the 1975-76 season as a graduate assistant, Marsden took his very first team to the AIAW National Championship, where Utah finished 10th. He has never missed a national championship, with Utah qualifying for an unprecedented 40-straight years, including all 34 NCAA Championships (the only program to do so). The Utes have advanced into the Super Six 19 times in the 23 years under the format, including this season’s runner-up finish.

Marsden’s teams have placed in the top five in the country 29 times, in the top three 23 times, and in the top two 19 times. Utah gymnasts have won 25 individual national championships, including the 2015 NCAA uneven bar title by Georgia Dabritz, and 367 All-America awards.

A seven-time National Coach of the Year recipient, Greg (along with Megan Marsden) has been voted the Pac-12 Coach of the Year for the past two seasons. The Utes won back-to-back Pac-12 Championships in 2014 and 2015. The 2015 NCAA North Central Region Coach of the Year was also awarded to the duo.

Greg Marsden drew national attention for creating an unrivaled atmosphere at home meets, where the Utes own every gymnastics attendance record and have led all women’s sports in attendance five times, including the last three years. They broke their own NCAA single-meet (16,019) and season (14,950) attendance records in 2015. Since 2010, the Utes have averaged more than 14,000 fans a meet in the Huntsman Center, and they have averaged 11,000-plus since 1990.

“The only way to place a positive spin on Greg Marsden’s retirement is that he is leaving the program in the very capable hands of Megan [Marsden] and Tom Farden,” says U Athletics Director Chris Hill MEd’74 PhD’82. “Greg Marsden is not only a legendary coach, he has been an incredible advocate for the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, the sport of gymnastics, and most of all, his student-athletes over the past 40 years.”

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Legislature Awards Funds for Crocker Science Center

Utah_State_Capitol_dome_exteriorThe Utah State Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert showed strong support for the University of Utah this year, including providing $34 million for the U’s Gary and Ann Crocker Science Center. The new center will be an expansion of the George Thomas Building on the U’s Presidents Circle and will provide new interdisciplinary teaching laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment for undergraduate science classes. Construction began this spring.

The Legislature allotted $9.5 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the U, to allow completion of its expansion. The University also received permission to renovate Orson Spencer Hall and the William Browning Building on campus. Lawmakers provided $65 million in capital improvement funding to the Utah System of Higher Education, 25 percent of which will go the U: $16.25 million. And the Legislature earmarked $4 million in ongoing funding for graduate research programs at the University of Utah and Utah State University; the U will receive $2.6 million of that. The U also secured a 2 percent performance-based pay increase for faculty and staff members, as well as an appropriation to cover the increased cost of benefits.

More than 400 volunteers— alumni, present and former faculty and staff, students, and other friends of the U—have signed up to be political advocates for the University of Utah, and they helped by writing and calling lawmakers at key junctures to voice their support for the U. Their efforts were coordinated by the U for Higher Ed Committee through a program sponsored by the Alumni Association and the Office of Government Relations.

“This was another great legislative session for the University of Utah,” says Jason Perry JD’99, the U’s vice president for government relations. “Thanks to the hard work of President David Pershing, our legislative advocates, and our friends in the Legislature, the major priorities of the U were funded this session. We are grateful for the dedicated service of our state leaders and for their investment in higher education.”

Solar Dashboard Shows Real-Time Energy Savings

Marriott Library Dean Alberta Comer, amid the library’s solar panels.

Marriott Library Dean Alberta Comer, amid the library’s rooftop solar panels.

An electronic dashboard installed this spring in the University of Utah’s Marriott Library details the energy savings generated by the library’s solar panels, in real time and using examples of everyday use.

The project was initiated by U alum Tom Melburn BS’12 MBA’14, who in 2012 had spearheaded a plan to put “solar ivy” (small, decorative photovoltaic panels) on the south wall of Orson Spencer Hall, until the idea fell through when the manufacturer couldn’t deliver the order. Melburn then decided to pursue his digital dashboard plan and secured financing through the Associated Students of the University of Utah, Rocky Mountain Power, and the U’s Sustainability Resource Center.

Under the direction of the U’s Facilities Management and the Sustainability Resource Center, Melburn and a group of students selected the library as the site for this project because of its central location on campus, its large number of visitors, and its commitment to sustainability. The dashboard will allow greater exposure to the otherwise unseen roof-mounted solar panels and enable library patrons to learn about the benefits of solar power.

The library’s system is 37.8 kilowatts, grouped into six arrays, with an anticipated annual production of 50,500 kilowatt-hours. The panels are located on the Marriott Library roof, with four arrays on the west mechanical penthouse and two arrays on the east mechanical penthouse. The new solar system produces enough energy to power six houses for one year.

 

University of Utah Names New Dean for Humanities College

IPRH Dan WhaleyDianne Harris, director of the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities and professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been selected as the next dean of the College of Humanities at the University of Utah.

Under her leadership, the Illinois Program secured significant external funding to enable scholarship and creative partnerships in the humanities and arts at Urbana-Champaign, says Ruth Watkins, the U’s senior vice president for academic affairs. Harris holds a doctorate in architectural history from the University of California at Berkeley and is best known for her scholarly contributions to the study of the relationship between the built environment and construction of racial and class identities.

Entertainment Arts & Engineering Program Receives Top National Ranking 

EAEVideoGameThe University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering program has earned the title of the top video game school in the nation with a number one ranking for its graduate program and number two for its undergraduate program from The Princeton Review.

The EAE program was formally established in 2007 and currently has 400 undergraduates and 110 graduate students. The interdisciplinary program between the College of Engineering and the College of Fine Arts allows students from both disciplines to work closely in video game design and development. Students are highly sought after by local and international game companies.

University of Utah Welcomes 8,363 New Graduates

RQ9A4238The University of Utah’s 2015 graduating class in May was the largest in U history, with 8,363 students—approximately 400 more than last year—representing 24 Utah counties, all 50 U.S. states, and 77 countries.

The Commencement program was designed with the graduates in mind and included the use of videos, multimedia, and a collage of Instagram photos documenting the U experience of the class of 2015, as well as elements of traditional pomp and circumstance. The keynote speaker was Robert A. McDonald MBA’78, U.S. secretary of Veterans Affairs and a former president and chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble.

Honorary degrees were presented to three U alumni: Anne Cullimore Decker, Henry B. Eyring, and Mark Fuller. Decker BS’57 MFA’82 is a professional actress and has been a longtime theater instructor at the U. Eyring BS’55 is a first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former president of Ricks College. And Fuller HBS’76 is CEO of WET, which has designed more than 250 innovative fountains throughout the world.

University’s School of Music Names New Director 

MiguelChuaquiThe University of Utah’s College of Fine Arts has selected U professor and composer Miguel Chuaqui to serve as director of the School of Music.

Chuaqui has been with the University since 1996, when he began as an assistant professor in the School of Music. He became a full professor and head of the composition area and most recently served as the school’s interim director. He studied piano at the Escuela Moderna de Música and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. In 1984, he transferred to the University of California at Berkeley, where he majored in mathematics and music and completed a doctorate in composition.

His music includes orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic works.

Kirk Jowers Leaves U’s Hinckley Institute 

KirkJowersKirk Jowers, a University of Utah professor of political science who has been dubbed the “most quoted man in Utah” during his decade-long tenure as director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics, is leaving his post to pursue a career in private industry.

As the Hinckley Institute’s director, Jowers BA’92 helped found many new programs and scholarships, including an international internship program that operates in 58 countries. He also has served as director of federal relations, and chief strategist for the Office of Global Engagement.

Jason Perry JD’99, vice president for government relations at the University, will serve as interim director of the Hinckley Institute following Jowers’ departure June 30, while also maintaining his current role in government relations.

Discovery

Sound Check

Mesa_large

Mesa Arch, Arches National Park (Photos courtesy Jeff Moore)

University of Utah geologists are using sensors to measure the soundness of the Southwest’s famed red-rock arches—with sound.

Jeff Moore, a U assistant professor of geology and geophysics, and his geohazards research group have developed “ambient resonance monitoring,” a noninvasive diagnostic process to monitor the status of arches’ structural integrity. Tracking the changes could help alert the U.S. National Park Service about when or if arches might collapse.

Surprise_largeGOOD VIBRATIONS
Moore and his team have placed clusters of small sensors— seismometers, tilt-meters, and temperature probes—on the surface of some of Utah’s most spectacular arches (including the Landscape, Mesa, and Double-O arches) in Arches and Canyonlands national parks.
DAILY MOVEMENT
One broadband seismometer is placed on or near the arch, and the other is placed about 100 meters away for reference. The seismometers are placed in cases along with a data logger and GPS clock. An electrolytic tilt-meter helps measure daily movement of the arch, while data loggers measure temperature and relative humidity.
QUICK TEMPO TESTING
The sensors remain on the surface for a few hours so that the vibrations and other parameters can be recorded, and then all the instruments are removed.
EARTH, WIND, AND HUMANS
The sensors measure the arches’ natural vibration frequencies, which are influenced by the structures’ mass and stiffness. Those vibrations shift with rain and snow loads, thermal cycles, and internal structural damage. Moore and his team have found that each rock structure has its own characteristic resonance patterns.
CHANGING FREQUENCIES
The scientists repeat their measurements with the sensors to note changes in the rock structures’ frequencies over time, to help determine whether the structural integrity has changed. If an arch develops a crack, it changes the vibrational characteristics of the structure.
Landscape_largeWALL CAME TUMBLIN’ DOWN
Wall Arch, in Arches National Park, collapsed in 2008 due to stress fractures that occurred over time. Moore and his team believe Landscape Arch, in the same park, is close to falling down. The 88-meter-long arch—the longest in North America—has a fundamental resonant frequency of about 1.8 Hz. If it sustains further damage, the arch’s resonant frequency would drop, and Moore and his team could measure that.

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Smart Insulin

Syringe

For patients with type 1 (or “juvenile”) diabetes, the burden of constantly monitoring blood sugar and judging when and how much insulin to self-inject is difficult. Mistakes can have serious consequences. A miscalculation or lapse in regimen can cause hyperglycemia (when blood sugar levels rise too high)—potentially leading to heart disease, blindness, and other long-term complications. Or a mistake can result in hypoglycemia (when blood sugar levels plummet too low), which in the worst cases can result in coma or even death. A new “smart” insulin, developed by University of Utah researchers, could help mitigate these dangers.

