Friday, December 28, 2018

SUU to Business Owner in the Tech Space

When Molly Moss enrolled at Southern Utah University in the fall of 1987, little did she know that a lasting bond would be forged with a group of friends that would remain close and come to count each other as family.

“Because I don’t have a family of my own, my SUU friends are my family,” she explains. “Some of my closest friends are my former roommates and sorority sisters, and I still keep in touch with a lot of people from my student government days.”

Originally from Evansville, Indiana, Molly graduated from Castle High School and came to SUU to study advertising and public relations. Drs. Suzanne Larson, S.S. Moorty, and Eugene Wolfe made lasting impressions, but Molly points to Dr. Sterling Church as her all-time favorite person at SUU.

“I still have a letter he wrote me years after SUU that is framed,” she says. “I adore that man.”

Molly’s career path started in the advertising world where she worked for some of the best agencies in Salt Lake City. She was coerced by a good friend to enter the recruiting world with the promise that she would be a natural fit. At first Molly was apprehensive but that all changed when she received her first commission check. She has not looked back since.

Today, she owns her own business and contracts with agencies and corporations on the West Coast to help them attract and retain talent within the tech space.

“I specialize in start-ups who are ramping up their director/leadership roles,” she explains of her business.

Molly has many fond college memories including when Southern Utah State College became Southern Utah University in 1991. She still remembers the entire week of celebration like it was yesterday and proudly calls it a remarkable “achievement for little ol’ SUSC!”

Another favorite college memory was Phi Alpha Beta being picked up by Alpha Phi for colonization. The Betas had tried multiple times to align themselves with a national organization but were repeatedly told there was not enough interest on campus. Yet Phi Alpha Beta continued to attract smart and motivated women who thrived and contributed to the SUU community, as well as in their own communities after graduation. She describes that colonization as a proud “mama moment.”

Molly lives in Salt Lake City and is a proud dog mom (essentially a dog butler!) to a Corgi named Sundance. She is a die-hard Broncos fan, loves Real Soccer games, and still gets butterflies every time she passes Cedar City on I-15.

Friday, December 14, 2018

SUU to Credit Union Marketing Director

Matt Yardley, who today thrives as the southern Utah market director for Chartway Federal Credit Union, is a prime exemplar of SUU graduates who live varied and fulfilling lives sparked by their Thunderbird experiences.

A 1996 graduate of Kearns High School in the Salt Lake Valley, he envisioned a life in law, and intended to enter law school after earning his SUU degree in political science with a minor in criminal justice. The University’s pre-law program prepared him well to pursue law school studies and following his 2003 graduation, he enrolled in the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, where he completed the Master of Science in Legal Administration degree, with plans to gain his Juris Doctorate later.

“However,” he says, “after getting my feet wet in the legal field through a variety of internships, I determined that I was better suited for an administrative career, rather than practicing law directly.” He says he fell into a career in banking and finance and could not be happier.

His position with the Virginia-based Chartway entails the oversight of all aspects of the credit union for the southern Utah market, which currently includes five branches from Cedar City to St. George. From member experience to branch production and profitability, he ensures that member’s lives are “truly made affordable through value added products and service.”

It’s a demanding job, but he is quick to credit his SUU education in immensely helping to prepare him for his life’s work.

“At SUU, I learned the importance of effective communication and the value of hard work, and had outstanding staff and faculty members to aid me in my pursuits,” he says, and he has praise for Dean Rodney Decker and Diane Werber of the HSS College staff, and for professors Michael Stathis and Lee Trepanier, each of whom, he says “were dedicated to helping me achieve my goals.”

And, he says, SUU prepared him with many of the leadership and communication skills necessary to run his business. He has fond memories of engaging with the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service, which helped build his all-around abilities and awareness of the larger world.

He and his wife of 19 years, Whitney, are parents to three sons, and his family forms the foundation of his life. His leisure time affords him the opportunity to man the drum kit in what he calls his “makeshift band,” and for Jeeping with his eldest son in the southern Utah wonderland surrounding the family’s Washington City home.

Friday, November 16, 2018

SUU to Cardiologist and Assistant Professor

Ryan C. Van Woerkom credits SUU’s stellar pre-med program for launching his medical career as a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine and director of interventional echocardiography at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas Texas.

