Monday, January 8, 2018

Pace Clarke Named Interim Director of the USG

Southern Utah University is excited to announce Pace Clarke ('14) as the Interim Director of the Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games.
Pace started with USG in 2016 as the Operations and Development Coordinator. He was responsible for fostering and developing sponsorships, writing grants, managing the budget, and finding new ways to serve volunteers and donors who support the games. He also worked on the strategic planning committee and helped introduce new sports to the competition.
“The Utah Summer Games have been a great avenue for my family to be involved in both the Cedar City and SUU communities,” said Clarke. “The positions I have held within USG have allowed me to be part of a great non-profit organization that I have enjoyed working with throughout the past couple of years.”
As the Interim Director of USG, Clarke will be in charge of maintaining the reputation and growth of the games. He will oversee its operations, events and donor relations.
“We are excited for Pace to lead the Utah Summer Games forward,” said Mindy Benson, vice president of alumni and community relations at SUU. “We have confidence that he will lead a seamless transition and a successful 2018 Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games.”
Moving forward in the thirty-third year of the games, Clarke hopes to get Cedar City and SUU more involved in the process.
“The success of the Utah Summer Games comes from a combined effort,” said Clarke. “One of our main goals is to work together with the local organizations and businesses not only to maintain and further the USG’s economic impact, but also to inspire pride in hosting one of Utah’s largest amateur sporting events.  We have the opportunity to showcase the beauty, culture and support of Iron County. With work from all, USG will continue to grow and maintain its legacy of community and excellence in the human spirit.”
Pace grew up in the small town of Tropic, Utah. After earning his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Utah University, he moved back to Tropic to work as the branch manager for State Bank of Southern Utah. He has loved returning to Cedar City and working for the Utah Summer Games while pursuing a Master of Public Administration at SUU.
The Utah Summer Games attracts athletes of all ages and skill level from across the western United States to compete in more than 40 different sporting events. Since 1986, the event has been conducted in Cedar City, Utah, with an average of 9,600 participants, 50,000 spectators, and 1,000 volunteers in attendance each year. 

Glynn Wilcox, Changing Lives in Texas

Southern Utah University helped Glynn Wilcox successfully make a career change, and now he is changing the lives of high school students in Texas.

A native of Markham, Texas, and a graduate of El Maton High School, Glynn was working as an account executive for a pharmaceutical benefits management company when he decided to make a change in his career and become a teacher.

“I wanted to go back into education to make the world a better place,” he says.

Today he teaches high school government and economics at Dallas Can Academy in Texas, a charter school that specializes in providing a quality education to students who struggle in a traditional high school setting. Dallas Can Academy’s core values are centered on student decision making, and implementing a rigorous curriculum based on reading and thinking skills to help its’ students succeed.

Glynn graduated from SUU in 2003, with a degree in psychology and criminal justice, while also earning his secondary education certification. He loved attending SUU and says his friends and others students were incredible. He also appreciates the training he received from the education department and the opportunity he now has of helping students graduate from high school who he says, “very well might not graduate otherwise.”

His SUU experience taught him a lot of about himself too.

“Getting what you want out of life is up to you,” he explains. “You have to make decisions to get what you want.”

Glynn and his family live in Dallas, Texas. He loves history, museums, and spending time with his family.

And he never says “no” to a road trip.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fun at SUU Was Never Hard to Find for Charmaine Wilde

As the first child from her family to go away to college, Charmaine Wilde (’08, political science) knew she wanted an atmosphere where she could thrive and be more than just another college student. She found that, and more, at Southern Utah University. 

A 2002 graduate of Utah’s Taylorsville High School, Charmaine discovered that SUU’s small, nurturing environment was for her, as well as the abundance of opportunity to be involved in a variety of campus programs.

Known during her SUU years as Chow Milner, Charmaine immersed herself in campus life with the SUU student association, judicial council, Orchesis dance team, the honors program, and the local chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, which she helped create. As a political science major, she was part of Pi Sigma Alpha honor society, and was also a member of the philosophy club, LDSSA, and served as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, where she mentored a young woman for three years. She maintains contact with that young woman and has continued to help her through the years.

Charmaine completed most of her classes in 2005, and then put her education on hold to serve an LDS mission in Hawaii. Upon her return, she married and moved to Texas where she finished her degree through independent studies and online. Charmaine is ever grateful to SUU faculty and staff who created the path so she could finish her degree at SUU and begin law school at Baylor University the fall of 2009.

Charmaine enjoyed her social life while a student and says, “Fun was never hard to find at SUU.”

Fun college memories include hiking, hanging out at the Pastry Pub with friends, and having a party for her space heater when it died.