Danny Hung-Chieh Chou, a U assistant professor of biochemistry and a USTAR investigator, led the research to create Ins-PBA-F, a long-lasting “smart” insulin that self-activates when blood sugar soars. Tests on mouse models for type 1 diabetes showed that one injection works for a minimum of 14 hours, during which time it was found to repeatedly and automatically lower blood sugar levels after mice were given amounts of sugar comparable to what they would consume at mealtime.

The U study was published in February in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences. The researchers found that Ins-PBA-F acts more quickly and is better at lowering blood sugar than the currently available long-acting insulin drug detimir, marketed as Levimir. In fact, the speed of touching down to safe blood glucose levels was identical in the diabetic mouse models treated with Ins-PBA-F and in healthy mice whose blood sugar is regulated by their own insulin.

High-Altitude Depression

GirlOnMountainUniversity of Utah researchers have found that the reduced oxygen experienced at high altitude can lead to depression.

In a new study, U scientists and a colleague from Tufts University learned that female rats exposed to high-altitude conditions exhibit increased depression-like behavior. (Male rats, interestingly, showed no signs of depression in the same conditions.) “The significance of this animal study is that it can isolate hypoxia as a distinct risk factor for depression in those living at altitude (hypobaric hypoxia) or with other chronic hypoxic conditions such as COPD, asthma, or smoking, independent of other risk factors,” says Shami S. Kanekar, U research assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author on the study, published in March in High Altitude Medicine and Biology online.

The correlation between altitude and high rates of depression and suicide is strikingly obvious in the Intermountain West region of the United States, where elevations are considerably higher than in the rest of the country and there is a corresponding higher rate of self-inflicted death. Several studies, including work by Perry F. Renshaw, USTAR professor of psychiatry at the U and senior author on this latest study, suggest altitude is an independent risk factor for suicide. According to Renshaw, a potential cause for depression at high altitude might be low levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter believed to contribute to feelings of well-being and happiness. Hypoxia impairs an enzyme involved in synthesis of serotonin, likely resulting in lower levels of serotonin that could lead to depression. In addition, Renshaw’s group has shown that brain cellular metabolism can be damaged by hypoxia.

 

Through the Years: Short alum profiles and Class Notes

Kaskade Graphic 2

By Marcia C. Dibble

KASKADE (aka Ryan Raddon BA’95) is one of the world’s most popular DJs / electronic dance music (EDM) producers. He has scored 12 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Airplay Chart, created chart-topping remixes for everyone from Lady Gaga to Beyoncé, headlined at major music festivals such as Coachella and Lollapalooza, and performed nearly 200 other headlining shows a year for a decade. He started DJ-ing as a student at the University of Utah, where he majored in mass communication, minored in Japanese, and had a radio show on the U’s student-run radio station K-UTE, often featuring his own music.

KASKADE BY THE NUMBERS

2001 Releases his first single, “What I Say,” on Om Records

 

No. 1 The Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums chart
debut of his 2011 double album Fire & Ice

 

1st DJ to perform at Los Angeles’ iconic Staples Center,
which he sold out. Billboard declared that 2012 tour
“the only successful national stadium tour undertaken by a solo EDM artist.”

 

9 Original albums (plus compilations, remixes, and standalone singles)

 

2013 Release of his album Atmosphere, his first with notably Mormon-centric lyrics. A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, he served a mission in Japan before coming to the U.

 

3 Daughters with wife Naomi BA’00, a fellow snowboarder whom he met at the U

 

2014 Forbes names Kaskade the eighth-highest-paid DJ/EDM artist in the world, with earnings of $17 million

 

4 Grammy nominations

 

2015 Establishes a multi-year exclusive residency with Wynn Las Vegas

 

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Playing with Computer Magic

Colette Mullenhoff (Photo courtesy of Colette Mullenhoff

University of Utah alum Colette Mullenhoff, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony in February. (Photo courtesy Colette Mullenhoff)

Colette Mullenhoff has been interested in computer graphics for as long as she can remember. “I have an early memory of being impressed by the stained glass knight whose image in a church window comes to life in the movie Young Sherlock Holmes,” says Mullenhoff. “But seeing the T-1000 liquid metal cyborg in Terminator 2 confirmed my goal to enter the entertainment industry.” Following her instincts has paid off in her career, and this year she received an Academy Award for her work with a team of four that developed a digital shape-sculpting system. The digital-animation software system enables artists to edit the shape of characters undergoing complex animations and transformations.

Of the 59 people who received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Scientific and Technical Awards that night in early February, Mullenhoff was the only woman, according to the Hollywood trade paper Variety. She received an extended standing ovation.

“It was very emotional and encouraging, and a little surreal,” she says. The awards honor technical achievements in filmmaking and were presented a couple of weeks before the main 87th Annual Academy Awards event.

Mullenhoff MS’98 works in northern California for Industrial Light & Magic. The special effects company, started 40 years ago by filmmaker George Lucas, has created the visual effects for films including his Star Wars trilogy as well as the Star Trek movies.

She was born in Livermore, California, home to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where her father was employed as an electrical engineer. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of California at Santa Barbara. As a computer science graduate student at the University of Utah, she worked as a research assistant with the U’s Geometric Design and Computation Research Group, helping create software for geometric modeling, high-quality graphics, curve and surface representations and algorithms, and computer-integrated manufacturing.

After graduating with her master’s degree, she worked as a software engineer for Singletrac Studio, a video-game developer in Salt Lake City, and created 3-D modeling and animation tools for use with video games. Evans & Sutherland in Salt Lake City was her next stop, where she designed, implemented, and maintained 3-D graphics tools used for generating realistic outdoor computer-generated environments for flight-training simulations.

In early 2003, she moved to northern California to work with ESC Entertainment, where she created tools for processing 3-D models used in post-production on the films The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions. Later that year, she made the move to Industrial Light & Magic, in San Francisco. She and her husband, Patrick Tullmann MS’99, a U graduate in software engineering, now live in the Bay Area.

At Industrial Light & Magic, Mullenhoff works as a research and development engineer supporting software for the company’s Digital Model Shop artists. She currently is focusing on tools to optimize the turnaround time for digital artists. Those tools are being used in the production of Tomorrowland (Disney); Avengers: Age of Ultron (Marvel-Disney); The Force Awakens (Lucasfilm/Disney); and Warcraft (Legendary/Universal). “I enjoy working with artists to provide them with the tools they need,” Mullenhoff says. “It’s extremely rewarding to help them and see the results on the big screen.”

Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.

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CLASS NOTES

’70s

MechamRobert Mecham BS’73, a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has received the Marfan Foundation’s first Distinguished Research Award. The award recognizes Mecham’s lifetime of work dedicated to understanding elastic tissue function and basic mechanisms involving connective tissue, paramount to understanding disorders such as Marfan syndrome and related diseases. Marfan syndrome is a life-threatening genetic disorder of the body’s connective tissue that affects the heart and blood vessels, the bones, and the eyes. Mecham is a national leader in the research of elastic tissue function, and his work has contributed to understanding the structure and function of fibrillin, the abnormal protein in Marfan syndrome. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Utah, Mecham obtained a doctorate in biochemistry in 1977 from Boston University School of Medicine. He began his career at Washington University that same year. His continuing research has resulted in major contributions to the understanding of how fibrillin and other elastic fiber proteins work to maintain normal tissue function and how mutations in these proteins lead to diabetes, bone disorders, and cardiovascular disease.

OlsonRandall J. Olson BA’70 MD’73, chair of University of Utah Health Care’s Department of Ophthalmology and chief executive officer of the John A. Moran Eye Center, has been awarded the Philip M. Corboy MD Memorial Award for Distinguished Service in Ophthalmology. The award is given to an ophthalmologist who “typifies a career of excellence in the service of his or her patients and peers.” Olson was recognized for his “legendary dedication and service to ophthalmology” and for the many contributions he has made to the field. He is the first and only chairman of the John A. Moran Eye Center, having started the department in 1982 with only two faculty members. It has now grown to include 57 faculty members. Olson specializes in research dealing with intraocular lens complications, teleophthalmology (delivery of eye care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology), and corneal transplantation techniques. He was selected as one of the 15 best cataract surgeons in the United States in a peer survey conducted by Ophthalmology Times, and Cataract and Refractive Surgery Today named Olson one of 50 international opinion leaders. He has appeared in the last three editions of Best Doctors in America.

’80s

HimonasConstandinos G. Himonas BA’86 was appointed to the Utah Supreme Court by Utah Governor Gary Herbert and confirmed unanimously by the Utah State Senate. He began in his new position in February. Himonas previously had been a trial judge for Utah’s Third District Court since 2004. He presided over complex civil, criminal, and domestic proceedings, as well as a felony drug court program, and served as the associate presiding judge for the Third District. He received a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in economics from the University of Utah and a juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. From 1989 to 2004, Himonas was an attorney and shareholder at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough, where he was involved in an array of civil litigation, and he served as an adjunct associate professor at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law from 2009 to 2013. As a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, he is the only member of Utah’s highest court who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

VranesDanny Vranes ex’81, who played for the University of Utah’s Runnin’ Utes men’s basketball team from 1978 to 1981 and later the U.S. Olympic Team and the National Basketball Association, was inducted into the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Hall of Honor in March. One of just seven players to have his number retired by the Utes, Vranes was named an All-American in 1981. He was a fourtime All-Western Athletic Conference honoree and a member of Utah’s All-Century Team. He led the Utes to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16s. The Utes won a Western Athletic Conference title during Vranes’s senior year and ended the season ranked 14th in the nation. Vranes also played in the 1979 Pan American Games in San Juan, where he helped the United States win the gold medal. Vranes was selected as the No. 5 overall pick in the 1981 NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics. He played seven seasons and was named to the All-Defensive Team in 1985. During his NBA career, Vranes played in 510 games and scored a total of 2,613 points. His best year as a professional came during the 1983-1984 season as a member of the SuperSonics. Vranes also played basketball for four years for teams in Greece and Italy. He now lives in Salt Lake City.

