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U of U Honorary Degree Recipients Approved by Trustees

March 10, 2003 — Today, the University of Utah Board of Trustees approved honorary degrees for five outstanding individuals, including an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities for Terry Tempest Williams, who is also this year’s commencement speaker. The other four honorary degree recipients include: Afton B. Bradshaw for Doctor of Humane Letters; William H. “Bill” Child for Doctor of Business; Tom C. Korologos for Doctor of Humane Letters; and, E. W. “Al” Thrasher for Doctor of Public Health.

Afton Bradshaw has both a bachelor’s degree in Commercial Education and a master’s degree in American History from the University of Utah. She served eighteen years in the Utah House of Representatives, earning the trust and respect of her peers on both sides of the aisle and bringing knowledge and wisdom to her position. She has received numerous awards during the past twenty-five years, including recognition as Legislator of the Year by the YWCA in 1999 and Salt Lake City Republican Woman of the Year in 1998. Bradshaw has served as a community volunteer on state and national boards, including more than a decade of service on the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice.

Bill Child graduated with a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Utah in 1954. While attending the U, Child began working for his father-in-law, R.C. Willey. Following Willey’s death, Child took over the family business, RC Willey Home Furnishings, and grew the business into one of the largest furniture retail outlets in the nation. Child has served on the boards of Commercial Security Bank, Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, Utah Retail Merchants Association, Key Bank, the Utah Economic Development Corporation, as well as numerous University advisory boards. Willey and his wife, Patricia, have been generous U of U donors since 1968, most notably in their support of Pioneer Theatre Company, the David Eccles School of Business, the University Hospital, and the Athletics Department. Recently, Child established the R.C. Willey Executive Leadership Center with a $1 million contribution to the C. Roland Christensen Center at the business school.

Tom Korologos earned his B.A. at the U in 1955 and his M.S. at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where he received the Grantland Rice Fellowship and a Pulitzer Fellowship. He was also named a Distinguished Alumnus of the U in 1988. Korologos is highly regarded for his work in public affairs, having served in the Nixon and Ford administrations as Deputy Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs and for nine years under Senator Wallace F. Bennett. In 1980-81, Korologos served as Director of Congressional Relations for President Reagan’s transition staff and assisted both the Reagan and Bush administrations in the Senate confirmation process. He served as Director of Congressional Relations for the National Bipartisan Commission on Central America, and as a senior advisor to Senator Dole during his 1996 presidential bid. In 2001, Korologos volunteered for the Bush-Cheney transition and managed the confirmation of Donald Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense. He has traveled extensively overseas as a member and chairman of the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy and as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Earlier in his career, Korologos was a journalist with the New York Herald Tribune, the Salt Lake Tribune and Associated Press.

Al Thrasher was born in 1920 in Chelan, Washington and started working at age ten in the sawmill industry to help his family. From this early age he combined hard work with inventive improvements, which, over the years, have vitalized the entire lumber industry. One such invention was a revolutionary breakthrough in timber saw blades. In addition to achieving a highly successful business career, Thrasher has devoted his life to improving health care for children. Twenty-five years ago he established the Thrasher Research Fund to provide financial support to world-class researchers – many of them located at the University of Utah – who are seeking solutions world health problems of children. The discoveries funded by the Thrasher Research Fund have significantly improved the health of children through a better understanding of the treatment and prevention of childhood diseases. Mr. Thrasher and the U’s Public Health Program in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine are dedicated to continuing the pursuit of medical advancements on behalf of children.

Terry Tempest Williams received a B.S. in English and a M.S. in Educational Studies from the University of Utah and formerly served as naturalist-in-residence at the Utah Museum of Natural History. She is one of Utah’s most passionate and eloquent nature and political writers. In addition to her critically important contribution to the literature of the West, including her best-known book, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, she has been recognized by Utne Reader and Newsweek as a “visionary” likely to make “a considerable impact on the political, economic, and environmental issues facing the western states.” She has also served on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society and other national environmental advocacy groups and has testified before the U.S. Congress on behalf of women’s health. In addition to receiving an honorary degree, Tempest Williams will give this year’s commencement address.

Citations will be presented to the five honorary degree recipients during commencement on Friday, May 2 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.