OGDEN, Utah – Eugene G. Bozniak, professor and former chair of Weber State University’s Department of Botany, and Ben Read, WSU payroll manager, are the recipients of the WSU Alumni Association’s 2010 H. Aldous Dixon Awards.
Both men will be formally recognized at a luncheon in their honor March 9.
For 27 years Read has been in charge of one of the most critical processes on campus. “Payroll is the reason people come to work,” he said.
After starting at Weber State in 1981 in the accounting office, Read was named payroll manager in 1983. He has effectively transitioned his office through a number of major changes since then, including two software conversions and the implementation of direct deposit, which he considers his greatest accomplishment at WSU.
“That was a challenging implementation,” he said. “You had to coordinate with the bank, sell employees on the benefits of direct deposit and ensure them of its security.”
Seeing various technological advancements while at WSU, Read has had less and less paper move through his office. “Probably not too far down the line the university will be spearheading an effort to go completely paperless – 100 percent direct deposit and electronic notices,” he said.
Looking back, Read’s most gratifying experiences have come while working with good people on his staff.
Throughout his career Read and the payroll office have received numerous awards, including special recognition from USA Today and the Rochester Institute of Technology for WSU’s automated timecard system. Read was honored with the WSU Administrative Services Outstanding Performance Award in 2004, 2007 and 2008. He was named one of the two WSU Presidential Outstanding Professionals in 2009.
For Bozniak, a one-or-two-year stint south of his homeland turned into a 41-year teaching career at Weber State.
Bozniak, a native of Alberta, Canada, came to Weber State in 1969, following his PhD studies at Washington University, St. Louis. He planned to stay at the college for a year or two and then head back to Canada.
“When I found out that I was here longer than I had lived in Canada, then this became home,” he said.
Bozniak served as the chair of the Department of Botany
for 27 years and received a number of awards, including being named Weber State’s Presidential Distinguished Professor in 1985. He was honored with the Spencer L. Seager Distinguished Teaching Award in the College of Science in 1995, the George and Beth Lowe Innovative Teaching Award in 2001 and was selected for the fourth annual Last Lecture in 2007.
Looking back, Bozniak considers one of his greatest accomplishments to be creating a class called Environment Appreciation. He started the class in 1970 with 30 students enrolled. It eventually grew to 1,000 students enrolled per year.
Bozniak’s research outside of the classroom has taken him all over the world, including a leave in 1976 when he served as a consulting hydrobiologist for the government of Kenya. “I’ve always tried to bring back something for the students,” he said. Now that Bozniak has cut back to teaching half time, he plans to travel more and give more presentations about his trips to students.
When Bozniak first started at Weber State, there were 6,000 students enrolled. He played a big part in recruiting students into the botany department. Bozniak said being a part of the growth of the institution has been a great experience.
Named in memory of the former Weber College president, the H. Aldous Dixon Awards have been presented annually since 1970 to honor WSU faculty and staff members who have demonstrated careers of excellence and gone above and beyond the call of duty to support students. Dixon served as president of Weber College from 1919 to 1920, and again from 1937 to 1953.
Anyone interested in attending the Dixon Awards luncheon should call 801-626-7535. Seats at the luncheon are $15 each.
- Lynell Gardner, director Alumni Relations
(801) 626-7535 • firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jonathan McBride, office of Media Relations
801-626-6347 • email@example.com