’90s

RomeroCecilia Romero BA’98 JD’02, a partner with Holland & Hart LLP in Salt Lake City, has been chosen by the Hispanic National Bar Association as one of 10 lawyers across the country to receive its 2015 “Top Lawyers Under 40” award. The honor recognizes the accomplishments of association members who have distinguished themselves in the legal profession through professional excellence, integrity, leadership, commitment to the Hispanic community, and dedication to improving the legal profession. Romero’s practice focuses on employment litigation and consulting, including cases involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, class actions, wrongful terminations, harassment, and discrimination claims. Romero in 2013 received the Utah State Bar’s Raymond S. Uno Award for the Advancement of Minorities in the Legal Profession. Prior to joining Holland & Hart in 2004, Romero practiced law with the Salt Lake law firm of Ray, Quinney & Nebeker. She also was a law clerk for Judge Ted Stewart with the U.S. District Court in Utah. Romero received a bachelor’s degree from the U in English and her juris doctorate from the University’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she also served as president of the Native American Law Students Association.

’00s

BowlandZac Bowland BS’09, a former naval aviator and military officer who is now a business owner, deep-sea diver, and climate change educator, is embarking on a journey across eight countries in hopes of developing a new technique for diving in extreme environments. He also wants to collect data on climate change. When he started researching diving at high altitudes, he found startlingly little information. He discovered the phenomenon known as glacial lake outburst flooding, which occurs when water dammed by a glacier is suddenly released. As warming trends continue, melting glaciers form increasingly more high-altitude lakes that can potentially burst and wash out entire communities 40 to 50 miles downstream. Bowland, along with Vanguard Diving & Exploration and the Steep N’ Deep Project, intends to study the causes and effects of these glacial lake outburst floods to determine neighboring regions’ risk levels. The team will spend four years in eight countries, studying four seas, three mountain ranges, two oceans, and one active volcano. Bowland also hopes his work will educate the public on science and the importance of taking action.

HuxleyIleana Huxley (also known as Ileana Kovalskaya) HBS’08 MBA’12 has joined the cable and satellite television network Showtime’s hit comedy series Shameless in a recurring role. Huxley has two degrees in business from the University of Utah. She says she decided to put her business career on hold to pursue her love of acting. She began by performing on stage, and in 2009 she was cast in a short adventure film, Kelton, shot in Farmington, Utah. She says the experience gave her a taste for the silver screen, and she began to consider pursuing a film and television career and soon moved to Los Angeles. In Shameless, Huxley plays Nika, a Russian prostitute who adds some interesting family dynamics to the award-winning show. Her other credits include the upcoming movies The Feeding Rituals of the Desmodus Sapien in the Urban City (2015) and Code of Honor (2015), as well as the short film The Wonder Drug (2014). At the U, she received an honors bachelor’s degree in finance, with a minor in international studies, and went on to get a master’s degree in business administration.


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

Culture Shift

In a packed auditorium in the University of Utah’s Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building, members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity sat among the nearly 175 students, campus administrators, and clinical professionals who had gathered to talk about sexual assault. The fraternity had organized the forum on this December afternoon with the U Center for Student Wellness and the Rape Recovery Center, a local nonprofit advocacy group, to help educate the U community about prevention of sexual assault and rape. “Why is it important? Why are we talking about it now?” Marty Liccardo BS’02, a health educator with the Center for Student Wellness and the moderator of the day’s discussion, asked the panel of experts. Undergraduate student Tara Streng, who did her honors thesis on college sexual assault policy, was the first of the panel members to respond. “Because it’s been an issue for a long time,” she said. “Prevention needs to look like more involvement, talking about it more. Education is key: what is consent, what is rape, and finding a force to end it.”

The forum was part of a nearly two-year-old partnership between Beta Theta Pi and the Rape Recovery Center to raise awareness on campus about sexual assault and how to prevent it. The fraternity’s efforts have drawn media attention that has included cameramen from the Dr. Phil television show filming the December forum and interviewing the fraternity’s then president, Mitchell Cox HBS’14 , for an episode that aired December 15.

University of Utah students and administrators gathered in the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building in December for a sexual assault prevention forum. Photo by Christopher Samuels.

University of Utah students and administrators gathered in the Spencer Fox Eccles Business Building in December for a sexual assault prevention forum. (Photo by Christopher Samuels)

The educational campaign on the University of Utah campus comes as colleges and universities across the United States are rethinking their policies on addressing and preventing sexual assault. Some 95 colleges and universities are now under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for how they have handled sexual assault cases on their campuses. (The University of Utah is not among them.) In response to the growing concerns, the department this past fall issued new rules requiring colleges to train students and employees on preventing sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic assaults, as well as stalking. The rules will take effect this July. Meanwhile, women and men on campuses nationwide have been filing Title IX lawsuits against their colleges, alleging that their reports of sexual assault were not taken seriously enough. Title IX requires that campus officials investigate reports of sexual harassment and assault, regardless of whether the police are involved. Colleges that fail to respond to complaints promptly and fairly can face sanctions, including the loss of all federal funds. This past September, President Barack Obama also launched a national campaign, “It’s On Us,” that calls for men and women to “make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be part of the solution to campus sexual assault.”

The University of Utah has scrutinized its own policies to make sure it has processes in place to responsibly handle assault cases and educate students and others about prevention. “There is no doubt that today sexual assault has to be high on the list of priorities,” U President David W. Pershing told KUER’s Radio West in October. “Our goal is to prevent these incidents to the best of our ability and particularly to take proactive action.” He noted that the issue is now a topic during freshman and transfer student orientation. The U also conducts independent investigations of sexual assaults, separate from any criminal inquiry, and students who are found guilty are dismissed from the University. “That is one of the things the federal government has been pushing, and we now have that in place and fully running,” Pershing says. The U also has been working to make faculty and staff members aware of support services that they can refer students to if they suspect a student might be having some sort of personal difficulty, including dealing with sexual assault.

Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the U have led efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault. Photo by Brian Nicholson

Members of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the U have led efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault. (Photo by Brian Nicholson)

The on-campus efforts of the partnership between the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and the Rape Recovery Center have come in tandem with the University’s efforts. The fraternity approached the center in 2013 offering to adopt the center as a philanthropic endeavor. Since then, some of the fraternity members have received 40 hours of training to work on the center’s 24-hour hotline, and the fraternity has raised about $9,200 to aid the center. In addition to the prevention forums that have been hosted on campus, Beta Theta Pi is teaming up with the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU) to host a conference in March with student leaders of various campus organizations “to educate the campus as a whole, empowering others to be advocates for sexual assault interventions,” says the fraternity’s new president, Kevin Shields, who was elected in January.

Ambra Jackson, a junior who is president of the U’s Panhellenic Association, says sorority members also have attended the sexual assault prevention forums. “There’s value in putting men and women together,” she says. “These are conversations we need to start having with both. Sexual assault isn’t one person’s problem, it’s all of our problem. Forums help to define what we can do before and after. It’s not just closet conversations anymore.”

According to the University’s most recent Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, released this past October, 15 allegations of forcible sexual offenses were reported during 2013, with 10 reported on campus and five in residential facilities. U Police Chief Dale Brophy MPA’03 says his department promptly addresses any individual’s report. “When we get a sexual assault report, it’s a high priority for us on campus,” he says. “What we try to do is put all our resources toward that right up front.”

Following investigation by the U police department, two of the alleged incidents in the latest security report are being or will be adjudicated. “Campus rape is very rare up here,” Brophy says. “But nothing can be done if something did happen and it was not reported.” In other cases, he adds, the person making the report simply wants to convey the information and does not want further action to be taken, and they may even wish to remain anonymous. Some people will have waited years, even decades, to report an incident, until they finally just want it to be known by someone. Regardless, when anyone makes a report, the police department contacts other on-campus resources for assistance, including the Center for Student Wellness, the Women’s Resource Center, and the University Counseling Center.

Marty Liccardo, a health educator with the U's Center for Student Wellness, is shown here teaching a sociology class. He also helps with required sessions for students to educate them about sexual assault prevention. Photo by Brian Nicholson

Marty Liccardo, a health educator with the U’s Center for Student Wellness, is shown here teaching a sociology class. He also helps with required sessions for students to educate them about sexual assault prevention. (Photo by Brian Nicholson)

Lori McDonald BS’95, the U’s dean of students, says any report of nonconsensual contact, up to and including rape, is called “sexual misconduct” in higher education. “At that time, there are a couple of things I would like anyone who has a report like that to know: First and foremost is concern for their well-being. It may be reporting somebody they know, and that can be very stressful,” she says. Such a report leads to U resources for helping take care of the person making the report, from providing on-campus counseling to seeing a victim advocate. “We have a commitment to the community, as well, to try and keep it as safe as possible,” she says. “But we’re not going to compel someone to have to report or participate. And those support services are going to be there regardless.” Because trauma can affect academic performance, students also are provided with options such as withdrawing from a class if a suspect also is in that class, arranging new housing, or taking a semester off.

The U’s formal process for investigating sexual assault claims, in addition to any criminal proceedings that may also be conducted, are based on guidance from the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Education. Unlike criminal investigations, such as those done by outside law enforcement, the standard for the U inquiries is “preponderance of evidence,” McDonald says. “We’re looking at, ‘Is it more likely than not that one of our policies was violated?’ If not, we’re still going to support the students during the investigation and after the investigation.” Those U policies include the student code of conduct, which prohibits sexual harassment and discrimination. “Our investigations are more analogous to civil rights investigations,” she says.

Krista Pickens, the U’s Title IX coordinator and director of the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, helps oversee those U inquiries. A former Salt Lake City police officer and sex crimes investigator, she also was once the victim of an attempted sexual assault. She was 19 years old and working as a waitress in Hawaii, walking home with her tips, when a stranger punched her, breaking bones around her eye. “Luckily, there were some local boys who heard what was going on, and he actually got the worst of it,” she says. “You’ve got all those layers that you see victims go through: ‘What did I do? Did I deserve it?’ ”

U Dean of Students Lori McDonald, left, with ASUU office advisor Janzell Tutor. Photo by Brian Nicholson

U Dean of Students Lori McDonald, left,
with ASUU office advisor Janzell Tutor. (Photo by Brian Nicholson)

Universities are developing new models for investigating claims of sexual assault, even as new obligations arise, she notes. “The increased obligations are to address stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, and whether or not they occur on campus. If they affect the employee or the student, we’ve got to address them,” she says.

The obligation extends to incidents affecting students off campus. If a student reports an off-campus sexual assault, a city police detective and the U’s Office of Equal Opportunity investigator will coordinate talking to the victim, a process that usually involves several interviews. For a Title IX case, the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence, which is more than 50 percent, while in a criminal case, the standard of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a much higher standard.

