Feb. 16, 2012 – To commemorate the founding of the University of Utah on Feb. 28, 1850, the University of Utah Alumni Association will celebrate the accomplishments of four outstanding graduates and one honorary alumnus, at the annual Founders Day Banquet on Feb. 22 at The Little America Hotel, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.
This year’s recipients of the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award are actress Klea Blackhurst BFA’85, businessman H. Roger Boyer BS’65, former U vice president J. Michael Mattsson BS’60, and scientist Arthur L. Ruoff PhD’55. Gary Crocker, a Utah entrepreneur who founded Research Medical, will receive the Honorary Alumnus Award, in recognition of his support of the University. These awards are the highest honor the University of Utah Alumni Association gives to U graduates and a non-alumnus/a, in recognition of their outstanding professional and personal achievements, and/or public service.
Blackhurst, who currently plays Shelby Cross on The Onion News Network, has appeared in numerous off-Broadway productions and created the well-received homage to Ethel Merman Everything the Traffic Will Allow. Blackhurst has sung in concert appearances in London and all over the U.S., teaches master voice classes and does television commercials and voiceover work for radio.
Boyer is chair and founder of The Boyer Company, which has developed many significant commercial properties throughout the Intermountain West, including The Gateway shopping center in Salt Lake City. He is a former chair of the Utah Division of Business and Economic Development Board and has served as a member of the University of Utah’s Board of Trustees.
Mattsson served the U in leadership roles for more than 40 years, including as director of development and communications for the University of Utah Medical Center and later as the University’s vice president of development from 1985 to 2006, helping the U raise a then-unprecedented $1.7 billion.
Ruoff has had an influential and award-winning career in the field of high-pressure chemistry and materials science. A professor at Cornell University since receiving his doctorate at the U, he wrote two influential books on materials science, published more than 300 articles, and developed a tutorial course that has been used in 60 universities.
Crocker, a highly successful biomedical innovator and investor, is currently president of Crocker Ventures and chair of Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. A former member of the U’s Board of Trustees and currently chair of the U’s College of Science Advisory Board, he has been a significant donor to the U.
More information about the award recipients may be found online at: www.alumni.utah.edu/u-news/november11/foundersday.php.