“It solidified my first official summer research internship at the University of Utah,” he says of his Southern Utah University education. “I wasn’t particularly skilled or qualified for the position, but SUU provided the opportunity. This launched me for my next summer research internship at the Mayo Clinic, and the rest is history.”

Following his 2006 SUU graduation with majors in Biology/Zoology and Chemistry, Ryan graduated from the U of U School of Medicine in 2010 and finished his internal medicine residency at the Oregon Health & Science University in 2013. He completed two fellowships at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, one in cardiovascular disease and the other in advanced echocardiography, and then completed a third fellowship in cardiac advanced imaging at the Oregon Health & Science University.

While several SUU professors influenced Ryan’s academic experience, one in particular (who recently passed away) had a special impact.

“Suzanne Larson taught an instrumental and widely applicable class on the topic of critical thinking that still benefits me every day,” he says. “She was such a great mentor!”

Ryan liked everything about SUU, including meeting life-long friends and learning from roommates, flatmates, classmates, friends, and neighbors.

“I have such deep respect for not only these folks, but my professors and administrators,” he says. “I loved that there was such a push for involvement, and a niche was created for nearly everyone to become involved in one facet or another.”

Ryan’s niche included serving as a Presidential Ambassador, and participating with SUUSA, Institute, Rural Health Scholars, Thai Food Club, Honors Program, and singing in OPUS, which afforded him the unique (and terrifying) opportunity of singing at Carnegie Hall.

SUU also gave Ryan financial, social, spiritual, and academic independence.

“I learned the necessity in community for learning independence,” he explains. “I learned that while my independent goals and means for achieving the goals may be different from those around me, SUU was small enough that through my close-knit interactions with others, we could always lift each other towards those goals.”

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

SUU to Elementary School Teacher

Teaching has been described as one of the noblest professions in society because of the impact an educator has in shaping the character, caliber, and future of a child. That philosophy describes well the impact Kimmy Soper (’01 & ’08) has on her third grade students at Enoch Elementary in Enoch, Utah,

“I just do my thing and hope that I make someone’s world a little better each day,” she humbly says of her role as a teacher.

A graduate of Cedar High School, Kimmy earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with an early childhood education license and a concentration in physical education from SUU in 2001. She went on to earn a Master of Education degree in 2008, and has mentored countless numbers of pre-service teachers and students at SUU.

“My education at SUU prepared me to be an effective teacher prepared to enter the challenging work of education,” she says. “My favorite thing about SUU was the faculty and staff that took a personal interest in me and my education.”

A self-proclaimed “non-conformist,” Kimmy’s favorite college memories include developing life-long friendships, being the president and founding member of the Corndog Club, and organizing numerous parties for her college friends.

“I was the official party planner and provided venues for many people to meet their future spouses,” she says.

What was the most random thing that happened to her at SUU?

“I passed out in the copy center and was kindly humiliated as I was rolled through the library on a gurney in front of all my study buddies,” she responds.

While friendships, corndogs, and parties were all an important part of her SUU experience, what took place inside the classroom was exceptional, including what she learned about herself.

“I learned that I can do hard things, make friends easily, and I learned the importance of making a difference in the world,” she says.

Friday, July 27, 2018

SUU to Lives Service and Involvement

Clair and Suzanne Morris have lived lives of singular service and sterling consequence in Cedar City and the greater world, and in doing so have always championed Southern Utah University and its students. Their presence in our midst has greatly contributed to the quality of life here.

Clair, born in 1932 in Parowan, grew up working on the family farm and was an eminent champion at marbles, winning a bounty of some 20 marbles a day at “keepsies.” To this day he maintains an immense collection of his winnings. At Parowan High, he was a multi-sport athlete and student body president, went on to the College of Southern Utah (SUU), and in 1954 began a 33-year career in education that began with him teaching and serving as principal in a variety of schools. Those included several of Iron County’s elementary schools and BYU’s laboratory school as well as Cedar High. He spent a year at SUSC working in student services before beginning an 18-year career as superintendent of Iron County schools and is most proud of his championing of individualized instruction in the district. He earned a master’s degree from USU and a doctorate from BYU.

