WSU Announces Honorary Degree Recipients

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University will award honorary degrees to a nationally recognized voice for the Palestinian people and advocate for peace in the Middle East, a former faculty member, a longtime WSU employee, and a prominent leader in the construction industry at the university's 123rd commencement May 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Dee Events Center.

The recipients are: Omar Kader formerly of Provo; Jack B. Parson, Jr. of Pleasant View, Utah; Robert H. DeBoer of Ogden, and Jean Howe Andra Miller of Ogden.


Kader will deliver this year's commencement speech. He is the founder of Planning and Learning Technologies (PAL-TECH, Inc.) a management consulting firm which contracts with government agencies. Over one-half of PAL-TECH, Inc. services are in support of U.S. foreign policy and development assistance objectives. He has managed congressional and national campaigns for the Democratic party. A prominent advocate for peace in the Middle East, he travels to that region of the world frequently. In 1994, he accompanied President Clinton to Jordan as a member of the White House delegation to the peace signing between Israel and Jordan. Kader has personally mentored more than 80 WSU students who have served internships in his company. He has been a political science professor and assistant dean in the College of Social Sciences at Brigham Young University.


DeBoer has worked at Weber State in a variety of positions during a career that spans nearly four decades. His duties ranged from purchasing to administrative services to governmental relations. When he retired, he was Assistant to the President for Governmental Relations and had been instrumental in helping achieve university status for the institution. In 1990, he received the H. Aldous Dixon Memorial Award for his outstanding service to campus and community. Away from campus, Ogden's voters elected him to several terms on the city council during the 1970s and 1980s. His fellow council members selected him assistant mayor. He served as president and 2nd vice president of the Utah League of Utah Cities and Towns, and held leadership positions with numerous government organizations.


Miller taught at WSU from 1962 to 1996. Early on in her tenure, she developed the school's first major and minor curriculum for French. She conducted a ten-week "Family French Workshop" twelve times in seven years. Throughout her career, she served on numerous university committees, supervised candidates for secondary school French certification, advised WSU's French majors and minors and was the French Club advisor. In 1977, she was named outstanding instructor of the School of Humanities. Dedicated to enriching learning for WSU students, Miller founded the Carl E. Andra Memorial Collection of rare books of poetry and currently sponsors panel discussions and poetry readings. In memory of her parents, Dr. Rulon F. and Margaret C. Howe, she funded an endowment at WSU for a pre-medical student.


Parson is chairman for Staker & Parson Co's., the largest construction materials supply and service company in the Intermountain West. Parson and his family have donated generously to Weber State University. Their commitment and support have laid the foundation for the Parson Construction Management Technology Program—the first named program in the history of WSU. The gift benefits students by funding scholarships, resources and program development. Parson has served on the Utah Contractors Licensing Board and Zion's Bank Northern Utah Advisory Board. He has been a director, national director, national executive committee member and Utah chapter president of the Utah Associated General Contractors of America. In 1999, he received the Eric W. Ryberg Award, the Utah chapter's highest honor.

Marsha Richter, commencement chair
801-626-6573 ·
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 ·