Another issue is the manner in which victims are questioned. One technique is called the forensic experiential trauma interview (FETI), which begins with understanding that the victim almost certainly cannot give a linear account of what happened. “They can’t tell you how tall the guy was. They just say, ‘I was so afraid,’ or whatever it is they felt,” Pickens says. Researchers have found that when trauma occurs, the prefrontal cortex of the brain will frequently shut down, leaving the more primitive portions of the brain to experience and record the event. So, if pressed, a victim may “fail” to remember much about what they’re being questioned about. The FETI technique entails using principles employed in critical incident stress debriefing and defusing. FETI also draws from principles and techniques developed for forensic child interviews as well as from neurobiology of memory and psychological trauma. The technique is a sort of forensic psychophysiological investigation and provides an opportunity for the victim to describe the experience of the sexual assault or other traumatic and/or fear-producing event, physically and emotionally. Pickens’ office at the University employs this technique, while the U campus police use a similar forensic interview technique developed by the Children’s Justice Center when talking with people reporting cases of sexual assault.

When it comes to education and prevention efforts, Liccardo, the counselor at the Center for Student Wellness, says the University of Utah requires that every first-year student receive an hour with the Center for Student Wellness and the Dean of Students office. “We cover sexual misconduct, bystander prevention, which is how you step in and intervene if sexual violence is happening, how you stop things that are not good,” he says. Students are told about their rights, and the center has a victim advocate who provides confidentiality to victims. All student leaders and residential advisors, as well as student club and organization leaders, get the same training.

U alum Mitchell Cox, center, appeared on the Dr. Phil show in December to talk about his fraternity's sexual assault prevention efforts. Photo courtesy of Mitchel Cox

U alum Mitchell Cox, center, appeared on the Dr. Phil show in December to talk about his fraternity’s sexual assault prevention efforts. (Photo courtesy Mitchell Cox)

Concurrently, students are educated about consent. “We talk about it as rape prevention, but really, consent is part of a normal, healthy relationship,” Liccardo says. “Sexual communication is something everybody should be doing. These are life skills.”

The larger societal problem that the U efforts are geared to address is enormous in scale. According to Utah government statistics, one in three Utah women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime, and one in eight will be raped in her lifetime. “This is not a small crime. It is a very, very large crime, and college campuses are not immune by any stretch of the imagination,” Liccardo says.

The Beta Theta Pi members hope the educational efforts by the U and the campus forums the fraternity has organized will help begin to shift that trend. “We really need to start taking action on sexual assault and stop ignoring it,” Cox told local TV station KSL in an interview at the December forum. “Hopefully students are able to walk away from the forum with some sort of action plan they can implement in their own lives to really start to prevent sexual assault from occurring, both on college campuses and in our society.”

Peg McEntee is a former longtime journalist with The Salt Lake Tribune and Associated Press who now works as a Salt Lake City-based freelance writer.


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Chapter and Verse

Let’s be honest: Many of us don’t read much poetry. We mean to, in the same way we mean to eat 10 servings of fruit and vegetables every day, which makes poetry kind of the collard greens of the literary world. And that makes Paisley Rekdal disappointed but also kind of relieved.

Rekdal teaches poetry at the University of Utah, where she is also director of the graduate Creative Writing Program. In poetry circles, she is well known and respected, the winner of prestigious prizes and fellowships (two Pushcarts, an Amy Lowell, and a Guggenheim, for starters). But prizes don’t necessarily translate into book sales or readers.

“I can tell you this,” Rekdal says, “every time I’ve done a reading and they say, ‘She’s published six books and she has a seventh on the way,’ someone will come up and say, ‘I’ve never heard of you. Really, I’ve never ever heard of you.’ ” Then she laughs and adds, “People are very happy to reinforce your obscurity.”

But there is also an upside to being on the sidelines of American consciousness, and of writing verse that a reader has to actually put some effort into.

Here’s how Rekdal summed it up in a blog entry titled “Why I Hate National Poetry Month”: “One of the things I love so much about poetry is how it walks that line between public speech and private utterance, and for me, I’ve always felt that there were certain things I couldn’t say if I knew they were being read widely.”

Yes, she admits, she has revealed all kinds of things about herself on her blog, in published essays, and in memoirs, “much to the horror of my family.” But the advantage of poetry is that “some of the darker things I might say, people won’t necessarily understand.”

“I’m not going to lie,” she says. “I think it’s a real bonus.” So here, perhaps, is Paisley Rekdal. Open. But also wary. A little afraid you might try to fit her into a box of your own design.

*****

Rekdal didn’t set out to be a poet. She thought she’d be a medieval scholar, and she received a master’s degree from the University of Toronto Centre for Medieval Studies. She liked the idea of braiding together disciplines such as history, art, theology, and music to study an obscure time. But after a while, she realized that what she really wanted to do was put everything she learned into a poem. “I was always connecting something in the medieval world to my life. And that doesn’t work very well in an academic paper.”

Five years later, she received a master of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan—because what might not work for a scholarly journal turned out to be perfect for the writing she has since become known for: a blend of research and memoir, facts and personal discovery, distance and emotional truth.

Paisley Rekdal, shown here in her office at the U, directs the University of Utah's Creative Writing Program, which is currently ranked fourth in the nation by Poets & Writers magazine.

Paisley Rekdal, shown here in her office at the U, directs the University of Utah’s Creative Writing Program, which is currently ranked fourth in the nation by Poets & Writers magazine.

Rekdal grew up in Seattle, “a girl so boringly middle class her parents hadn’t even divorced,” as she says in one of her poems. Her mother is Chinese, and her father’s family is Norwegian. As a child, “I was often confused as to who was Chinese and who was white,” she reports, although she was pretty sure TV anchorman Tom Brokaw was Chinese.

“Everyone was potentially Chinese, just as everyone was potentially white,” she explains in her braided memoir/ “fictive biography” Intimate: An American Family Photo Album. “Perhaps it was because the meaning of my own race changed according to my parents’ wishes, depending on which characteristics they wanted to emphasize. As if I was a photo beneath which the caption was being, continually, rewritten.”

Much of her writing is an attempt to sort out what identity and authenticity mean, using her own discomfort to shed light on larger questions of race, self, and change. Intimate, published in 2011, examines and reimagines the photographic quest of Edward Curtis to document Native Americans during the early decades of the 20th century. Rekdal believes that the photographer, in trying to “help” his subjects, insisted on a kind of cultural purity that no longer rang true.

Most people, she observes, inhabit that middle ground between how we understand ourselves and how others understand us. In her own life, she says, being biracial has been a way for her to literalize that divide. “Most of my life, people have tried to give me an identity. So unless I come up with a sense of my own identity and push back, I’ll be like Mae West, a bit of a cipher.”

Ah, Mae West. When Rekdal was a child she was obsessed with West, even dressing up as the bawdy performer for her elementary school talent show (a reference only the teachers got). Rekdal’s fifth volume of poetry, which will be published in 2016, includes “West: A Crown,” in which she explores her own fascination with the strong-willed, outrageous actress/playwright/sex symbol. Wonder Woman was also one of Rekdal’s favorites.

“I think both were early feminist icons, although as a child I didn’t have the language for that,” she says. “But West is a very complicated feminist symbol,” she points out—independent yet playing the same vixen role over and over, never breaking character, “never allowing that character to evolve emotionally or intellectually.”

“I’m interested in what happens when you inhabit a role and then get trapped in it,” Rekdal says. That interest also hits close to home. “Mae West presents a real terror for me as a working writer. Because I don’t want to be hitting one note and never get out of it.”

*****

So Rekdal likes to mix it up. Be a poet. But also a memoirist (her The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee was published 15 years ago, when she was just 28 years old). And a writer of nonfiction (she’s currently researching a book she prefers for now to keep under wraps). She also is a community archivist. In 2013, she launched a website called Mapping Salt Lake City, a community project based on Rebecca Solnit’s 2010 book Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas. Solnit’s book reinvents the traditional atlas, using the work of writers, artists, and photographers to explore a city through the eyes of its inhabitants.

A city isn’t Mae West, stuck in time, defined forever by one shtick. A city and its stories evolve, even if outsiders try to stuff that city into one small stereotype. Mapping Salt Lake City, a joint project between the University of Utah, Westminster College, and current and former residents, is a compilation about Salt Lake’s then and now, from known and unknown writers. A little sample of its quirky offerings: a poem about bargain shopping at a Deseret Industries store, by Utah poet Joel Long MFA’93; the tender thoughts of a returning Mormon missionary as he arrives at the airport baggage claim; a breathtaking memory of the old Chapman Branch Library by writer Ron Carlson BA’70 MA’72.

Often, says poet Jeffrey McDaniel, who teaches Rekdal’s books in his creative writing classes at Sarah Lawrence College, poets are known as free spirits, “but we stay in our genre, or even within one region in our genre, in a not-free-spirit way. Paisley crosses borders. That’s just an extension of who she is.” And, says McDaniel, “she’s one of the smartest people I know.”

Rekdal has lived in Salt Lake City for 11 years now, lured to the University of Utah’s faculty from the University of Wyoming. Living here, she says, has made her think more about the relationship between person and place, “and what it means to be part of a community that on the surface you don’t have anything in common with.”

The U’s doctoral Creative Writing Program she runs is ranked fourth in the nation by Poets & Writers magazine, based on job placements and prizes won, departmental reputation, and funding. Rekdal also teaches poetry (reading it, writing it), as well as creative nonfiction, at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Can creative writing be taught? “I believe it can, much in the way the basics of archery are,” Rekdal wrote in 2012 in the Los Angeles Review of Books. “I can instruct you on the purpose and characteristics of metaphor. I can train you to recognize (and excise) a cliché. I can educate you in traditional poetic form. … What I can’t do is teach you how to recognize in your own life what has the power and depth to translate into a poem versus what will become merely a charming anecdote to tell at a party.”

U professor Paisley Rekdal is now working on her fifth volume of poetry, scheduled for publication in 2016.

U professor Paisley Rekdal is now working on her fifth volume of poetry, scheduled for publication in 2016.

Rekdal’s own poems show “an incredible attentiveness to the world around her,” says Jennifer Chang, an assistant professor of creative writing and English at George Washington University. Chang first read Animal Eye, Rekdal’s 2012 poetry collection, when she was serving as a judge on a prize committee. “In a year with lots of strong books, her poems stood out,” says Chang. “Animal Eye at once invites you into the experience of creating language and pushes you to think about difficult subjects. It’s one of my favorite books in the past 10 years.”