Suzanne Cardon Morris, while born in Logan, grew up in Cedar City and was an active student at Cedar High. She enjoyed journeying to Parowan’s Brown Derby roller rink, where she made a few turns around the rink with a local boy named Clair, and the two were married on September 7, 1951, a few months after she graduated from high school, and have now been married for nearly 67 years. She and Clair raised four children (and now have 19 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren) and in 1971, Suzanne earned a bachelor’s degree in business education, and taught at Cedar High and Junior High. She subsequently became the secretary of SUSC Dean of Education A.W. Stephenson, and later embarked on a new career as among the first two-full-time employees of the Utah Shakespeare Festival as administrative assistant to Fred Adams and then as a stalwart of the finance area of the festival where she was a pivotal figure in the vaunted program’s growth.

In retirement, the Morrises run their farm, which they purchased from Clair’s father in 1977, and produce some 300 tons of hay per year. Highly active in University activities, they enjoy Thunderbird sports as well as campus cultural events. Clair served a year as president of the Alumni Association and each makes a decided contribution to the success of the SUU Emeriti Association. The couple served an LDS mission to Vladivostok, Russia, in 1995. They are proud of the fact that three of their children have graduated from SUU, that many of their grandchildren have attended, and that they now have a great-grandchild who is a Thunderbird.

The Morrises were presented with the Carmen Rose Hepworth Alumni Award during the 2018 Thunderbird Awards Ceremony. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

SUU to Corporate Communications

Even though Karen Golberg Parker was born and raised in Woodland Hills, California, her ties to Cedar City and Southern Utah University run deep.

Both of her maternal great-grandfathers, Daniel Macfarlane and William Dix, were instrumental in the formation and early construction of SUU, and their names are listed on the founder’s plaque that hangs in Old Main today. Perhaps Karen’s destiny was to attend SUU all along.

SUU Founder's plaque inside
Old Main. Daniel Macfarlane
and William Dix were "hod
carriers" which means they
both carried supplies to the
bricklayers and stonemasons. 
In fact, she says today that she does not remember a time that she did not want to attend SUU. When Karen was just a little girl, her family would visit Cedar City often, primarily to attend family reunions on her mother’s side, and it was during those visits that her love of the campus and the idea of attending school here took root and began to grow.

Karen enrolled at SUU (then SUSC) in the fall of 1981 as an English literature major. While most of her friends assumed Karen would become an educator, she was not so sure. A chance job with The Thunderbird student newspaper showed her a career path that, ultimately, was perfect for her.

At the beginning of her junior year Karen’s friend Stewart Smith (’85), who was the editor-in-chief of The Thunderbird, mentioned that the newspaper was looking for a copy editor. The job entailed proofreading and editing the paper before it was sent to print. A self-proclaimed “proud grammar nerd,” Karen thought the job sounded fun and she was hired.

“This was another benefit of being a student at a smaller university,” she says. “I doubt I would have ever sought this out at a larger school.”

Karen gives a big shout-out to Larry Baker, the newspaper advisor, for teaching her so much about grammar and proofreading. She loved the entire student-newspaper experience.

After graduation, Karen began the process of finding employment. It was her writing samples and copy editing experience at SUU that landed her a job in the marketing department at a large bank in Beverly Hills, California, working in employee and corporate communications. After she had worked for the bank for a couple of years, it become apparent that her department needed more help and so the hiring process began. And who should happen to apply for that position?  None other than Karen’s friend from SUU, Stewart Smith! Karen hired Stewart (he was the most qualified for the position) and they enjoyed working together again for several years. A true example of T-Birds helping T-Birds!

Today, Karen works as a senior communications specialist in the marketing department at Loring Ward, a financial services business in California’s Silicon Valley that has more than $17 billion in assets under management. Her job entails writing and editing materials for her company’s financial advisors and their clients. The company is located in San Jose, California, but she works from home and travels to the office once a month.

Reflecting on her time as a student at SUU, Karen fondly remembers many wonderful experiences, such as attending the M*A*S*H finale party, participating in student dances, and working with the staff of The Thunderbird all night long, on many occasions, to get the newspaper to print by deadline. She keeps in touch with several of her SUU friends including Elyce Jones Schmutz (’85) and Tracy Dewsnup Page (’84), with whom she did once did a Saturday Night Live skit at a campus activity with Karen playing the part of Jane Curtin to Tracy’s Roseanne Roseannadanna. It was a hilarious and memorable college moment.   

When it came to academics, she loved her English classes, particularly those taught by Dave Lee and Sarah Solberg, along with business classes from Professor Gary Giles. Karen graduated from SUU in 1984 with a degree in English literature and a minor in business administration.

