Dixon Awards Honor Distinguished WSU Faculty and Staff
OGDEN, Utah – Steven Nabor, associate vice president for financial services and Chief Financial Officer, and Julie Rich, geography professor and College of Social & Behavioral Sciences associate dean are the 2019 recipients of the Weber State University Alumni Association’s H. Aldous Dixon Award. The two will be formally recognized at a luncheon in their honor March 20 at noon in the Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall.
Steven Nabor ’81
Steven Nabor’s Weber State story began on the opening day of fall quarter 1977, when the befuddled, first-generation high school graduate mistakenly called his professor Dr. Staff. (His confusion owing to the course catalog’s practice of listing classes with unassigned instructors as being taught by “staff.”) In that singularly embarrassing moment — one which haunts him to this day — Nabor could never have imagined that four years later, he’d graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in accounting; nor could he have foreseen his illustrious 35-year professional career at Weber State.
Nabor was initially hired as a staff internal auditor, but his formidable knowledge of finance and innovative approach to problem solving prompted a stream of promotions. At each new level of responsibility, from director of Internal Audit to controller to senior associate vice president for Financial Services to chief financial officer, Nabor wielded a dogged determination to cultivate a financial environment where teaching and learning could flourish.
Throughout his career, Nabor has looked beyond existing policies to bring about changes that benefit students. Early on, for example, he discovered the university’s practice of paying student workers once a month instead of twice a month, like salaried employees. He felt the practice inflicted an unfair financial burden on vulnerable students. So, when he became a financial manager, Nabor made it a priority to introduce an every-other-week payroll schedule for student workers, despite the administrative savings associated with a monthly payroll.
When Weber State transitioned from an academic quarter schedule to a semester schedule, Nabor spearheaded an installment option for students struggling to make heftier tuition payments. During federal government shutdowns, Nabor helped deploy intervention strategies to mitigate financial hardships for thousands of students who received financial aid.
Through creative reorganization and investment, Nabor helped reverse the bookstore’s “cash cow” image. He provided administrative support to the Day One Access program, which delivers electronic course materials to students at heavily discounted prices. To commemorate the bookstore’s 100-year anniversary, Nabor assisted in the design, financing and installation of the iconic Flaming “W” Rock. The 9-foot-tall, 65,000-pound boulder has become a popular gathering spot and photo op for students.
Although Nabor’s job often requires him to say no, his collaborative nature, positive attitude, leadership skills, tenacity and commitment to student success help him navigate turbulent encounters.
Julie Rich ’81
Those still clinging to the outmoded stereotype of university faculty being locked in the “ivory tower” of academia, have obviously never met Weber State’s globe-trotting, powerhouse professor Julie Rich.
Rich, a Weber State alumna who graduated cum laude in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in geography, earned a master’s degree from the University of Utah and a Ph.D. in geography from St. John’s College, a constituent college of England’s famed University of Oxford.
Her superb, collaborative teaching has garnered prestigious honors, including the Crystal Crest Master Teacher and Hemingway Faculty Excellence awards. For her outstanding mentoring of WSU students, she received the John A. Lindquist Award. Rich consistently earns near-perfect evaluation scores from her students. Her research and presentations are internationally acclaimed; her expert opinions on everything from climate change to sustainable construction to green mapping are sought after at home and abroad.
Rich’s crusade to enrich a student’s “Weber State experience” through service learning activities underscores her longtime association with the university. Her initiation and direction of WSU’s Global Community Engaged Learning program, for example, have benefitted more than 200 WSU students, alumni and faculty, and countless indigenous people in Rwanda, Mozambique, Thailand, Peru, Uganda, and soon Fiji. To help fund these humanitarian efforts, Rich and her students have raised more than $220,000. Inspired by her stint as a United Nations consultant, Rich created a student program called Global Education Opportunity. Participants spend a semester in Geneva researching global challenges and attending U.N. meetings. Next, they travel to less-developed countries to gain deeper understanding of the world and its challenges, and a desire to bring about positive change.
To help students acquire the critical thinking skills necessary for today’s workforce, Rich promotes undergraduate research. Many of her students have assisted her fieldwork, conducted lab experiments and presented their findings at conferences.
Rich leads the College of Social & Behavioral Science’s efforts to utilize Starfish, a program aimed at improving student retention rates. She also reviews the college’s online courses to improve effectiveness and educational content. During the recent renovation of the Social Science building (now named Lindquist Hall), Rich worked closely with architects, contractors and interior designers to meet the classroom, study space, equipment and laboratory needs of WSU students, faculty and staff.
Dixon Award History
Each year since 1970, the Alumni Association has honored outstanding members of WSU’s faculty and staff with an award bestowed in memory of President Dixon, who served as the school’s chief administrator from 1919 to 1920, and from 1937 to 1953. Dixon Award recipients have demonstrated careers of excellence and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support students.
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