Two of the poems in Animal Eye are long, 13 pages each, and showcase Rekdal’s ability, again, to braid together disparate elements. “Easter in Lisbon” is about a love affair that soured, the Rodney King beating, and the afternoon in 1991 when she unwittingly caused the escape of baby lemurs from their cage at the dismal Lisbon Zoo. “Wax” weaves together the French Revolution, her mother’s cancer, and Madame Tussaud.

Animal Eye ended up winning one prize (the UNT Rainer Maria Rilke Poetry Award) and being a finalist for two more (the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize and the Balcones Prize). If you’re a poet, you spend a lot of time sending out your collections in the hopes of winning a contest or getting a fellowship. Rekdal figures she is successful less than 5 percent of the time. But, having served as a judge herself, most recently for the National Book Award, she knows how random contests can be.

“The upside, and it’s a really big upside,” Rekdal says, “is you no longer personalize rejection.” Or, as she said in an interview posted on Poets & Writers, “I’ve learned how to brush off the rejection and continue to write within hours of a serious disappointment. Disappointment is, in fact, a great thing for a writer (if by ‘great’ we also mean getting kicked in the groin), since it forces you either to learn how to enjoy the writing process itself or give it up.”

For those of us who don’t pay attention to poetry prizes, though, (or the fact that her poems were included in the Best American Poetry collections in 2012 and 2013), certainly there can be no bigger honor than to be chosen by National Public Radio to be their “NewsPoet” of the month, invited to write a poem about the day’s news. Rekdal’s turn came in July 2012.

That meant sitting with the producers of All Things Considered as they planned the evening’s news show, then being put in a windowless room to come up with a poem. In two hours. That would be read to millions of listeners. It was a slow news day (one of her big fears), but she managed to craft a poem about a new medical app for the heart, rooftop missiles at the Olympics, and a building that was slowly sliding into a sinkhole. Writing the poem, she says, “was one of the scarier things I’ve ever done. It was a nail-biter, I won’t lie.”

*****

Rekdal is fond of making fun of herself. Here’s something she said about her name, in an interview with former Utah writer Matthew Batt PhD’06 on thenervousbreakdown.com: “I suspect my first poems took a bit longer to publish because who in his right mind would a) want to read about unicorns or b) feel comfortable advocating for anyone whose name evoked Hendrix-inspired air guitar sessions while stoned on cough syrup.”

And here’s a little impromptu standup she recounts now when asked about the phenomenon of The Poetry Reading. “There’s nothing more humbling,” she begins. “People fall asleep in front of you, people get up and leave the room while you’re speaking. People will text. People will tell you afterward how much they hate poetry but they like yours. They hate everything about what you do, but you’re the least offensive example of it. I’ve had people tell me how much older I look up close than far away. So, yeah, there’s nothing better than giving a poetry reading.” She’s pretty sure even her husband doesn’t read her poems. (Sean Myles is a computer programmer for Allstate who lives in the other side of the duplex they own. “I strongly recommend doing it this way,” she says of their living arrangements. “It’s the only way to stay married.”)

American entertainments train people to read and think narratively, expecting a beginning, middle, and end, she says. But a poem thinks in a different kind of way, in a lyric way that may move erratically through space and time, “and it sounds foreign to us,” she says.

She’s pretty sure poetry will survive anyway, if for no other reason than people need something to read at weddings and funerals, when poetry can help us navigate moments of intense emotion. As for herself, writing poetry “allows a kind of wildness that prose doesn’t,” she says. “To be honest, it feels like, if the soul could think, it would think in poetry.”

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

HAPPINESS

By Paisley Rekdal

I have been taught never to brag but now
I cannot help it: I keep
a beautiful garden, all abundance,
indiscriminate, pulling itself
from the stubborn earth: does it offend you
to watch me working in it,
touching my hands to the greening tips or
tearing the yellow stalks back, so wild
the living and the dead both
snap off in my hands?
The neighbor with his stuttering
fingers, the neighbor with his broken
love: each comes up my drive
to receive his pitying,
accustomed consolations, watches me
work in silence awhile, rises in anger,
walks back. Does it offend them to watch me
not mourning with them but working
fitfully, fruitlessly, working
the way the bees work, which is to say
by instinct alone, which looks like pleasure?
I can stand for hours among the sweet
narcissus, silent as a point of bone.
I can wait longer than sadness. I can wait longer
than your grief. It is such a small thing
to be proud of, a garden. Today
there were scrub jays, quail,
a woodpecker knocking at the white-
and- black shapes of trees, and someone’s lost rabbit
scratching under the barberry: is it
indiscriminate? Should it shrink back, wither,
and expurgate? Should I, too, not be loved?
It is only a little time, a little space.
Why not watch the grasses take up their colors in a rush
like a stream of kerosene being lit?
If I could not have made this garden beautiful
I wouldn’t understand your suffering,
nor care for each the same, inflamed way.
I would have to stay only like the bees,
beyond consciousness, beyond
self-reproach, fingers dug down hard
into stone, and growing nothing.
There is no end to ego,
with its museum of disappointments.
I want to take my neighbors into the garden
and show them: Here is consolation.
Here is your pity. Look how much seed it drops
around the sparrows as they fight.
It lives alongside their misery.
It glows each evening with a violent light.

“Happiness,” from Animal Eye by Paisley Rekdal. Copyright 2012. Reprinted by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.

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Match Points

Inside the University of Utah’s George S. Eccles Tennis Center on a snowy day in April 2004, senior Roeland Brateanu faced off for his final home tennis match against Air Force’s Shannon Buck, one of the best players in the country. Brateanu had butterflies, but his coach, F.D. Robbins, as usual was calm. Robbins had helped Brateanu put together a strategy for the match, yet even with all that careful planning, the U player was still a bit nervous. Five of the six singles matches, including Brateanu’s, went three sets that day. Playing at No. 1, Brateanu and Buck were tied 6-6 in the final set. Each player had close line calls as they traded point for point, until Brateanu finally handed Buck one of the few losses (4-6, 6-3, 7-6) of Buck’s collegiate career.

Brateanu BS’04 calls it one of his finest matches ever—and one of the keys to winning that day, he recalls now, was Coach Robbins BS’73, who during his 28 years as the U’s head coach led the men’s tennis program to a 364-345 record. “He was always so calm and collected,” Brateanu says. “That helped me out as a player tremendously. Even when the match came down to a tiebreaker, to be that calm and that focused on what needed to be done and sticking to strategy—that was Coach Robbins. He was not a rah-rah kind of guy. He kept things simple, and that’s what really helped me through the match.”

Roeland Brateanu, left, the University of Utah’s head coach for men’s tennis, talks with assistant coach Daniel Pollock and members of the team during a practice session in the U’s Eccles Tennis Center.

Roeland Brateanu, left, the University of Utah’s head coach for men’s tennis, talks with assistant coach Daniel Pollock and members of the team during a practice session in the U’s Eccles Tennis Center. (Photo by August Miller)

Robbins announced his retirement last May, and Brateanu (pronounced brat-ee-AH-new), who had been an assistant coach under Robbins for seven years, took over as head coach of a program with a long, rich history as well as a new and different landscape of competition with the University’s entry into the Pac-12 in 2011. John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, and Arthur Ashe were all products of the Pac-12, which has produced 55 of 70 NCAA team championships. Today, the U team is well situated to face that competition. The indoor eight-court, 1,500-seat Eccles Tennis Center is considered a premier collegiate facility in the country and recently added a players’ lounge for the men’s and women’s teams. “It allows us to train year-round, and that’s key,” Brateanu says. Entry into the Pac-12 also ushered in a new $2 million outdoor tennis complex with six courts and elevated seating for up to 500 spectators, and it is expected to open this year, giving players top-notch facilities for indoor and outdoor play.

What’s more, Brateanu says, entry into the Pac-12 has brought the University access to athletes who might not have otherwise looked at the U men’s tennis program: players who expect the kind of training and experience that will give them the most opportunities to develop into professionals.

WallaceStegner

Wallace Stegner, right, who became a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist after graduating from the U, played on the U’s tennis team from 1928 to 1930 and is shown here with Ross Sutton, left, and Harry Gus. (Photo courtesy Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

The current men’s tennis program had its beginnings back in 1910, when the University of Utah Tennis Club was first organized. One of the early notable Utah players was Wallace Stegner BA’30, who would go on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. In black and white photos from 1929 and 1930, he is pictured wearing the team uniform of white pants and a neatly pressed white shirt. David L. Freed BA’31 captained the U team in 1930-31. He went on to captain the U.S. Davis Cup Team in 1960 and 1961 and later was nationally ranked as a seniors’ circuit player, competing until he was 82 years old. Fans of Utah’s Lagoon amusement park might recall that Freed was its chairman for nearly half a century.

During the last century, Utah players have won an NCAA singles championship and 24 team conference championships, including four when Robbins was the team’s coach, and have gone on to set records at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon.

Since the 1960s, the U men’s tennis program has turned out a small crowd of All-Americans that includes Robbins, who as a U student and team member earned the honor twice, in 1969 and 1970. Utah’s program has seen 43 players earn 70 All-American honors in singles and doubles play since 1981. Jim Osborne BS’69 became Utah’s first All-American in 1965 and repeated in 1966. After his college career, Osborne succeeded on the pro tour as a doubles player, winning five Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) titles, and he was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup team.

Harry James was the head coach of the U men’s tennis team from 1961 to 1986. He is shown here with members of the 1965 team, including Jim Osborne, top left, who was an All-American in 1965 and 1966. Photo courtesy Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah

Harry James was the head coach of the U men’s tennis team from 1961 to 1986. He is shown here with
members of the 1965 team, including Jim Osborne, top left, who was an All-American in 1965 and 1966. (Photo courtesy Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

He and two others from the University of Utah—Greg Holmes BS’95 and Harry James BS’55—have been enshrined in the U.S. Tennis Association (ITA – Intermountain Section) Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame in Athens, Georgia. Holmes was the NCAA Singles Champion in 1983, when he was the last player to win the title using a wooden racquet. He went on to a successful professional career that included competing in the U.S. Open, and he reached as high as No. 22 in the world, with wins over Jimmy Connors and Andre Agassi. At Wimbledon in 1989, Holmes set the record for the longest match played there, at five hours and 28 minutes. The record held until the John Isner-Nicolas Mahut match in 2010 stretched over 11 hours, five minutes of play during the course of three days.