Karen married Matt Parker in 1990, and they have four children: Jessica (Gwilliam), Sarah, Will, and Alex. The family has lived in California’s Simi Valley since 1998 and will soon move to Denton, Texas, where she will continue to work from home for Loring Ward and looks forward to discovering what SUU connections await her in Texas. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ron Bliss to Agriculture Export Manager

Ron Bliss, like a great many alumni, belongs to a strong SUU legacy family that through the years has been an enthusiastic advocate of T-Bird Nation. 

A graduate of Spanish Fork High School and transfer student from Stevens-Henager Business College, Ron graduated from SUU (then SUSC) in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was introduced to the institution by his father, Ferron Bliss, who attended the BAC from 1938 to 1939 and was student body president, a fullback for the Thunderbird football squad and a member of Adagio, a dance and performing group coached by LaVeve Whetten. In addition to his father, Ron’s aunt and several cousins are also members of the Thunderbird family.

Ferron Bliss, BAC Football Team
While a student, Ron was an active member of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), a campus business club then under the direction of Professor Doris Williamson. He helped organize PBL’s Business Person of the Year Banquet, worked on homecoming floats, and decorated the organization’s Christmas tree for the annual Christmas Tree Walk. Through his PBL experience Ron created some of his closest friendships and today stays in touch with those friends. 

In 1983, Ron represented SUU at the Utah State PBL Convention/Competition winning first place in the business administration category, and was among five first-place winners from SUU that year, a record for the Thunderbirds at the time. All five individuals went on to represent the state of Utah at the national PBL convention in San Francisco that summer, and each finished in the top 10, with Ron and two others finishing in the top three in the national competition.

PBL Conference in San Francisco, CA
“It was a great way to end my college career at SUU,” he says of the experience. 

Following graduation, Ron decided to stay in Cedar City and took a job with the Leavitt Group, a step he credits for “turning him into an accountant,” which was a career path he had never anticipated. 

After several years there, Ron pursued another opportunity elsewhere but found that his heart longed for southern Utah, and so he returned, eventually landing in Enterprise, Utah, working for Holt farms in exports and, you guessed it, accounting. Ron oversees the exporting of agriculture products to the Pacific Rim, along with accounting, scheduling, safety, insurance, IT, and regulatory compliance.

Ron credits his SUU professors and their encouragement and care that taught him how to learn and how to study. Besides the aforementioned Williamson, among his favorite teachers were Richard Dotson, Dean Harold Hiskey, Vic Isbell.

He says that among the things he learned about himself at SUU is “that great things can happen when you step outside of your comfort zone and try something new and challenging.” He found that his empowering professors were ever supportive of him trying something new. 

His favorite place on campus, he says, was the War Memorial Field House (1950-1986), which held fond memories of SUSC basketball games and concerts. 

Ron Bliss Family
Ron and his wife, Trina, have two sons. His oldest, Cameron, lives in Enterprise, Utah, with his wife and three daughters, and his second son, Riley, continued the family legacy and attended SUU for his first year of college and currently attends the University of Arizona. 

An Enterprise volunteer EMT for 18 years, Ron loves serving in his community and has a special interest in amateur radios. He holds an Amateur Extra Class license that spun from a licensing class at SUU.

Ron comes back to campus often and maintains a strong connection to the University, cheering on the Thunderbird football team at both home and away games while proudly wearing his SUU red. For the last several years, he and his two college roommates Scott Johnson (’84) and John Reidhead (’83) make an annual pilgrimage to SUU for homecoming.

Monday, June 11, 2018

SUU to Public Service

Knowing she could make a difference in her community, Brooke Broadhead Christensen ran for public office and was elected last November to the city council in Sandy, Utah.

“I wasn’t happy with the direction of my city so instead of complaining and doing nothing, I decided to get involved,” she says. “I wanted to try and make positive changes in Sandy City.”

Brooke is focused on remembering that her job is working for the citizens of Sandy City and representing their best interests at weekly city council meetings. She spends ample time researching, presenting, and then voting on issues at those meetings, and also holds community meetings to stay accessible to residents in her district.

A graduate of Utah’s Jordan High School, Brooke enrolled at Southern Utah University in the fall of 1996. She was a double major in business administration and communication, graduated from SUU in 2000, and went on to earn an MBA from Westminster College in 2003. For 10 years she worked in supply chain management before becoming a stay-at-home mom for seven years. Now, she is proud to call herself Mom and Council Member Christensen.

