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Trustees Announce 2014 Honorary Degree Recipients

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March 11, 2014 – The University of Utah Board of Trustees today announced the names of four individuals chosen to receive the university’s highest honor—the honorary doctorate degree. The awards will be presented during the annual student commencement ceremony held on Thursday, May 1, 2014, in the Jon M. Huntsman Center beginning at 6:30 p.m.

“The honorary degree recipients this year reflect deep commitments to service, and the university is proud to recognize their achievements and dedication to their communities,” says Keven Rowe, chair of the Board of Trustees’ honors committee.

H. Roger Boyer will receive a Doctorate of Business. Boyer is chairman and founder of The Boyer Company, a real estate development company based in Salt Lake City. Since its founding in 1972, The Boyer Company has developed more than 30 million square feet of commercial projects throughout the Intermountain West, including office buildings, hotels, apartments, shopping centers and medical offices. He has lent his expertise to boards of financial institutions including the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco – Salt Lake Branch, as well as serving on the board of ARUP Laboratories. Boyer has been a leader in of numerous community organizations over the years, including the Pioneer Memorial Theatre, United Way, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Refugee Education Initiative Board and the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau, among others. He and his wife Sara Stohl Boyer have eight grown children and are generous supporters of the University of Utah. He holds bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Utah, and an MBA from Harvard University.

Richard E. Kendell will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters. Kendell has served in nearly every imaginable position in education in the state of Utah, most recently as interim president of Southern Utah University. Over his 35-year career, Kendell has worked as a high school English teacher, been faculty member and associate dean at the U, served as superintendent of the Davis School District, associate superintendent for Utah State Board of Education, and is former commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education. As deputy for public education, higher education and economic development under Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, he helped initiate six high-tech high schools, develop charter school legislation, and create programs for a job enhancement program to attract and retain a stronger corps of math and science teachers in Utah. He has been widely recognized for his many contributions to education in the state. He holds a Ph.D. in leadership and policy from the University of Utah, and family members hold 14 degrees from the U.

Lewena “Tye” Noorda will receive a Doctorate of Fine Arts. Noorda grew up in tiny Freedom, Utah, but she always wanted to act. Opportunities were greater in Salt Lake, and she moved to the city after high school to work and pursue her dream. She eventually met and married Ray Noorda, who co-founded and served as CEO of Novell, Inc., the multinational software and services company headquartered in Provo. She is a trustee of the Ray and Tye Noorda Foundation, which in 2012 donated $30 million to build the first dental school in Utah at the University of Utah. The school will provide high-quality dental education at a reasonable cost for Utah students, as well as providing improved access to dental care for those in rural and other underserved areas of the state. She remains a major supporter of theatre, and was recognized in 2008 as Outstanding Citizen of the Year by the Orem Chamber of Commerce for her service and philanthropy.

Alex Smith will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters. Smith, who is quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs, a University of Utah graduate and generous philanthropist was chosen by the President and Board of Trustees of the University of Utah to deliver the university’s 2014 commencement address. Before playing professionally, Smith posted a 21-1 record as quarterback for the U football team, leading them to post-season victories in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and the 2003 Liberty Bowl. He was also a first-team Academic All-American and the 2004 Academic All-American of the Year. He was also a first-team All-American and a Heisman Trophy finalist. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in two years with a 3.74 GPA and began work on a master’s degree before being drafted. In 2007, he started the Alex Smith Foundation and the Alex Smith Guardian Scholars Program, which helps send foster teens to college; 23 of the 30 teens who received scholarships since 2007 have since graduated.