Wednesday, December 14, 2011

President's Gala & Old Main Society

President Benson
Saturday, December 10, President Michael T. Benson hosted the 2011 Holiday Gala to thank and recognize members of The Old Main Society and President's Giving Society.
The Gala was an opportunity for Southern Utah University to thank the many generous donors who give so much of themselves to enrich the lives of students and advance the University.

Honorees that evening were Garth and Geraldine Rollo, Iron County and the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism and Convention Bureau. New members inducted into the Old Main Society included: Dale & Patty Gilbert, Garth & Geraldine Rollo, Greg & Debbie Forsyth, Bryce & Joyce Woodbury, Keith & Nina Barnes and Judith Tweedie. And the evening wrapped up with a visit by David Archuleta.

Garth Fisher ('53) and Geraldine Rollo ('54) grew up in differing circumstances more than 350 miles apart, but were united at the Branch Agricultural College in 1952. What has transpired in the shared life since is a legacy of accomplishment, service and compassion. 
Garth Fisher and President Benson
Old Main Society & Legacy Circle
Garth was born and raised in the farming community of Vernal, Utah, during the Great Depression and worked the family acreage while finding time to hunt and fish. He became an all-state athlete at Uintah High School and continued his schooling and basketball career in Cedar City, graduating from the newly-renamed College of Southern Utah before earning a degree in education with emphases in English and physical education from Brigham Young University. He taught school for a year, then entered the United States Air Force, becoming a pilot and navigator. He flew 190 missions over Vietnam, but he and Jerry looked at the three children they had at the time and decided that a teaching and research career would be a better fit for them. 

As a young girl, Jerry helped her father with the bookkeeping for her father, Morgan Rollo, who was the editor and publisher of the Iron County Record, and among the most revered journalistic figures in the state’s history. Jerry attended Cedar High School and the BAC, taking general education courses and specializing in accounting. She was an accomplished musician, shined as the school’s drum majorette, and took part in a wide variety of activities as one of the most popular co-eds on campus.  

In 1952, Garth and Jerry met in a D. L. Sargent biology class and that meeting led to marriage. When the couple graduated and moved on to Provo for Garth’s schooling, Jerry lent great support as a bookkeeper. 

Later, Garth went on to earn a master’s degree in physical education from Cal State Sacramento and a doctorate in exercise physiology from the University of New Mexico. The Fisher family grew and Jerry held down the home as Garth began his BYU career where he became one of the world’s leading experts in health and fitness, and a renowned author. He was director of the Human Performance Research Center at BYU and chair of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health among other awards and honors. 

Along the way, the Fisher family grew in a big way upon the deaths of Garth’s brother and sister-in-law, left four children parentless. The Fishers raised those children as their own and Garth has ever lauded Jerry’s compassion and dedication in the task. 

While Garth and Jerry remember their days at the BAC and CSU with fondness, they acknowledge that their educations were a financial challenge. They know all too well that higher education of today is even more difficult to pay for and does not promise to become any easier. That is why they choose to help the students of today and the future by earmarking their personal funds for scholarships, including one that honors the memory of Morgan Rollo in the form of an endowment for journalism students at SUU.
President Benson, Alma Adams, Dan Webster,
Dale Brinkerhoff and Maria Twitchell ('95)
Old Main Society Centurium Circle

Iron County government and the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau have, in concert, made a tremendous and valuable contribution to the quality of life here and, on a daily basis, enrich the lives of citizens and visitors alike while serving as pivotal facilitators of Southern Utah University’s mission to serve its constituency.

The County, led by generations of county commissioners, has always been a key element in the success of Southern Utah University, and through its Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau, has championed our county as a destination for tourism. Through a fortuitous and collaborative partnership with SUU and with a host of talented and industrious citizens and communities, both bodies have made our magnificent region known as a magnet for visitors from around the world.
Moreover, the Commission, with the guidance of the Tourism Bureau, has channeled financial resources to the building of Southern Utah University programs that serve Iron County citizens as well as a vast public outside of our boundaries. The Commission and Tourism Bureau have been both visionary and pragmatic in their consensus that Southern Utah University and Iron County share a unique capacity to enrich all who visit here.
Annual financial contributions—along with various other enthusiastic avenues of support—to such University programs as the Utah Summer Games and Utah Shakespeare Festival, has made a marked difference in the execution of those tourism-based enterprises.
The County has provided varied tax revenues for a number of crucial needs of the University, including the 1996 funding for the Conference Center in the Sharwan Smith Center and, this year, toward the completion of two crucial facilities key to the area’s future as a destination for tourists; one that will prompt more visitors to stay here, and for longer periods of time.
The Commission and Tourism Bureau are indeed important backers of the New Shakespeare Theatre and the Southern Utah Museum of Art, projects that will not only aid in the efforts to promote tourism, but will serve as cultural cornerstones of a vast region of the southwest.
The responsibilities of the Iron County Commission are vast and complex, with tourism but one consideration. The duties are weighty and expansive. County Commissioners Alma Adams, Dale Brinkerhoff, and Dan Webster, as well as those who preceded them in their roles, have ever dedicated their time and character to the building of this place we share.
The Tourism Bureau, besides marketing the area, conducts research and makes recommendations for all requests for funding while serving as a key contact of the University. The work of Executive Director Maria Twitchell and associates Amber Bennett and Bonnie Char Oldroyd, as well as that of past director LaRee Garfield, has been of inestimable help in the advancement of the University and of benefit to all in Iron County.
Welcome to the newest members of the Old Main Society:

Garth ('53) and Geraldine ('54) Fisher
Benefactor Level
Dale and Patty Gilbert
Gold Medallion Level

Greg and Debbie ('91) Forsyth
Old Main Society Level
Bryce and Joyce Woodbury
Old Main Society Level

Keith and Nina Barnes
Legacy Circle
Judith Tweedie ('61)
Legacy Circle

Singing sensation David Archuleta made a surprise visit to the Holiday Gala and performed O Holy Night. He was in town with his MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS tour and performed later that evening at the Heritage Center in downtown Cedar City. The concert featured both traditional holiday and familiar classics, as well as an assortment of David's own pop favorites. Members of the SUU Symphony Orchestra accompanied him during the second half of the concert.