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University of Utah Alumni Association Celebrates 2014 Merit of Honor Award Recipients

Jeffrey Anderson

Nov. 5, 2014 – Since 1971, more than 500 U alumni have received the prestigious Merit of Honor Award from the Emeritus Alumni Board of the University of Utah Alumni Association. Now in its 43rd year, this recognition is for alumni who attended the University 40 or more years ago (or who have reached age 65) and whose careers have been marked by outstanding service to the U, their professions and their communities.

This year’s Merit of Honor Award recipients will be recognized at the 2014 Merit of Honor Banquet today at 6:30 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium and Tower. The following are the awardees:

Jeffrey L. Anderson B.A. ’68
Anderson graduated Phi Beta Kappa in chemistry, magna cum laude, as valedictorian of the U’s class of 1968 and received the Bonner Award (for outstanding chemistry student). He went on to Harvard University’s Medical School, where he graduated with honors in 1972. After two years as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, he was recruited back to Utah and joined the U Medical School’s faculty. He went on to become director of coronary care and later chief of cardiology at LDS Hospital, and then a professor and chief of cardiology at the University of Utah. He is past president or governor for the Utah chapters of the American College of Physicians (Master and Laureate Awardee), the American College of Cardiology (FACC) and the American Heart Association (Heart of Gold Awardee).

Ronald G. Coleman B.S. ’66, Ph.D. ’80
Coleman has been a faculty member in the University of Utah’s History Department and the Ethnic Studies Program since 1973. He received his undergraduate degree in sociology and doctorate in history at the University of Utah. As an undergrad, he was a member of the 1963 and 1964 U football team and was selected to the 1964 Western Athletic Conference’s All-Conference Team and named the Outstanding Back in the 1964 Liberty Bowl, where the Utes defeated West Virginia University. As a professor, his primary research focus is African American history. His publications include essays on Western black history, and he has presented his research at a variety of conferences. His involvement in history, education and community service is exemplified by his teaching awards and a diversity award at the University of Utah, as well as the Salt Lake Chapter of the NAACP Albert Fritz Civil Rights Worker of the Year Award, the Utah Humanities Council’s Governors Award and the Days of ‘47 Pioneers of Progress Award for Historic and Creative Arts.

Ron Henriksen B.A. ’71
Henriksen received his bachelor’s degree from the U in political science. He went on to co-found Henriksen/Butler Design, a contract furniture business, with Steve Butler in 1980, and the company became one of the leading distributors in the Intermountain West. He helped initiate a lecture series for the U School of Architecture that brings in designers from across the United States to talk about architectural trends. His other U and community service has included being chair of the U President’s Club and serving on the KUED Executive Board, the U Hospital Board, the Crimson Club and the U Diabetes Center Board.

Betsy Ross Young Newton B.S. ’46
Newton graduated with a degree in speech communication from the U. She went on to become the mother of six children, and she was a real estate property and finance manager for 20 years. Her community service has included working with her husband, Joseph Newton, to campaign and raise funds for water fluoridation, which was approved by voters in 2000. She also has served on the Ronald McDonald House Board of Trustees, and she was a member of the Assistance League of Salt Lake for more than 30 years.

John C. Pingree B.S. ’64
Pingree received his undergraduate degree from the U in economics and went on to get his MBA from Harvard University in 1966. He was regional manager for sales planning for Xerox Corporation from 1967 to 1970 and then moved on to Memorex Corporation, where he was director of marketing from 1970 to 1975. He served as general manager and chief executive officer of the Utah Transit Authority from 1977 to 1997. He later was executive director of the Semnani Foundation, from 2001 to 2004. He also is a former member of the Utah State Board of Education.

Heidi Sorensen Swinton B.A. ’71
Swinton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Utah. She has written several books that have been published by Deseret Book, and she has been a screenwriter for several documentaries about Mormon history, for PBS. In 2000, she won an Independent Book Publishers First Place Award for her book “Joseph Smith: American Prophet.”

The Alumni Association is dedicated to forging and preserving lifelong relationships with alumni, students and the community. More about membership, news and events is available here.

The University of Utah, located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the Wasatch Range, is the flagship institution of higher learning in Utah. Founded in 1850, it serves more than 32,000 students from across the United States and the world. With more than 100 major subjects at the undergraduate level and more than 90 major fields of study at the graduate level, including law and medicine, the University prepares students to live and compete in the global workplace. Learn more about all the U has to offer here.