Four to Receive Honorary Degrees at WSU Commencement

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University will award honorary degrees to a CEO of one of the world’s largest lodging and hospitality companies; a former professor who pioneered online education; a former trustee and community advocate for education and the arts; and a nationally recognized volunteer advocate at the university’s 127th commencement May 4 at 6 p.m. in the Dee Events Center.

The recipients are: J. W. Marriott, Jr. of Washington, D.C.; the late Margaret O. Bennett of Bountiful; Jane Hammond Brewer of North Ogden; and Martha Ann Dumke Healy, formerly of Ogden.


Marriott is the chairman and chief executive officer of Marriott International, Inc., one of the world’s largest lodging companies.  Thanks to his leadership, the Marriott organization has grown over the past five decades from a family restaurant business into a global firm with more than 2,600 properties in 66 countries. Marriott’s public service experience includes membership on the governing boards of the Naval Academy Endowment, the National Urban League, the Boy Scouts of America, the National Business Council and the National Geographic Society. He also is chairman of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. His philanthropy through the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities has included scholarship and endowment support of Weber State University’s business, health professions and science programs. Marriott will deliver this year’s commencement address.


Bennett, who died in March 2006 shortly after being selected as an honorary degree recipient, leaves behind an indelible legacy from her 31 years as a member of the WSU Department of Telecommunications and Business Education faculty. Prior to retiring in 1999, she demonstrated unique leadership abilities during long-term service as department chairwoman as well as temporary appointments as associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the colleges of Applied Science & Technology and Business & Economics. Bennett earned a reputation as a caring professor who positively influenced the lives of thousands of students. She was a pioneer, leading the university’s transition to using computers in the classroom and its development of a bachelor’s degree program in telecommunications management. Bennett was the recipient of the H. Aldous Dixon and Hemingway Faculty Vitality awards and was named Woman of the Year in Higher Education by Your Community Connection in 1990.


Brewer is a community volunteer and leader who has earned a reputation for making good things happen in Northern Utah. Brewer’s leadership helped guide the growth of the Ogden-Weber Education Center for Handicapped Children. She also orchestrated a successful fundraising campaign for the construction of the North Branch of the Weber County Library.  Brewer also has provided exemplary leadership for the Junior League of Ogden, the Weber School District Foundation, the McKay-Dee Hospital Foundation, the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park and the Ogden Symphony-Ballet Association. She served as both a member and chair of the Weber State University Board of Trustees during a period of unprecedented institutional growth and achievement. She and her husband Rich were honored with the “Wall of Fame” Award from the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce in 1996, and in 2005 she received the
Distinguished Service Award from the WSU Alumni Association.


Healy has spent a lifetime dedicated to public service and volunteer activism. She began her tradition of volunteer service during World War II, providing assistance to wounded veterans in local hospitals. In later years, her altruistic interests expanded to embrace the protection of the historic heritage, wildlife and environment of the Chesapeake Bay region. Healy also served as a member of the boards of directors of Arts for the Aging, the Corcoran Museum of Arts in Washington, D.C., and other charitable and human welfare organizations. Healy and her children founded the M.A. Healy Family Foundation, which has touched the lives of countless Americans through its charitable giving over the past two decades. WSU students and faculty have benefited from Healy’s significant contributions to the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions, the Ethel Wattis Kimball Visual Arts Center and other worthy programs at the university.


Marsha Richter, commencement chair
(801) 626-6573 ·

John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
(801) 626-7212 •