Another fond memory was attending a theatre arts and dance department awards banquet at the end of the year. She heard that everyone “dresses up” for the event and she thought that meant costumes since it was theatre and dance, so she dressed up like a pirate. In the end everyone was in formal ball gowns, prom dresses, and tuxedos. “I was a pirate, and even had to go on stage for something dressed as a pirate among all the fancy dresses,” she says.

Charmaine still keeps herself busy with her children and the family ranch in Texas she runs with her husband. She is also a local attorney, president of the Legal Professionals in her county, and helped create a young lawyers group in the area. She teaches free ballet classes, volunteers at the preschool and primary school for her kids, and enjoys doing yoga, reading, gardening, and running. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

For Bradford Backlund, Friends Make Lasting Impacts

Friends make lasting impacts, and Bradford Backlund’s best friend influenced him in a way that guided the rest of his life.

Bradford grew up in southern California and graduated from Moreno Valley High School. His best friend in high school, Matthew McRae, chose to attend Southern Utah University and Bradford knew he wanted to go to college with his friend, so he joined Matthew in Cedar City.

That decision to attend SUU changed his life. Not only did he earn a degree in marketing in 2006, but he also met his future wife, Kacy Smith. The couple has been married for 15 years and have two boys, Talan and Brody.

Today, Bradford is the vice president of sales for a large insurance brokerage firm in Reno, NV, where his focus is alternative financing for insurable risks that businesses face. He takes common business expenses and turns them into profit centers.

“Very unique and I’ve learned that I am pretty good at it,” he says of his profession. “Not bad for a kid that was a ‘C’ student.”

Bradford loved his experience at SUU. He particularly enjoyed building relationships with other students. “Those relationships have proven to be far more tangible than the piece of paper that hangs on the wall in my office,” he says.

He also worked with amazing professors like Greg Powell and Derek Snow, and credits them for helping him understand the “why” of getting a college education and how it would benefit his future. These incredible professors helped Bradford understand concepts and how to relate them to the “real world” that he entered after graduation. He still uses those concepts today.

Besides staying busy with work and family, Bradford loves volunteering his time with Big Brothers and Big Sisters, as well as Boys and Girls Club. One of his proudest achievements since graduating from SUU is the money he has helped raise for Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

Bradford also had a brief run as a child actor and break dancer. Growing up in southern California, it seemed only natural for him to have a desire to get into acting. At the age of 11, he found himself an agent and began auditioning for various roles. He booked several gigs including Hawaiian Punch and Golden Graham commercials, various sitcoms, and even a movie with Robin Williams and LL Cool J called Toys. As a break-dancer, he performed in various shows and danced with some remarkable people.

What advice would Bradford tells future T-Birds? “Enjoy your time and make a lot of memories,” he says. “SUU is an amazing school with lots of amazing professors that helped shape my life. It is about the journey and becoming a better you!”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dan Ludwig Received a Solid Science Background at SUU

Daniel Ludwig grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and loved being in the outdoors. So when a beloved uncle recommended SUU, a place where he could study science and explore the area’s natural wonders, Dan jumped at the opportunity.

As a Zoology major, Dan was thrilled by the field trips offered at SUU, known then as the College of Southern Utah (CSU). Whether it was camping or fishing on Webster’s Flat above Cedar Mountain, or hiking the Zion Narrows, every outing was a fun adventure with friends. From those college experiences blossomed a love of southwestern Utah that he still shares with family and friends.
He has more found memories of time with friends playing Aggravation, spinning “donuts” on the Cedar City roads at midnight, and cruising Main Street from the Brown Cow to the Drive-In Movie Theater while eating sherbet ice cream cones.

Dan’s class room experience was equally fulfilling. He took a required science class in ornithology and quickly developed a love of birds and became an avid birdwatcher. He would go “birding” all over southern Utah with Cedar Canyon and Zion National Park being his favorite watching spots. Birding is still a pastime that he thoroughly loves.

Dan also developed a passion for art while at SUU, thanks to the exceptional instruction of professors Glen Dale Anderson and Robert Gerring. In was in his art classes that he set a goal to paint in earnest
on his 40th birthday. He has been painting ever since that milestone birthday and his works have appeared in art galleries throughout Utah.

His pre-dental training was exceptional and he exclaims that he gained a “solid” science background because of professors like Dr. Wes Larson, Dr. Joe Cope, Dr. Russell Anderson, and Dr. Paul Burgoyne. After graduating from CSU (SUU) in 1969, Dan enrolled at the Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas, Texas. 

Following dental school, Dan and his wife Alana settled in Belen, New Mexico, where he owned and operated a private dental practice for more than 20 years. The Ludwigs loved the Rio Grande area and reflect back on the area as a great place to raise a family.

After 20 years in business, Dan sold his dental practice and went to work for New Mexico’s correctional system. During his tenure there he served for two years as the dental director for the entire system. 