“I loved my time at SUU,” she exclaims. “Being able to get involved in so many areas that were outside my comfort zone gave me confidence to try new things. SUU also taught me to work together with diverse groups of people and find middle ground. SUU also encouraged me to ask questions and explore options before making a decision. All of these things have helped me manage international supply chains for major companies and to navigate the interpersonal relationships on the city council.”

Brooke loves spending time with her husband Ben and their three children, and enjoys reading, and the whirlwind of carpools, PTA, girl and boy scouts, little league (of all sorts), LDS church service, the Arthritis Foundation (her daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 3), and, of course, the city council.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

SUU to Manager at Utah Office of the State Auditor

Upon taking his first accounting class in high school, Jeremy Walker knew he was hooked. So following graduation from Utah’s Tooele High School, he brought that love of numbers to SUU and became an accountant. Today, he is the manager of his native local government division of the Utah Office of the State Auditor.

“I have always been good with numbers. I just knew this was my thing,” he explains of becoming an accountant. “There are many jobs I am glad I don’t have to do, and I know many feel that way about accounting, so I do this and thank them for doing what they’re good at.”

Jeremy’s team at the Utah Office of the State Auditor provides training and guidance, and monitors financial reporting for more than 1,000 local government entities including cities, towns, and counties, as well as local and special service districts. He has established himself as an expert in the field, and he enjoys helping other government accountants, auditors, and elected officials understand the laws concerning government spending and to navigate difficult situations.

“I feel like I can make a difference every day when I go to work,” he says.

Jeremy graduated from SUU in 2000 with a bachelor of arts degree in accountancy, and earned a master’s degree in accountancy the following year. He loved his experience at SUU and says his memories revolve around three things: The beautiful campus and surrounding public lands; the strong friendships he made that continue to this day; and the professors and staff that truly made the student experience their top priority.

He credits SUU for giving him the technical knowledge he needed to succeed in his field, opportunities to develop leadership skills that have benefited his employers and community ever since, and an understanding that what he had to offer had a place in any organization.

“Accountants are nerds,” he says. “But the world needs a good nerd to keep track of its money.”

Jeremy and his wife Melissa, along with their four children, live in Stansbury Park in Tooele County, where he enjoys hiking the scenic Oquirrh Mountains, beautifying his yard, and squeezing in a round of golf now and then.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

SUU to Domestic Relations Attorney

Jennifer Durcan Andrews is making her mark in the Puget Sound region as partner in Andrews & Arbenz, PLLC, a boutique law firm in Old Town Tacoma. Jen specializes in domestic relations, which means she covers everything from divorces to surrogacy contracts, and de facto parentage to same-sex adoptions.

A recognized leader throughout her career, Jen has served as president of several professional organizations and will soon begin her term as president of the Robert J. Bryan Chapter of the American Inns of Court, an organization which fosters excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills.  Jen won a 2017 Community Service Award from the Tacoma Pierce County Bar Association, was voted “Best Lawyer” in 2015 by South Sound Magazine, and was recognized as a “40 Under 40” in 2014 by the Business Examiner magazine.

Originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, Jen arrived at SUU on scholarship in the fall of 1994. She chose history as her major and combined it with a political science minor. She also took a variety of English literature and social science classes, which were areas of personal interest to her. Following SUU graduation in 1999, Jen enrolled at UNLV’s William S. Boyd School of Law and earned a juris doctorate in 2002.

Following law school graduation, Jen’s heart was with the civil legal aid community, which is how she ended up in Seattle. “I loved helping the underserved and empowering people with legal knowledge and action,” she says.

Jen went to a private firm taking these sorts of cases, doing family law, bankruptcy, and some general civil litigation. After about five years, she was ready for a change and got a job with the prosecutor’s office. She stayed there five years and then decided to branch out to form Andrews & Arbenz, PLLC. This current iteration of Jen’s career is “the first time I haven’t become dissatisfied with a job, which I think is due to the control I have over it and my level of experience.”

Of running her own business, Jen says, “I have the best employer on earth. My boss is super smart, kind, funny, and has the best clothes. It’s me!” she exclaims. “I have been a partner in my firm for a little over six years. I love the flexibility of it and being my own boss. I also love managing people. Sometimes it can be difficult, because running a business and practicing law are two very different things, and sometimes the values of those two things can conflict. But I love a challenge, and every day there is (at least) one waiting for me.”