A graduate of Salt Lake City’s East High School, James had achieved ranked-player status as a promising junior tennis player when he was stricken with polio while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Thereafter confined to a wheelchair, he went on to obtain a journalism degree at the University of Utah, became the U’s sports information director, and eventually had a stellar career as the head coach of the U men’s tennis team from 1961 to 1986. Under his leadership, the Utes won 10 conference championships and included 11 All-Americans.

James took Robbins under his wing as assistant coach for part of that tenure, and Robbins succeeded James as head coach. Robbins now recalls that James was like a “second dad” to him. After his successful college run as a two-time All-American, Robbins had gone on to a pro career and was once ranked 20th in the nation in singles play, beating well-known names including Dick Stockton and Tom Gorman. In 1970, Robbins earned the unique distinction of playing the longest U.S. Open singles game ever (more than 100 games) to beat Dick Dell. And as the U’s head coach, Robbins twice received the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year award, in 1989 and 1990.

F.D. Robbins, shown here in the U's Eccles Tennis Center, was the U's head coach for men's tennis for 28 years until he retired in 2014. He twice received the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Award. Photo by August MIller

F.D. Robbins, shown here in the U’s Eccles Tennis Center, was the U’s head coach for men’s tennis for 28 years until he retired in 2014. He twice received the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year Award. (Photo by August Miller)

After the U’s 2011 entry into the Pac-12, Robbins led the Utes to three winning seasons, including coaching current player Slim Hamza of Tunisia to a Pac-12 All-Conference singles award in 2012. (Hamza injured his knee this past fall and took a break from tennis, but he was at “100 percent” by the team’s first practice in early January this year.) “I love to coach,” Robbins says. “The fun part is trying to teach young adults and turn them into men. Athletics is a great training ground for life after athletics. You have to be competitive, to have integrity, and to make good decisions.”

These days, Robbins is still on the court as a teaching pro at the U’s Eccles Tennis Center. As a coach and as a teacher, he relishes helping players practice. “I just love to get out and try to make the guys better,” he says. “The match is the carrot at the end of the stick.” Even so, among his fondest memories is the Utes’ victory over Brigham Young University in 2008 during a three-day stretch on their turf to clinch Utah’s 24th conference title. “How much better does it get than to win the conference championship and beat BYU down in Provo?” he says.

As Robbins mentored Brateanu, that BYU victory would be one of many reminders of a kind of wisdom that comes with time. The 2008 win came during Brateanu’s first year as an assistant under Robbins. Brateanu says that Robbins had so much experience as a player and coach that nothing seemed to rattle him, and his even keel rubbed off on his players. “He’s taught me things on and off the court,” Brateanu says. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him. I owe him a lot.”

Brateanu’s path to the head coach job at Utah started in Amsterdam, where he grew up. After soccer, he notes, tennis is the most popular sport in the Netherlands. He started out at about age 3 with a Mickey Mouse racquet, constantly swinging it around the house. His father coached for a tennis club, and the son played several sports before picking his favorite. “Tennis was a sport that stuck out,” he says. “I really love team sports, and for that reason, I love the college tennis environment. It’s challenging. It’s very technical and tactical. I think it has a little bit of everything.”

Brateanu played for two years at University of Arizona near the bottom of the lineup before finding a “great fit” with an offensive-minded coach in Robbins and transferring to Utah. “It was the best move of my life,” Brateanu says. He won multiple awards as a player at Utah, and after graduation, went to work leading strength and conditioning clinics for high school athletes. In 2006, he moved to Guatemala to privately coach two junior tennis players to No. 1 positions in their age groups. He also was on the coaching staff for the Guatemala Fed Cup team while advising the Guatemalan Tennis Federation and Guatemalan Olympic Committee. He moved back to Utah in 2008 to be assistant coach under Robbins.

The current crop of Utah players has seen the head coaching position change from experience that predates their births to a leader who not that long ago was in their shoes. “He’s young,” says Cedric Willems, a Dutch national who transferred to Utah from Clemson University and started at the U under Robbins. “And he understands the game very well.” Willems was recruited by other schools, but Brateanu gave him a “good feeling” about the way the then assistant coach approached tennis and wanted to help players reach their goals, which for some like Willems is to continue competitively after college.

From left, Dan Bleckinger, a U All-American in 1969 and 1970; F.D. Robbins, also an All-American in 1969 and 1970; Jim Osborne, All-American in 1965 and 1966; and Dave Harmon, at the net in the early 1970s. Photo courtesy Special Collections, U J. Willard Marriott Library

From left, Dan Bleckinger, a U All-American in 1969 and 1970; F.D. Robbins, also an All-American in 1969 and 1970; Jim Osborne, All-American in 1965 and 1966; and Dave Harmon, at the net in the early 1970s. (Photo courtesy Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Willems says he likes how the coaching staff tries to emulate the current successful practice and training techniques of top pro players. Those techniques involve a more “scientific” approach to strength and conditioning, focusing on muscle groups and areas such as the shoulders, ankles, and knees that are challenged in tennis. Willems says the team has all the resources it needs to be “great,” including access to the 17,000-squarefoot Alex Smith Strength and Conditioning Center, which opened in 2009 at a cost of $1.5 million, as well as the Eccles Tennis Center and the new outdoor tennis complex opening this year. Brateanu notes that the outdoor facility will provide the team with the options of both indoor and outdoor play, “an advantage we have over other schools in the Pac-12.” Only Washington and Oregon have both indoor and outdoor courts. Robbins says that no longer having to play outdoor matches off campus is key to moving forward. “I think the outdoor courts will make a big impact as far as the ability to recruit,” he says. “It has already made a difference in the guys signed for next year.”

Brateanu says Utah will continue recruiting within state first and then will expand its reach nationally and internationally as the U and other teams in the Pac-12 compete for the best of the best. “Players have gotten fitter, stronger, and faster,” he says. Being in the Pac-12 and landing successful recruits also means focusing more than ever on the latest research and techniques in athletic training, injury prevention, peak nutrition, and sports psychology, along with constant monitoring of players’ academic progress.

One of Brateanu’s goals as a new head coach is to draw bigger audiences to matches at the University of Utah. “The number one thing is winning,” he says. “When you’re playing better teams and you have good players, you will draw bigger crowds.” Beyond that, it takes getting the team and the brand out into the community more, serving others, and spreading the word about men’s tennis at Utah, he says. “The future is bright. That’s what we keep telling our recruits.” Robbins, his mentor and the U’s longtime coach, helped lay the foundation for just such a future, Brateanu says. “I can only hope that I am going to be here as long as he was and be as successful.”

Stephen Speckman is a Salt Lake City-based writer and photographer and a frequent contributor to Continuum.

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Campus Notebook

Landmark Student Life Center Opens at the University of Utah

The George S. Eccles Student Life Center is located on the east side of the University of Utah campus, near the Legacy Bridge and Fort Douglas TRAX stop. (Photo by Dave Titensor)

The George S. Eccles Student Life Center is located on the east side of the University of Utah campus, near the Legacy Bridge and Fort Douglas TRAX stop. (Photo by Dave Titensor)

The long-awaited George S. Eccles Student Life Center opened its doors in January. The 183,000-square-foot, $50.5 million building houses two gymnasiums, a four-story climbing wall, indoor and outdoor pools, large areas for cardio and weight training, and more.
“We have been preparing for this facility for many years, and I am thrilled that students will have such an extraordinary place to engage in their college experience, build friendships, and develop skills they will use for the rest of their lives,” says Barbara Snyder, the U’s vice president for student affairs.

This four-story climbing wall is one of the highlights in the 183,000-square-foot building. Photo by Jeff Bagley

This four-story climbing wall is one of the highlights in the 183,000-square-foot building. (Photo by Jeff Bagley)

In addition to athletic and recreational features, the building houses a café, a University Credit Union branch, and social space, as well as offices of the Center for Student Wellness, Outdoor Adventures Program, and Campus Recreation Services. The facility is now the campus hub for fitness training, intramural sports, and outdoor recreation. The center also serves as the premier location for students, faculty, and staff to gather and develop lifelong healthy habits.

A dedication for the new center was held February 26, featuring Snyder and U President David W. Pershing, as well as Justin Spangler, president of the Associated Students of the University of Utah, and Neela Pack HBS’13, a former ASUU president who helped spur the project. Spencer F. Eccles, chairman and chief executive officer of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, also spoke at the dedication.

The landmark facility was made possible through financial support from a number of sources, including the generous lead naming gift from the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, along with major gifts from Kem BA’67 JD’70 and Carolyn Gardner BS’69 and the University Credit Union. Two-thirds of the building is funded by a new $60-per-semester student fee.

The center features a 50-meter indoor pool, indoor and outdoor leisure pools, and an indoor hot tub and spa. (Photo by Jeff Bagley)

The center features a 50-meter indoor pool, indoor and outdoor leisure pools, and an indoor hot tub and spa. (Photo by Jeff Bagley)

To give students the best access to the facility as possible, it will serve only University students, as well as faculty and staff members who purchase a membership for $275 per year. All for-credit physical education classes continue to be held in the HPER building, fields, and various off-campus locations, and standalone fitness classes are also available in those locations for both Alumni Association members and University faculty and staff.

Located just west of the George S. Eccles 2002 Legacy Bridge and adjacent to the Fort Douglas TRAX stop, the Student Life Center helps connect student life with academic life and create a more engaged campus community.

