OGDEN, Utah – Gordon T. Allred, professor of English, and Joel A. Bass, head athletic trainer, are the recipients of the Weber State University Alumni Association’s 2011 H. Aldous Dixon Awards. Both men will be formally recognized at a luncheon in their honor March 1.
Throughout his childhood, Allred remembers calling former Weber College President Dixon, “Uncle Aldous.” Allred’s parents both taught at Weber when faculty members lived on the old downtown campus and held official meetings in each other’s living rooms. “There was truly a sense of familial connection back then,” Allred said.
After a four-year stint as a writer for the U.S. Forest Service Intermountain Region, Allred began teaching English at Weber State College in 1963. “I’ve always come to Weber with a sense of hope, expectation and excitement,” said Allred, who encourages his students to be empathetic human beings as well as enthusiastic scholars.
As an altruist, Allred puts theory into practice. For an extended period during the 1980s, for example, he and his wife, Sharon, sheltered more than 20 Southeast Asian refugees. No easy enterprise given that nine of the couple’s 11 children were still living at home.
Allred’s love of the written language is evident in his award-winning publications. “Kamikaze: A Japanese Pilot’s Own Spectacular Story of the Infamous Suicide Squadrons” is an international best-seller and has been published in multiple languages. “Starfire” won first place in the Utah Fine Arts Creative Writing Contest. In 1990, the League of Utah Writers named Allred “Author of the Year.” A former associate editor for “The Improvement Era” magazine, Allred also co-authored a nationally syndicated medical column and has written numerous short stories. In his 1980 narrative, “My Home Runneth Over,” Allred chronicles some of his sizeable brood’s more memorable adventures.
Allred is a fifth-degree black belt in Kenpo Karate — an accomplishment he values as much as the doctorate degree in creative writing and modern literature he earned from the University of Utah. “It’s not about being a tough guy,” Allred said with a laugh. “Karate taught me a lot about the old Hemingway tradition of grace under pressure.”
Allred plans to retire from WSU in April.
Twenty years ago, Joel Bass came to Weber State with a purpose. At that time, most students who wanted to become certified athletic trainers would major in a related field, accumulate 1,600 hours of practical experience through internships, and then take a national exam. Bass thought there must be a better way. “The internship route always left some holes,” he explained. “I felt that establishing an athletic training major at Weber would fill those gaps.”
Thanks in large part to Bass’ vision, hard work and determination, WSU now offers both undergraduate and graduate programs in athletic training. Bass is considered the driving force behind developing the curriculum and assembling the administrative staff.
Bass is in his 20th season as head athletic trainer, working primarily with the Wildcat football and men’s basketball teams. His resolve to safeguard the physical and emotional well-being of student athletes is relentless. As former president of the Utah Athletic Trainers Association, Bass vigorously supported the statewide push to make sure every Utah high school has a certified athletic trainer on staff.
Athletics has always been a part of Bass’ life. The son of a former high school football coach, Bass participated in football, basketball, baseball and track as a teen, and earned a spot on the football squad at Ricks College.
Born in Alvin, Texas, Bass earned a bachelor’s degree in exercise science at Utah State University, and a master’s degree in athletic training from Indiana State University. He was the assistant athletic trainer at Montana State University before moving to Ogden. Bass is involved in the local community, serving on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board of the Weber County Sheriff’s Department and as an instructor for South Ogden City’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program. He and his wife, Beth, have two children.
Each year since 1970, the H. Aldous Dixon Award honors outstanding members of WSU’s faculty and staff in memory of President Dixon, who served as the school’s chief administrator from 1919 to 1920, and again from 1937 to 1953. Award recipients have demonstrated careers of excellence and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support students.
The 2011 H. Aldous Dixon Awards Luncheon is on March 1, at noon at the Hurst Center for Lifelong Learning on WSU’s Ogden campus. The public is invited. Cost is $12 per person. RSVP before Feb. 23 at alumni.weber.edu/dixonlunch or call 801-626-7535.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
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- Lynell Gardner, executive director, WSU Alumni Relations
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- Karin Hurst, office of media relations
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