Jen looks back on her undergraduate days at SUU as an excellent training ground for becoming a successful attorney and business owner.

“The hands-on education at SUU was invaluable. I was taught by PhDs, not teaching assistants. My professors knew my name, and would call me out when I was missing class too much or not giving my all,” she says. “My academics were as rigorous, if not more so, than many others I know who have gone to bigger name schools. SUU taught me to study; I never really needed to until college, and my chosen areas of study really taught me how to think critically.  Frankly, my job boils down to one thing: I fix problems. To do this, I must be objective. I must have the ability to think critically, to distinguish facts, and to pick apart an argument. I began learning to do this in my history, English, and sociology classes at SUU.”

She also learned lot about herself as a student at SUU and discovered who she was and found her voice. Jen learned how to navigate life, how to befriend and respect people whose beliefs were different from her own, when to speak and when to keep quiet, and numerous other long-lasting lessons. As a member of Alpha Phi and a student senator in SUUSA, Jen gained confidence and a desire to help others.

“My SUU friends are the best. I still keep in contact with many of them and travel with some of them,” she says. “They continue to teach me about myself every time we get together.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

SUU to State Basketball Championships

Curtis & Clint Barney

Brothers Clint and Curtis Barney were raised in Panguitch, Utah, and both grew up loving sports. Today, they both coach basketball at Panguitch High School where Curtis coaches the girls team and Clint the boys, and both won a state championship in 2018.

Curtis Barney
Curtis graduated from Panguitch High School in 1980. After serving an LDS mission in Indiana, he married his wife Cindy, a native of Bountiful, Utah, and she convinced him to move to Salt Lake City and complete an accounting degree at Salt Lake Community College, which he did. However, Curtis’ heart was in southern Utah, and he then convinced Cindy that they should move to Cedar City to attend SUU (SUSC at the time) where Curtis earned his bachelor’s degree in business education. Said Curtis, “This was one of those monumental moves that forever changed my life, as I was able to find my way back to my hometown and begin my career.”

While at SUU, Curtis had many wonderful instructors who helped him. 

“They were so personable and it felt like each instructor was there to help just me,” he explains. “The SUU experience for me was great. I remember small class sizes while attending and building great relationships with the instructors. I remember one instructor telling me if I was going to be a teacher I had to quit talking like I was from Panguitch; they knew their students well.”   

Curtis especially enjoyed Dr. Steve Lunt. Even though his major was not in Dr. Lunt’s physical education department, he continued to take as many classes as he could from him. 

“My time at SUU prepared me not only for my career in education, but also continued to build my love for kids and athletics, especially basketball,” says Curtis. “SUU really taught me how important the teaching and coaching professions are, and how important it is to build student confidence.” 

In 1993, Curtis took the head coaching job at Panguitch High School for girls basketball.  He said, “I soon found out that girls will work just as hard has the boys and are very eager to learn and get better. I have enjoyed my 25+ years being a part of the girls basketball program at Panguitch High School.” 

Coach Barney has led the Lady Bobcats to a record-tying 11 state championship titles.

“I would like to thank all my players, their parents, other coaches I have crossed paths with, and most of all my wife and children,” he says. “They have been by my side through all these years and have been so supportive of me. It takes special people to be involved in the life of a coach.”

Curtis and Cindy have four wonderful children, Amanda, Tyler, Brady, and Chelsea.

Clint Barney
Clint graduated from Panguitch High School in 1988, and married his wife Missy after completing an LDS mission in England. The couple has six children, and they enjoy spending time together in the outdoors and playing sports. 

“I’m proud of all six of my children and the joy that they bring into my life,” he states.

Clint is currently head boys basketball coach at Panguitch High School where he also serves as athletic director and teaches math. From an early age, Clint knew that he wanted his career to involve being around youth and making a positive impact in their lives.

While at SUU, Clint studied secondary education. His experience at SUU taught him that hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice are the characteristics needed to accomplish worthwhile goals. Of his time at SUU Clint reflects, “I was well prepared to enter into the education field because of the preparation given to me by the professors at SUU.”

When talking about his career highlights, Clint says, “Professionally, I’m proud that I’m able to represent Panguitch High School as a teacher and a coach. I have been involved in many state championship games in both baseball and basketball and have enjoyed sharing those memories with players, fans, and our community. In the classroom, I am proud of the students that I teach and the success that they have had in building their knowledge for the future.”  

