WSU Names 2008 Honorary Degree RecipientsOGDEN, Utah – During its 131st commencement, Weber State University will award honorary degrees to the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Utah; a world leader in nutrition technology; a former WSU professor who was instrumental during the creation of the school’s Bachelor of Integrated Studies program; and a former educator and philanthropic alumna who was the first female editor of the student newspaper in the 1940s.
The recipients are: Carolyn Tanner Irish of Salt Lake City; H. DeWayne Ashmead of Fruit Heights; Candadai Seshachari of Ogden; and Jean Anne Waterstradt of Ogden. Their degrees will be conferred during commencement exercises May 2 at 8 a.m. at the Dee Events Center.
Carolyn Tanner Irish
At the time of her consecration in 1996, the Rt. Rev. Irish became the fourth woman in the Episcopal Church USA to be elected bishop and head a diocese. She is the spiritual leader of nearly 6,000 Episcopalians in 22 congregations in Utah and one parish in northern Arizona. Prior to Irish’s election as bishop, she served in the roles of deacon, priest and archdeacon for congregations in Michigan, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The Salt Lake City native graduated with high honors from the University of Michigan in 1962 after transferring from Stanford University. Irish received a Master of Letters degree in moral philosophy from Oxford University in 1968 and a Master of Divinity degree from the Virginia Theological Seminary in 1983. In addition to serving on the staffs of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and the Washington National Cathedral, she taught at the Edmund Burke School, the Virginia Theological Seminary and the College of Preachers. A business leader, as well, Irish chairs the board of directors for the O.C. Tanner Co. in Salt Lake City. Known for her compassion, integrity and virtue, Irish participates in numerous church and community organizations, including the Episcopal Relief and Development Fund, the Standing Commission on Christian Formation and Lifelong Learning, and the Nature Conservancy of Utah. Irish will deliver this year’s commencement address.
H. DeWayne Ashmead
Ashmead is president of Albion Laboratories, a company his father, the late Harvey Ashmead, founded in 1956. Over the years, the company has become a renowned leader in the development, manufacturing and sale of mineral products for humans, plants and animals. It is also one of the world’s major producers of patented amino acid chelated minerals and one of Utah’s largest business exporters. In his role at Albion, Ashmead has worked in cooperation with the United Nations to help develop agricultural and nutritional programs that benefit people all over the world. For his groundbreaking mineral nutrition research, Ashmead was named the Ernst & Young 2006 Entrepreneur of the Year in the health sciences/services category. The Brigham City native graduated in 1969 from Weber State College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business. He later attended Donsbach University, earning his doctorate degree in clinical nutrition in 1981. Ashmead currently serves on WSU’s National Advisory Council and has previously served on the advisory boards for the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics and Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions. An avid supporter of higher education, Ashmead established a scholarship program for single mothers and was honored at the groundbreaking of Weber State University Davis for his involvement with the project.
A professor emeritus of English at WSU, Seshachari is a widely respected educator, scholar, leader, author and role model. A native of India, he holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Osmania University. He first came to the United States in 1959 on a Fulbright Smith-Mundt fellowship to pursue a doctoral degree in American literature and culture. Seshachari earned his Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of Utah and joined the faculty of Weber State College in 1969. During his 31-year tenure, he became a highly regarded professor, earning the Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award and the Honors Eccles Professor Award. In addition, he was selected as a national Danforth Fellow for Teaching Excellence. Known also for his leadership, Seshachari played a key role in developing the university’s Bachelor of Integrated Studies degree. He was chair of the Department of English for many years and chair of the Faculty Senate several times. He was awarded the Faculty Senate Award for Outstanding Service to Faculty Governance and also received the WSU Alumni Association’s prestigious H. Aldous Dixon Award for outstanding contribution to the campus and community. Seshachari is an extensively published author, having written a book on Gandhi and a number of articles ranging in topic from William Shakespeare to ecology to Martin Luther King Jr.
Jean Anne Waterstradt
Waterstradt has a long history of service to education and WSU, starting with her attendance at Weber College in 1942. She became the first female editor of The Signpost, the campus student newspaper. It was there she began to be known as a meticulous editor. After graduating in 1943 with an associate’s degree, Waterstradt attended Brigham Young University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English. She went on to teach writing, literature and drama at BYU for 44 years and did graduate work at the University of Kansas, Columbia University and the University of Southern California. After retiring, Waterstradt returned to her hometown of Ogden, where she became active in the WSU Emeriti Alumni Council and served on the Ogden-Weber County Humane Society Board of Directors. Regarding the library as the “heart of the university,” she has been a fervent promoter and supporter of WSU’s Stewart Library, serving for many years on the Friends of the Stewart Library Board of Directors. Waterstradt established a collection of literature and criticism in the library in memory of her parents that expanded the offerings available to student and faculty researchers. Her lifelong dedication to education can be seen most recently in a scholarship endowment she created to provide financial assistance for women continuing their education at WSU.
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- Marsha Richter, commencement chair
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