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University of Utah Rated Tops for Nontraditional Students NontraditionalStudents_2
The University of Utah has been ranked No. 2 by BestColleges.com in its most recent list of the top 50 colleges nationwide for students ages 25 and older. In its detailed review of the school, BestColleges.com noted the U’s flexible hybrid as well as solely online course offerings that cater to a diverse demographic. The U was ranked second in the nation, after the University of Texas at Dallas. Last year, 32 percent of the undergraduates at the University of Utah were ages 25 or older, and that number has been steady for more than 10 years. Nationally, adult students accounted for 38 percent of all undergrads in the country in 2011, a 41 percent increase from 2000. Common reasons that students have postponed college include military service, marriage and family responsibilities, and financial needs.
Continuum Wins Western Regional Award Continuum_Winter13_FC
Continuum, the magazine of the University of Utah, was honored in January with a regional award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Kim M. Horiuchi, an associate editor for the magazine, received a bronze award for best periodical staff writing. Horiuchi was recognized for several articles published in 2013 and 2014, including Continuum’s winter 2013 cover story on the U’s global endeavors, as well as the fall 2014 cover story on how the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex is fostering innovations in teaching kids in all subjects. The award was presented by CASE’s District VII, which represents higher education professionals and institutions in Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, and Utah.
University of Utah Football Coach Signs New Four-Year Contract Whittingham
Kyle Whittingham, the University of Utah’s head football coach, signed a new four-year contract with the U this past January. Whittingham will receive $2.6 million in 2015, with an automatic $100,000 increase each year through 2018. “We are excited to come to terms on a contract extension for Coach Whitt, and under his leadership, we’re looking forward to a successful football season next fall and in the years to come,” says U Athletics Director Chris Hill MEd’74 PhD’82. Whittingham in February also hired new offensive and defensive coordinators and a new defensive assistant, and made four staff promotions. Dennis Erickson was promoted to assistant head coach, and Aaron Roderick and Jim Harding were named co-offensive coordinators. Former NFL coach John Pease BS’70 returned to the Utah staff as the defensive coordinator, and Justin Ena was hired to coach the linebackers. Morgan Scalley BA’04 MBA’07 will serve as the special teams’ coordinator in addition to coaching the safeties.
University of Utah Student Video Game Wins Top International Award
Cyber-Heist-2Student video game developers from the University of Utah’s Entertainment Arts & Engineering (EAE) video game program have won Best Student Game in the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge in Orlando, Florida. The award was announced in December for their two-player action game Cyber Heist. The PC game is an adventure where two players who portray college students try to infiltrate the Department of Education in the year 2114 to erase their student debt from the agency’s computers. It took a team of 13 EAE graduate students a year and a half to create Cyber Heist, says the game’s lead designer, Jake Muehle BS’12 MS’14, who graduated last May with a master’s degree in Entertainment Arts & Engineering. Cyber Heist was one of 18 finalists worldwide competing for awards in the contest. In addition to winning Best Student Game, the team of U students also received $30,000. Download the Cyber Heist game here. Read a previous Continuum feature on the EAE program here.

Association News

Six Honored With 2015 Founders Day Awards

Four outstanding graduates of the University of Utah and two honorary alumni were recognized with 2015 Founders Day Awards in February.

The recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Awards were Gregory J. Goff BS’78 MBA’81, a leader in the energy sector; Brent C. James BS’74 BS’76 MD’78 MSt’84, an expert in health care delivery; Gretchen W. McClain BS’84, an accomplished aerospace engineer; and Clayton J. Parr BS’60 MS’65 JD’68, a widely respected natural resources lawyer. John and Melody Taft were presented with the 2015 Honorary Alumni Award. The Founders Day awards are the highest honor the University of Utah Alumni Association gives to U graduates and friends, in recognition of their outstanding professional achievements and/ or public service, as well as their support of the University.

Goff

Gregory J. Goff

After receiving his MBA, Goff was hired by Conoco Phillips, where he held senior leadership positions including senior vice president of the commercial division; managing director and chief executive officer for Conoco JET Nordic (based in Stockholm, Sweden); and president of the international downstream division (based in London). In 2010, he joined Tesoro as president and chief executive officer.

Since he became CEO, the company’s stock and growth have soared, and in 2012, chiefist.com ranked him the No. 1 mid-cap CEO based on the previous two years’ metrics. In addition to donating his time as a member of the national advisory board for the U’s David Eccles School of Business, Goff has also generously donated to the school for decades.

Brent C. James

Brent C. James

James is recognized as being among the most influential leaders in health care nationally and has often testified before congressional committees. He serves as chief quality officer at Intermountain Healthcare, and he also teaches at Harvard University, Tulane University, the University of Sydney, and the University of Utah.

Trained and established as a surgeon in Boston, James returned to Utah from Harvard and joined Intermountain in 1987. As the leader of Intermountain’s Institute for Health Care Delivery Research, which offers advanced training program courses for health care executives, James has instructed thousands of health care leaders from throughout the world.

Gretchen W. McClain

Gretchen W. McClain

McClain started her career in the defense and aerospace industry with Hercules, Atlantic Research, and Grumman Corporation before joining NASA in 1990. During her nine years with NASA, she was a senior leader in guiding space shuttle initiatives and played a pivotal role in the successful development and launch of the International Space Station Program as chief director of the space station and deputy director for space flight, managing the space station’s $2 billion annual budget.

In 1999, she moved to AlliedSignal (which became Honeywell), where she served in successive vice presidential posts. In 2005, she was recruited by ITT and steadily moved up in leadership of its water business. From 2011 to 2014, she was CEO of Xylem, which was spun off from ITT.

Clayton J. Parr

Clayton J. Parr

Parr has been a leader in natural resources law for more than 40 years. He has represented some of the world’s largest mining and oil and gas companies, and from the inception of Chambers USA-America’s Leading Business Lawyers, he has been named one of the top Energy & Natural Resources lawyers in Utah. He has also been continually listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

Parr has served as president of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation and the Utah Association of Petroleum and Mining Landmen, and he has chaired committees for the American Bar Association and the Utah State Bar. He also has taught mining law at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Melody and John Taft

Melody and John Taft

The Tafts led the donation of 16 acres of land and a renovated ghost town in Montana’s Centennial Valley to the University of Utah in 2012 for a new Taft- Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center, along with their friends Bill and Sandi Nicholson. The programs and workshops at the new U center provide an innovative educational experience that introduces students and visitors to the history and conservation value of the area.

Melody and John, a retired California developer, are lifelong naturalists and philanthropists who now lead the Montana-based International Center for Earth Concerns.


Founders Day Scholar Plans Career in Epidemiology

EmilyDartEmily Dart, a University of Utah senior pursuing an honors degree in biology, has been selected to receive the 2015 Founders Day Scholarship. The University of Utah Alumni Association awards the $8,000 Founders Day Scholarship annually to a student who has overcome difficult life circumstances or challenges and who has given service to the University and the community.

Dart grew up in the Phoenix, Arizona, area and came to the University of Utah as a freshman in 2011. Halfway through the spring semester of her freshman year, a hemorrhage from a malformed blood vessel in her frontal lobe made brain surgery an uncomfortable reality. She underwent the surgery in May 2012 and then began the arduous process of recovery. “It takes a lot of patience,” she says, “but if you work hard, you can get there.” She now is back attending classes full time and, after receiving her undergraduate degree in biology, plans to go on to pursue a master’s degree in public health and work in epidemiology and pathology.

In addition to her studies, Dart holds two part-time jobs on campus to help pay for her education. She works as an equipment lab aide for the U Department of Film and Media Arts, and she also is an assistant in the laboratory of U biology professor William Brazelton. In Brazelton’s lab, she has been involved in a project that requires working with DNA sequence databases and organizing the datasets. This past summer, she participated in a weeklong field expedition to Newfoundland with Brazelton and his colleagues. She is currently working on processing environmental samples from the trip for DNA sequencing.


U Emeritus Alumni Board Project Wins Award

shutterstock_11845771A mentoring and scholarship program developed by the University of Utah Emeritus Alumni Board has received a silver award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s District VII, representing the Western region. The Emeritus Bryant Scholarship Project was honored in the category of programming for special constituencies.

The program helps make a college education possible for Bryant Middle School students who are selected to participate, with the incentive of a $5,000 scholarship to the University of Utah or Salt Lake Community College when they graduate from high school. Many of the students and their families have fled hardship and political strife in their home countries, and the students will be the first in their families to attend college. They have come from nations such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Somalia, Thailand, and Tonga. To receive the scholarship, the students must meet specific criteria regarding grade point average. In 2014, the Emeritus Alumni Board presented four scholarships of $5,000 each to the program’s first graduating class.

In order to provide ongoing support for the students until high school graduation, Emeritus Alumni Board mentors work with them as tutors, with help from U students in the LEAP (first-year learning community) program.

To contribute to helping support the project, click here.

Learn more about the Bryant project in a previous Continuum feature here.


University Food Drive Nets $62,538 for Utah Food Bank

Lacey Despain, U Student Alumni Board president

Lacey Despain, U Student Alumni Board president

The final results are in, and the University of Utah Alumni Association’s United Against Hunger Food Drive in November collected $62,538 as well as 312,003 pounds of food for the Utah Food Bank.

The effort was the 21st annual food drive organized by the Alumni Association, and dozens of volunteers helped gather donations this year. As part of the monthlong efforts, some of the volunteers braved bad weather to collect donations outside Rice-Eccles Stadium before the Utah vs. Oregon football game on November 8 and in the tailgate lots before the Utah vs. Arizona game on November 22. Members of the Student Alumni Board and The MUSS Board also collected food and money at local grocery stores for five nights before Thanksgiving.

“The Alumni Association, Student Alumni, MUSS, and Emeritus Alumni boards all embraced this year’s food drive theme by uniting in their support and efforts to make this event successful,” says Jennifer Foote BS’86, the U Alumni Association board member who led the food drive effort. “It was rewarding to achieve such great results and to help so many of Utah’s hungry.”

Two U Alumni Association sponsors, University Credit Union and Liberty Mutual, promoted the event. The credit union allowed volunteers to place food barrels in branches and encouraged members to donate online, while Liberty Mutual donated $10 for every online insurance quote requested during the food drive.

“The Utah Food Bank is incredibly grateful for the support of the University of Utah Alumni Association,” says Ginette Bott, the food bank’s chief marketing officer. “To see students working so hard to help people in their own community is always inspiring. We consider each and every person and organization who donates their food, time, or money to this important effort to be a true partner in fighting hunger statewide.”

Through the Years: Short alum profiles and Class Notes

Powder Hound

Caroline Gleich. Photo by Alexa Miller

Caroline Gleich (Photo by Alexa Miller)

When Caroline Gleich schusses down backcountry mountains at Snowbird, Utah, or Hokkaido, Japan, or Chamonix, France— blonde braids flying, wearing one of her signature handmade crocheted hats— watch out! The young woman known as a badass ski mountaineer is on the loose. Star of Warren Miller ski films, sponsored athlete, and product tester for outdoor brands such as Patagonia and Clif Bar, Gleich skis with fearlessness and joy off sheer precipices and down vertical shafts. (One of her favorites is Snowbird’s Pipeline Chute.)

Gleich BS’10 always knew she wanted to be a professional athlete, and when she got into ski mountaineering in 2004 at age 18, she knew she had found her groove. She told her parents of her decision, and they promptly hired Kristen Ulmer BS’97 as a mentor. A therapist known for her ski camps focusing on mindset and her versatile work with individuals, Ulmer taught Gleich how to work with companies and photographers, acted as a life coach, and worked with her on the essentials of business, including how to approach sponsors. She also taught Gleich to take professional skiing seriously and to treat it as a career.