Clint believes that SUU prepared him well for his career. “I enjoyed the experience I had at SUU,” he explains. “I enjoyed the small class sizes and the opportunity I had to know each one of my instructors. SUU taught me how to have a great work ethic and prepared me well to enter into the work force.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

SUU to Dental Practice Owner

Larry Parker (’95) began his college career at SUU as a theatre arts major, and even, in addition, had aspirations of one day working for the forest service. But a change in major to biology set Larry on a path that has led him to Minnesota, where he is now the owner of his own dental practice specializing in general dentistry and orthodontics.

He attended South Sevier High in Monroe, Utah, and Cedar City High School before enrolling at SUU in the fall of 1990. But before Larry stepped on campus, he had his doubts about SUU and wondered about the quality of education he would receive here. He even saw SUU as his “backup plan.”

“I was wrong,” he now says. “I came to realize that learning in a small class atmosphere at bargain tuition is truly priceless. It was an experience that I did not fully understand nor appreciate until I moved to a metropolitan area, attended a large learning institution, and became a number instead of a person.”

Among his many highlights as an SUU student was reinforcing life-long friendships with people like Stewart Clarke (’95), Shon Wilson (’98), and Daniel Cotts (’93), as well as forging new relationships with Darris Clark, Ben Baldwin (’95), and Regan Wilson (’96). Those relationships alone, (thanks in part to Sigma Chi) cause Larry to call himself blessed for making his way to SUU.

He is also grateful to SUU for showing him new ideas and different ways of thinking.

“I was able to be exposed to thinking and ideas that were different and directly in conflict with my own, forcing me to grow as a person as well as a student,” he explains.

To those currently attending SUU, Larry encourages spending plenty of time enjoying clubs and organizations.

“Go out of your comfort zone and experience different viewpoints on life,” he says. “You should also Go Greek, even if ‘it’s not my thing.’”

Larry also met his wife, Shannon Bennett (’98), at SUU and credits her for seeing potential in him what he could not see himself, and refusing to allow him to be satisfied with mediocrity.

“I owe everything to her,” he says.

The couple resides in Mankato, Minnesota, and has three kids, Jordan age 20 (and a sophomore at SUU), Jack age 10, and Sammy age 8.

When not working on teeth, Larry enjoys traveling, scuba diving, snorkeling, golfing, and running marathons with his family.

Monday, February 26, 2018

SUU to NCAA Basketball Coach

Although his job requires him to wear a rival institution's colors, Utah State's Associate Head Men's Basketball Coach Tarvish Felton (’99) admits, "Choosing to go to SUU was the single best thing I did for my life."

Tarvish grew up an hour and a half south of Atlanta in a small town called Perry, Georgia, and, along with his older sister, was raised by his mother and grandmother. From an early age, these strong role models instilled in Tarvish a desire to serve and give back. Initially, he believed a white coat and stethoscope would be his calling, but eventually decided on a different uniform.

"When I was a kid, I always wanted to be a doctor,” he says. “As I got older, I continued to develop a passion for sports, and basketball specifically. Growing up in a single parent home and being around others in the same situation, I realized the men in our lives were our coaches."

Recruited to Southern Utah University by Bill Evans (’73), Tarvish became a charismatic and dominant figure representing the Thunderbirds on the basketball court. During each season spent as #21 for SUU, Tarvish ranked in the top ten in points, rebounds, free throws, steals, and blocked shots.

"Meeting Bill Evans and having the opportunity to play for him and learn life's lessons was the best thing I could have done,” he says. “To this day, I continue to have amazing relationships with all the wonderful people from all walks of life I met on campus. SUU opened the world to a small town black kid from the south, and I am forever grateful."

Tarvish has been teaching the T-Bird philosophies he learned from his academic and athletic pursuits to student athletes in Los Angeles, Laredo, and Sacramento before settling into ten years as part of the Utah State Men's Basketball program. In Logan, he oversees every phase of the program from recruitment, student-athlete development, scheduling, academics, and compliance.  And, he credits SUU for influencing his coaching style.

"It gave me the tools to go out and succeed in the world. Being a student-athlete at SUU allowed me to be me, to write my own story,” he explains. “Now, I am able to share that story with the young men I am fortunate enough to engage with on a daily basis."

