Four to be Honored as Distinguished Citizens at DSC's 101st Commencement Ceremony Friday
|Monday, April 30th, 2012
Dixie State College of Utah will honor four Utah residents during the College's 101st Commencement Exercises this Friday, May 4, at 10 a.m., in the Avenna Center Burns Arena. Mr. Elvin M. "Andy" Anderson, Mrs. Valerie B. Johnson, Mr. Bradford R. Rich, and Mrs. Gloria Shakespeare, will be recognized as Distinguished Citizens for their exemplary service to the college and community.
Elvin M. "Andy" Anderson has much in common with Dixie State College—they both just celebrated their 100th birthdays! At 100 years of age, he is being honored for his many years of philanthropic giving to Dixie State College, with a special emphasis on student scholarships.
Anderson was born in March of 1912 in Oasis, Utah (near Delta) to Tora Marie Jensen and Peter M. Anderson, spending his first 19 years helping on the family farm. That ended, when an excursion to Los Angeles revealed to him that not every place in the world had temperatures of 110 degrees in the summer and 30 degrees below in the winter. From that point on, the weather and the smell of orange blossoms kept Anderson in California. After a variety of odd jobs from L.A. to San Francisco, in 1933 he began a 13-year career at Chevron. It was during that time that he met and married June Diebold, his "friend and partner for the next 69½ years."
During World War II, Anderson joined the United States Marines in 1943 and served his country in the South Pacific. When the war was over, he and June opened and operated their own service station in California for seven years, until they enrolled in a real estate course at Santa Monica Community College and earned their California real estate licenses. Anderson says he was happy spending the next 21 years in the real estate business before retiring to Oceanside, Calif., for 13 years.
While walking during a vacation in St. George, June's comment to Andy that she felt so much better in the area with clean air, helped him decide to "bite the bullet and buy a house in St. George," because they felt that St. George had so much to offer. The Anderson's have loved St. George and have always been impressed with the progressive way the city is run, with its golf courses, great views and clean air. He credits DSC's ICL program of classes and tours for seniors, and the college's cultural activities such as the Celebrity Concert series, for adding great enrichment to their lives. He is also impressed with the hospital and the health care provided in this area.
Anderson is also grateful for service organizations such as Rotary, Elks, the American Legion, and the many other wonderful service organizations in this area. "Clean parks, scenic drives and desert landscape all have made this a wonderful place to live," he said.
Valerie Bailey Johnson is being honored for her invaluable contributions to the oral history library at Dixie State College's Val A. Browning Library. At a fall Washington County Historical Society meeting in 1998, Valerie inquired of Dr. Douglas Alder if the society had an oral history program. His immediate reaction was, "The Dixie College Library does!," and by January 1999, oral histories were being transcribed.
Johnson was born in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1932, where she and her sister grew up on a small ranch in Hemet, Calif. After graduation from high school she was granted a degree in religion in 1955 from Pacific Bible College, now known as Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif. Inspired by The Salvation Army motto, "Others," she joined as a career officer and served in their social service program, assisting unwed mothers in Denver, Colo., and Los Angeles.
In the early 1960's Johnson moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was employed in the personnel department at Holy Cross Hospital for eleven years, with her last position as personnel director. The harsh Utah winter of 1972-73 drove her and husband, Hal, from Salt Lake to Phoenix where she was hired as the personnel director at Phoenix Baptist Hospital. She was eventually promoted to assistant vice president for corporate human resources at Baptist Hospital and Health Systems.
After retirement in 1984, she became interested in family history research, working on their four family lines and self-publishing a book, "Bailey Branches" and "Luthey Leaves" for family members. She also volunteered at the Glendale Arizona Historical Society and learned to transcribe oral histories on her Commodore 64 computer. Increasingly hotter weather and too much crime caused the Johnsons to re-locate in 1996 to St. George.
When not supervising the oral history transcribing program for Dixie State College, she enhances her cross-stitch and knitting skills, watches Jazz basketball, enjoys her pet Smoky the cat, bowls in a league, supports Dixie State athletics, walks many miles each week, and does family history research. In August the couple will celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary. They feel blessed to able to live in a beautiful community with such wonderful folks.
Bradford R. Rich is being recognized for his numerous contributions to business and aviation in Washington County and for his support for Dixie State College, especially in the establishment and on-going success of the Celebrity Golf Classic. Additionally, as President of SkyWest, Inc., a long time benefactor of the College, he has been instrumental in partnering with the College to make numerous educational opportunities available for Dixie State students.
On May 11, 2011, Rich was named the President of SkyWest, Inc., the holding company for SkyWest Airlines, Inc., Atlantic Southeast Airlines/ExpressJet Airlines, Inc. and SkyWest Leasing. In this capacity, he has responsibility for the strategic development and operations and financial performance for all of the Company's entities and all the international investments associated with SkyWest, Inc. Previously, Rich served as Chief Financial Officer at SkyWest since 1991. As CFO, he led the negotiations for some of the Company's most significant strategic moves, including the acquisition of Atlantic Southeast Airlines in 2005, and the recent acquisition of ExpressJet.
Rich obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Utah State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is a member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants. Before joining SkyWest, he worked in public accounting for three years with Arthur Andersen & Co. as Senior Staff Accountant. In 2008, Rich was a finalist for the Utah Business CFO of the Year.
Along with the success Rich has enjoyed at SkyWest, he is also active in his church and in the community. He serves as Director of the annual Dixie Classic Golf Tournament, a charitable event that supports youth protection and development programs in southern Utah. He also serves on the SelectHealth Board of Trustees, and served for a number of years on the City of St. George Water and Power Board. He and his wife, Pam, live in St. George, Utah, and are the parents of five children and grandparents of two granddaughters.
Gloria Shakespeare is being honored as a Distinguished Citizen for her many positive contributions to Dixie State College, as well as to the City of St. George, and to Washington County. She has always loved the land and the people of "Utah's Dixie," and has devoted her time to help build and protect the quality of life in this area.
Dixie State College has been an integral part of Shakespeare's life, beginning in 1957, when her parents, John and Beth Hurst moved their store "Hurst Variety" from Panguitch to St. George so that their children would be in a college community. She worked in that downtown Hurst Variety store and learned much about business from her mother.
Shakespeare graduated from Dixie High School and Dixie College, loving her school years. In 1968 she married her husband Tom Shakespeare and they are the parents of nine children—five girls and four boys, along with 12 ambitious grandchildren. A great love for St. George and Dixie College was instilled in her and passed on to each of her nine children. All attended Dixie State, and two of her children, Connor and Jennifer, have served as Student Body President—Connor in 2001-2002 and Jennifer in 2007-08.
Shakespeare has a long "Dixie College Pedigree" beginning with her uncle, Arthur F. Bruhn, who served as President of the College from 1954-1964, and is generally credited with keeping the institution open when the governor came to St. George to close the doors. President Bruhn fought to retain Dixie as a State institution of higher learning, and if it had not been for his presidency and the efforts of key community leaders, Dixie College would not exist today. In addition, her mother, Beth, was a keystone supporter of Dixie College and a staple of Program Bureau performances, while brother, Bruce Hurst, is the namesake of DSC's baseball facility, and another brother, Ross, was a charter member and former chair of Dixie's National Advisory Council.
Shakespeare wrote and produced the program "I Was Called to Dixie" for the City of St. George. This program was performed for three years during Heritage Week. In addition, she served four years on the St. George City Council, and she has served and is still serving on various civic committees. In 1984, she and her husband started their own business "Tom's Mechanical," a local plumbing company which they still own and operate.
For more DSC Commencement information, please visit www.dixie.edu/commencement.
# # #