That same year, Gleich did one of her first photo shoots—for Delta Sky magazine at Utah’s Solitude Ski Area—and she has been in high demand ever since. She has been featured on the covers of Powder and Ski magazines (three times for the latter) and profiled in those and other publications, including Skiing, Ski Journal, Fitness, Men’s Journal, and Outside. She also has appeared in ads for Utah’s Snowbird, Alta, Solitude, Brighton, and Deer Valley ski resorts, and for Leki outdoor accessories. This year, Gleich is sponsored by Big Agnes, Clif Bar, Elemental Herbs, Goal Zero, Jaybird, Leki, Nordica skis, Patagonia, and Zeal Optics, among other companies.

Gleich was featured on this 2010 SKI magazine cover.

Gleich was featured on this 2010 SKI magazine cover. (Photo courtesy Caroline Gleich)

Gleich was born in Rochester, Minnesota, and her mother started her on the slopes when she was just 18 months old. Her family traveled to Utah in winters to ski and in summers to camp and hike. When Caroline was 15, they moved to Salt Lake City and have called it home ever since. That same year, her half-brother Martin died in an avalanche while climbing Storm Mountain in Utah’s Big Cottonwood Canyon. Heartbroken and newly cautious, Gleich refocused her training on safety and making conservative choices for herself. She worked with partners who believed in her, and most of all, learned to believe in herself. “Every day that I go into the backcountry, I feel like I have to overcome fear and test my courage,” says Gleich. “I analyze group dynamics and decisions much more critically than many of my partners because I’m acutely aware of the consequences of bad decision making.”

At age 24, Gleich graduated from the University of Utah magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. Her studies helped with her skiing career in ways she didn’t expect. “Anthropology taught me to be culturally sensitive—to understand the different tribes I meet, whether it’s the different types of skiers in the Wasatch backcountry or the different climbers from around the world at mountain huts. ”

Whether she’s blogging about her steep ice technique, chasing frozen waterfalls, or showing off her latest “powder beard,” Gleich’s website at www.carolinegleich.com offers a great way to keep up with her adventures.

—Ann Floor is an associate editor of Continuum.

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Web Exclusive Videos

Caroline Gleich Skiing at Brighton


Caroline Gleich on Mountain Life


Saluting a Life in Flight

Roland R. Wright, shown at right, sits on the wing of his P-51 Mustang during World War II. Photo courtesy Roland R. Wright

Roland R. Wright, shown at right, sits on the wing of his P-51 Mustang during World War II. (Photos courtesy Roland R. Wright)

Roland R. Wright BS’48 JD’58 was honored at a ceremony this past November when the Utah Air National Guard Base was renamed for him. Wright, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, was a combat pilot with a distinguished military career that spanned more than three decades.

During World War II, Wright flew 200 combat hours in a P-51 Mustang with the 357th Fighter Group and is credited with destroying three enemy aircraft in aerial combat, one “kill” short of the “ace” designation. After his active duty service, Wright was one of the first pilots to enlist in the 191st Fighter Squadron when the Utah Air National Guard was created in 1946. “He was an aviation pioneer here in Utah, providing tremendous leadership in the Utah Air National Guard for decades,” said Major General Jefferson Burton, the Utah Air National Guard’s adjutant general, in announcing the renaming of the base for Wright.
Roland R. Wright

Roland R. Wright

A command pilot in multiple aircraft, Wright logged 7,800 flying hours during his military career, approximately 4,000 of which were in various types of fighter aircraft. As an Air Guard member, he served as a fighter-aircraft flight lead, squadron operations officer, squadron commander, and group commander, including missions to Vietnam during the war there. He also served as the Utah Guard’s first chief of staff for air from 1969 to 1976. In 1972, he was appointed to the U.S. Air Force Reserves Policy Committee. Wright retired from the Utah Air National Guard in 1976. In his civilian life, Wright received a bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science and a juris doctorate, both from the University of Utah. He practiced law until 1991 in Salt Lake City, where he and his family currently reside.

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class notes

’50s

Uno_R_74742-1619Raymond S. Uno BS’55 LLB’58 MSW’63 JD’67, a retired judge and longtime Utah civic leader, was named a 2014 recipient of a Japan Imperial Decoration: the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette. The announcement was made by the consulate-general of Japan in Denver. The conferment of this decoration, awarded by the emperor of Japan to individuals worldwide, recognizes lifetime achievement and a commitment to excellence, including significant positive contributions to mutual understanding and friendship between the United States and Japan. Uno helped lead efforts toward an official public apology and redress for Japanese American citizens who had been detained in internment camps during the 1940s. His family members were among those interned. He also served in the U.S. Army from 1949 to 1952 and was stationed in Japan as part of a military counterintelligence unit. In Utah, he has been recognized with several lifetime achievement awards, including being named in 1974 as the Japanese American of the Biennium by the Japanese American Citizens League. During his professional career, Uno was a social worker, private practice attorney, deputy attorney, and assistant Utah attorney general. He served as a Salt Lake City Court judge, state circuit court judge, and 3rd District Court judge in Utah. He received four degrees from the University: a bachelor’s in political science, a bachelor’s of laws, a master’s in social work, and a juris doctorate.

’70s

TTY_spring_15_ralph_beckerRalph Becker JD’77 MS’82, mayor of Salt Lake City since 2009, has been named president of the National League of Cities for 2015. The league is the nation’s largest and most representative membership and advocacy organization for city officials. Becker served as Utah’s state planning coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson and then established Bear West, a consulting firm specializing in community planning, environmental assessment, public lands use, and public involvement. Elected to the Utah State Legislature in 1996, Becker was a member of the House of Representatives for 11 years, including five years as House Minority Leader. As mayor of Salt Lake City since 2008, he has expanded transportation options in the city, focusing on public transit, trails, and bikeways. He also has championed the state’s first municipal protections in the areas of employment and housing for the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, and he has strived to make city government more transparent. In addition to his degrees from the U—a master’s degree in geography and planning as well as a juris doctorate—Becker received a bachelor’s degree in American civilization from the University of Pennsylvania.

TTY_spring_15_schwendimanDavid Schwendiman HBA’74 JD’76, a former Utah federal prosecutor, has been nominated to be the chief prosecutor for the European Union’s effort to investigate people involved in war crimes and illicit organ trafficking in Kosovo. He will serve as lead prosecutor for the Special Investigative Task Force, which was set up in 2011 to conduct independent criminal investigations into allegations of inhumane treatment of people and illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo. His new position is based in Brussels. He previously served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Utah as a first assistant prosecutor and interim U.S. attorney, and he was twice an assistant Utah attorney general. From 2006 to 2009, he was an international prosecutor in the Special Department of War Crimes for Bosnia and Herzegovina. He retired from the U.S. Department of Justice in 2014 after having assignments as a representative to three Olympic games and stints in Bahrain, Vietnam, Thailand, and Bangladesh. He also was a justice attaché at the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan and beginning in February 2014 worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, as director of forward operations for the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Schwendiman received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah in English and his juris doctorate from the U’s College of Law, where he also has been an adjunct professor since 1994.

’90s

GaryAndersenGary Andersen BS’90, a former football player and coach at the University of Utah and head coach at Wisconsin for the past two seasons, has been named the new head football coach for Oregon State University. In two seasons through the years 46 continuum.utah.edu with the Wisconsin Badgers, Andersen compiled a 19-7 record and won two Big Ten West Division titles. He guided the Badgers to a 10-3 record this season and the Big Ten’s West Division title. Andersen’s football career began when he played offensive line at Ricks College in 1984. He then transferred to the University of Utah, where he played offensive line from 1985 to 1986. He served for 11 years as an assistant coach at the U and also had assistant coaching jobs at Southeastern Louisiana, Ricks College, Idaho State, and Northern Arizona. He was head coach at Southern Utah University in 2003 and, from 2009 to 2012, at Utah State University, where he led the Aggies to an 11-2 campaign in 2012 and won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the school’s first bowl victory since 1993. Andersen also was named the Western Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year in 2012. Andersen graduated from the University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in political science.

TTY_spring_15_Sandeen_2Cathy Sandeen PhD’92 became chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and UW-Extension in December. Prior to her new appointment, Sandeen had worked in Washington, D.C., as vice president for education attainment and innovation at the American Council on Education, the largest highereducation advocacy and research group in the nation. Sandeen came to the council after working in California as dean of continuing education at the University of California at Los Angeles Extension, as vice provost and dean of university extension and summer session at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and in several leadership positions at the University of California at San Francisco. She received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from Humboldt State University, a master’s degree in broadcast communication from San Francisco State University, a master’s degree in business administration and management from the University of California at Los Angeles, and a doctorate in communication from the University of Utah.

TTY_spring_15_scott_lauraLaura S. Scott BA’90 has been appointed by Utah Governor Gary Herbert to be a judge in the 3rd District Court, which serves Salt Lake, Tooele, and Summit counties. Scott was previously an assistant general counsel to the University of Utah’s Office of General Counsel from 1993 to 1997 and is a shareholder, member of the board of directors, and vice president of the Salt Lake City-based law firm Parsons Behle & Latimer. Her practice has focused on real estate and banking litigation, and she has briefed and argued numerous appeals before the Utah Supreme Court and Utah Court of Appeals. Her 3rd District Court appointment is subject to confirmation by the Utah State Senate. Scott holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Utah and a juris doctorate from Arizona State University.

’00s

TTY-spring_15_pendergrassDanielle Howa Pendergrass MS’04 DNP’13, a Utah State University Eastern nursing instructor, has received the Breakthrough Leaders in Nursing Award from the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a joint initiative of the AARP (formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Pendergrass is one of 10 recipients of the national leadership award recognizing her, in part, for work that led to changes in Utah’s Medicaid reimbursement policy and opened greater access to care for Utah women and girls. Pendergrass works with the Utah Action Coalition for Health in removing practice barriers that prevent nurses from working to the full extent of their education and training. Pendergrass, whose roots are in Carbon County, opened a women’s health clinic in Price two years ago. Today, Utah State University Eastern nursing students, as well as nurse practitioner students from the University of Utah, work in her clinic, which serves more than 20,000 women, from teens to seniors, both insured and uninsured, in rural Utah. The change in Medicaid policy that Pendergrass engineered makes it possible for her and other rural-serving nurse practitioners to see patients who otherwise would have to travel great distances for services such as pap smears and mammograms.


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