Today, he works for Correct Care Solutions inside a federal correctional facility in Milan, New Mexico. Correct Care Solutions specializes in managing health care systems for correctional facilities throughout the United States. Dan is the only on-site dentist at his facility, which accommodates up to 1,100 people. The facility contracts with Homeland Security ICE and houses refugees seeking asylum in the United States. The refugees live there short-term and come from many different parts of the world. Dan takes the opportunity to learn a little something from each person he cares for and enjoys making the lives of his patients a little more tolerable. He loves what he does. 

Even though retirement is not in the immediate future, Dan and Alana enjoy traveling and spending time with their three amazing children and eight wonderful grandchildren.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vanez Butler is Crazy about SUU

Vanez Butler, a native of Richfield, Utah, and a graduate of Richfield High, visited the College of Southern Utah (CSU) her senior year of high school and was hooked. She enrolled at CSU the fall of 1964 and has never regretted that decision.   
She thoroughly loved her time at CSU and took advantage of every opportunity to participate in activities and meet new friends. She joined the Thunderettes Drill team and performed at CSU games and at high schools throughout the state of Utah. She also joined Chi Sigma Upsilon Sorority, which became the hub of her life at CSU.
Her sorority sisters were a tight-knit circle of friends. They built floats together, participated in sports, planned parties with fraternities, shared household chores, as well as tears and joys, and yes, they even attended classes.
Pranks were common among the CSU sororities and fraternities. Vanez remembers one particular prank following an afternoon assembly practice. When she and her sorority sisters returned to the sorority house, they discovered every sink, bathtub, and toilet was filled with salamanders! The responsible fraternity brothers even called the sorority house during the escapade and left the land-line phone off the hook so they could hear the shrieks of terror. 
Vanez fondly remembers the small classes at CSU, and professors who knew the names of each student. Professors in the education department went a step further and individualized instruction and learning to each student. That personalized experience provided Vanez and her classmates with a jumpstart on their future careers as educators. She graduated in 1968 with a BA in education and a teaching credential. 
After interviewing with several school districts, Vanez and a roommate decided to take a leap of faith and accepted jobs as 2nd grade teachers in California’s Moreno Valley Unified School District. While unsure how her CSU training would measure-up to that of other new teachers, she soon found it was far superior and was appreciative of the training she received at CSU.
Vanez went on to earn a master’s degree in school administration, becoming an assistant principal and later a principal at two different elementary schools. She was always excited to interview a teaching candidate from SUU because of the high-quality education each had received.
The last five years of her 40-year career were spent as the coordinator of staff development for her school district, where she provided teacher support and assessment for new teachers. In 2006, Vanez was selected as administrator of the year by her school district and runner-up for county administrator of the year.
One year, while being interviewed by a student intern, Vanez mentioned she graduated from SUU.  He was so excited to say he had attended the Utah Shakespeare Festival and marveled at the SUU campus. They had a wonderful conversation and she encouraged him to choose SUU for his college education.   

“It’s so easy to get excited when talking to students considering SUU,” Vanez exclaims.
Upon retiring Vanez, and her husband Frank, returned to her hometown of Richfield. They enjoy riding their ATV and exploring the beautiful mountains and areas of interest. They love supporting local sports activities, attending concerts and other community events. Vanez also volunteers with the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, the local public library and children’s justice center.
That tight-knit circle of sorority sisters, who supported each other so well at CSU, remain close and return each year to SUU Homecoming. They enjoy catching-up, looking at old yearbooks, participating in the all the homecoming activities, pretending they are young again, and have become affectionately known as “The Crazy Ladies.”
And they all are crazy about SUU!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Friendships and Experiences are what Tami Whisker Loved about SUU

While a student at SUU, Tami Whisker discovered she was good at managing projects and events.

Today, as a realtor at Summit Sotheby’s International Realty in Park City, Utah, Tami is a leader in her profession and community. She has taught real estate forms classes and even lead the Park City Board of REALTORS®. She has served as the board chair for Peace House, an organization that helps those affected by domestic violence, and has volunteered in a fundraising production for the Egyptian Theater for the past seven years.

“I have never acted,” Tami says, “but it’s locals that put it on and it’s a blast!”

Tami graduated in 1989 with a major in communication and minor in marketing. The training she received and the skills she acquired at SUU are put to use each day as she writes real estate contracts and teaches classes.

While at SUU, Tami was a founding member of Phi Alpha Beta and remembers the amazing parties and meetings they had, as well as figuring out plans and dreaming together as sorority sisters. She was also involved in student government and still laughs at peeling 250 lbs. of potatoes for a Dutch oven dinner hosted by the school and organizing and carrying out a Winter Wonderland event in 20 degrees below zero.

She loved that SUU was small and full of opportunities. “It is so important to get involved besides your classes,” Tami exclaims about her experience at SUU. “I made so many wonderful friends that I see today.”

Tami enjoys the outdoors riding horses, hiking, and golfing.