WSU Names 2012 Honorary Degree Recipients

OGDEN, Utah – During its 139th commencement, Weber State University will award honorary degrees to the president and CEO of a Fortune 500 company; a retired English professor; a respected dentist and investor; and a prominent banker.

The recipients are Mark DeYoung of Peterson, Utah; Gordon Allred of Ogden; Paul Favero of Sacramento, Calif.; and Harris Simmons of Salt Lake City. Their degrees will be conferred during commencement exercises April 20 at 8 a.m. at the Dee Events Center. 

Mark W. DeYoung

DeYoung, who will deliver the commencement address, is president and CEO of ATK, an international aerospace, defense and commercial products enterprise with more than 17,000 employees and annual revenues of nearly $5 billion.

DeYoung earned his bachelor’s degree at Weber State and his master’s degree at Westminster College. He began his career as a financial analyst at the Hercules Aerospace Company in Salt Lake City during the 1980s. ATK acquired Hercules in 1995, and he rose through the management ranks to head the company’s largest business entity, the Armament Systems Group. In 2010, he was selected as ATK’s president and CEO. 

Through his leadership, DeYoung has supported the state’s economic development efforts, including the relocation of the Airbus A350 Program to Utah from Mississippi.

DeYoung’s public service experience includes membership in numerous industry trade associations, including the Board of Governors of the Aerospace Industries Association, and work with nonprofit organizations to strengthen northern Utah communities. He has advocated for higher education through his relationship with WSU’s John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics. 


  Gordon Allred

Allred is an emeritus professor of English at WSU, where he served as a faculty member for 48 years. Priorto his retirement in 2011, he was  recognized for his instructional expertise in the fields of creative writing and modern literature. He had also earned a reputation as an outstanding mentor.

Allred, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Utah, has also enjoyed great success as an author, writing more than 20 book-length biographical and fictional works, as well as numerous articles, short stories and poems. He is a former associate editor of Improvement Era Magazine and a writer for the U.S. Forest Service.

Allred’s creative accomplishments include top honors from the Utah Fine Arts Creative Writing Contest for his 1981 novel “Starfire”; the Author of the Year Award from the League of Utah Writers; the Sigma Delta Chi Award for his international bestseller “Kamikaze”; and the Ogden Mayor’s Award for Literature.

At Weber State, Allred has received the Presidential Distinguished Professor Award; the H. Aldous Dixon and Purple Paw awards; the Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award; the George and Beth Lowe Award for Innovative Teaching; and the Creative Achievement Award.

Paul Favero

During a professional career spanning more than five decades, Favero has developed a thriving dentalpractice in Sacramento. He has been equally successful in real estate investment, having founded a regional bank and developed numerous properties and business centers, including a country club resort. 

Favero is also active in the management of his 10,500-acre ranch in the San Joaquin Valley.

A 1954 Weber College alumnus, Favero earned his dentistry degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. Today, he enthusiastically supports WSU. He has served on the university’s National Advisory Council for more than a decade, and he and his wife, Jeri, are active in the newly organized WSU alumni group in Northern California.

Through the creation of the Paul and Jeri Favero Dental Hygiene Endowment Fund, Favero has benefited dental hygiene faculty and students by funding supplies, teaching materials, equipment needs, speaker stipends, and workshop and travel expenses.


Harris Simmons

Simmons is chairman, president and CEO of Zions Bancorporation, the second-largest domesticallyheadquartered bank holding company in the western United States. A Harvard Business School graduate who holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, he has been a driving force in regional economic development efforts by providing financing for many small and mid-sized businesses.

In addition to his professional accomplishments, Simmons has supported religious, medical, community, artistic and educational activities as a trustee of charitable foundations and nonprofit organizations such as Utah Youth Village, the Pioneer Theatre Company and the Alliance for Unity.

Simmons’ public service also includes membership on the boards of numerous business organizations, including Questar Corporation and the O.C. Tanner Company. He has also served as president or chairman of the Shelter the Homeless Committee Inc. of Salt Lake City, the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the Utah Symphony, the Salt Lake County Zoo, Arts and Parks authorization, and more.

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Bev Rudd, commencement chair
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John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
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