While Southern Utah University helped Tavish capitalize on his desire to impact future generations, he says the greatest lesson he learned from his time in Cedar City is work ethic and chivalry.

"The thing I learned more than anything about myself at Southern Utah is that if you work hard and treat people right, you can achieve anything," he says.

Tarvish is proud of his time at Southern Utah University and the education that has helped him be a positive influence on the student-athletes who cross his path.  But what really makes him smile is his family. He is married to the former Jana Doggett and the couple has two children, DeAubrey (18) and Deekan (3), who is already showing some potential with a basketball and sure would look good in Thunderbird red.

Monday, February 12, 2018

SUU to Police Officer

Crystal Bingham likes shoes and admits that she probably has more heels in her closet than the nearest shoe store has in stock.

But she also is perfectly comfortable in a pair of cleats on the softball field, spikes on the golf course, or tactical shoes for her police work. The ability to excel in very different roles and opportunities in her life is what made Southern Utah University the perfect choice for a diverse college experience.

Crystal grew up in the White Mountains in a town called Show Low, Arizona, but she was truly raised on the softball field. The youngest of five children, she spent her days attending her older sisters' softball practices, clinics, and private lessons imitating her sibling’s motions from the sidelines.

"It was always my goal to be better than my sisters who were both amazing ball players,” she says. “And after my collegiate softball career ended, I took up golf and quickly found out that I have a new hobby that I can do for years to come to satisfy my competitive nature!"

After her time in Arizona, Crystal finished up high school in Preston, Idaho, where her father took a job as the principal and athletic director. It was during her time at West Side High School, that Southern Utah's softball program took notice.

"From the day Coach Laurel Simmons walked into my house to recruit me to be a Thunderbird, I knew I would decline all my other scholarship offers to play for any other school,” she explains. “I had eleven total offers and chose SUU not only for the appeal of the university and the town, but because I wanted to play for a coach I trusted."

Once on campus, Crystal developed an interest in criminal justice and cites great professors and mentors for helping her become a police officer in Buffalo Grove, Illinois. She just started her twelfth year as a Buffalo Grove Police officer in the patrol division.

"My day to day duties are never the same, which is why I love what I do,” she says of her job. “I respond to calls, enforce traffic, and am a field training officer, which means I train the new officers we hire and show them the ropes as well as part of the recruitment team which recruits future officers to our agency from various career fairs and colleges. I am also a DUI/SFST instructor and a Rapid Deployment instructor which involves police response to high stress situations such as active shooter scenarios, room/building clearing, etc..."

Crystal credits her professors at SUU for teaching her how to apply her education to real life. 

"You're in your late teens and early twenties thinking criminal justice is just like an episode of CSI or Law & Order when really it's nothing like that,” she says. “I felt like my professors had real life experience and knowledge of the topics they were teaching me and weren't just reading from a textbook."

In conjunction with the "real world" education she received from Southern Utah University, Crystal believes the qualities Thunderbird athletics taught her also play a vital role in her success.  

"Benefits are endless as a student athlete at SUU," she says. "Learning to balance a busy life all while maintaining the highest level of physical fitness, grades to maintain scholarships, and meeting academic deadlines when you're busing traveling the country for games and competing with elite athletes taught me how to excel in all areas of life. I have respect for those who have mentored me in my athletic career. As a training officer with my police department, I always say the easiest rookies to train are the ones with some type of athletic or military background because they are used to a discipline that many others may not be and they look at you as their coach."

Crystal believes she has become an effective "coach" in her career because of the lessons she learned at Southern Utah University. She uses her life experience and desire to seek out diverse opportunities to inspire the next generation of police officers.

"One reality check for me in college was that I HAD to study and Coach Simmons made sure we did," she explains. "I think here I learned discipline, focus, and balancing a heaving work load--all of which are the tools that I use every day in my life now, I am grateful beyond words for those lessons. I learned that opportunities aren't always given, sometimes you need to seek them out, SUU taught me that I can always do more than I think I'm capable of."

Southern Utah taught Crystal how to manage wearing all those different shoes in her life, and while it's challenging, she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I am engaged to the love of my life, who is also a police officer and proudly serving as a Captain in the Army National Guard. Though extremely busy at times, we live an awesome life."

Monday, January 8, 2018

SUU to Larry H. Miller Utah Summer Games Exec

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. 

SUU to Government and Econ High School Teacher

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.