WSU Salutes Outstanding Students and Alumni

OGDEN, Utah – The public is invited to the 45th Annual WSU Salutes ceremony as Weber State University honors outstanding students and alumni for their service to campus and the community. The awards ceremony, hosted by the WSU Alumni Association, will be Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Hurst Center for Lifelong Learning, Dumke Legacy Hall.

 The free event will feature a short biographical video of each award recipient. For additional information, contact the alumni association at 801-626-7535.

This year’s award recipients are Distinguished Alumnus, Mike Malaska; Young Alumnus, Brett Jones; Lewis W. Shurtliff Award for Contributions to Education, Louenda Downs; Distinguished Service, Bonnie Clark and Bettye Gillespie; Emeriti Lifetime Achievement, Leon Clark; Emeriti Homecoming Royalty, Dean and Kathy Hughes; Student Royalty, Tessa Diamond and Nicholas DeYoung; and the WSU President’s Award, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell.

            “The 2013-14 honorees are outstanding advocates for Weber State University,” said Nancy Collinwood, executive director of WSU Alumni Relations. “Each exemplifies the ideals of Weber State in outstanding academics, tremendous community service and deep commitment to making a university education available to all deserving students. We are proud to honor them and proud of their long-term dedication to Weber State.”

Bios of the 2013 WSU Salutes Recipients:

Distinguished Alumnus

            Former collegiate golf star Mike Malaska ’76 “wedged” his WSU business degree into the world of professional sports. Turning pro after graduation, Malaska has since become a prominent figure in the PGA. Honored as the PGA Southwest Section Player of the Year in 2010, Malaska is also a highly sought after instructor. In 2011, he was nationally recognized as PGA Teacher of the Year in part due to his remarkable ability to help other golfers perfect their swings. Malaska is the current director of instruction for Jack Nicklaus Golf Academies worldwide, and a corporate consultant for TaylorMade-Adidas Golf Co. Never one to forget his Wildcat roots, Malaska occasionally teaches clinics at the annual WSUAA Alumni Golf Classic.

Outstanding Young Alumnus

            Late in his education, Brett Jones ’09 finally decided that he wanted to teach — he just wasn’t sure what subject. So, he majored in both English and Spanish teaching, with an English as a Second Language (ESL) teaching minor. At Weber State, Jones received three Crystal Crest Awards: Volunteer of the Year in 2005 and 2008, and Man of the Year in 2007. Jones has worked as a Peace Corps teacher-trainer, a junior high school teacher and an instructor on a South Dakota Sioux reservation. In his current role as program coordinator for Playworks, Jones organizes physical activities for young students. He spends most of his spare time volunteering for numerous organizations including the Ogden Rescue Mission and Habitat for Humanity.

Distinguished Service

            Channeling her passion for education and service, Bonnie Clark ’81 strives to enhance the lives of young people. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education, Clark taught physical education and business at Sky View High School in Cache County. She later served as the president of two parent-teacher-student associations in Weber County. Clark is a past chair of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Weber-Davis, and along with her husband, Jeff, has received multiple community service awards. At Weber State, the couple has previously supported scholarships in the College of Applied Science & Technology and the John B. Goddard School of Business & Economics.

Distinguished Service

            Longtime community activist, Bettye Gillespie is a fearless civil rights crusader. During her 30-year career, Gillespie served on the state’s advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Her late husband, James, was president of the Ogden chapter of the NAACP for 33 years. Throughout her life, Gillespie fought to shatter racial and gender stereotypes, and in the 1970s, championed the push to give girls the right to wear pants in Utah’s public schools. She has received more than 30 awards for her vision and leadership including the NAACP’s prestigious Rosa Parks Award. For many years, Gillespie brought her trademark enthusiasm to the Weber State campus where she spearheaded voter registration drives.

Emeriti Alumni Lifetime Achievement

            As a dentist, Leon Clark ’57 knows firsthand the importance of having a healthy smile. As a longtime humanitarian, Clark has traveled the globe offering his professional services to people in need. Clark’s compassionate efforts began in 1972 with a visit to a Korean orphanage. Since then, Clark has treated dental patients at orphanages in the Philippines, clinics in Tonga, Guatemala, El Salvador and Israel, in addition to hospitals in Ethiopia and Vietnam. Clark also served his own country as a captain in the U.S. Air Force stationed in various hospitals, dental clinics and remote military sites.

Lewis W. Shurtliff Award for Contributions to Education

            Louenda Downs ’78 has made it her life’s work to provide quality instruction at Utah public schools. After teaching elementary-age children in Davis County for seven years, Downs accepted positions where her influence could spread beyond a single classroom. Elected to serve eight years on the Davis Board of Education, Downs was also a member of the Utah Board of Education State Association Board. She co-chaired the “Davis Reads/One Book, One Community” literacy program and served as a Davis Applied Technology College trustee. In 2007, Downs was elected to a four-year term as a Davis County commissioner and was re-elected in 2011. Downs is also an accomplished musician.

Emeriti Alumni Homecoming Royalty

            Forever Wildcats, Dean Hughes ’67 and Kathleen Hurst Hughes ’66 have accomplished much since their Weber State days. Dean, who holds a master's degree in creative writing and a Ph.D. in literature, published his first novel at age 35. He has since written more than 90 books for readers of all ages. Dean retired as an English professor in 2008. Kathleen graduated from Weber State with a bachelor's degree in English education, and later completed a graduate program in special education. A public school teacher and administrator for 30 years, Kathleen retired from the Provo School District in 2002 to accept a position in the Relief Society General Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is a current member of the National Network for Educational Renewal.

Student Homecoming Royalty

            Current WSU students Tessa Diamond ’16 and Nicholas DeYoung ’14 are no strangers to service and leadership. Shortly after high school graduation, Diamond flew to South America to spend her summer volunteering at an orphanage in Ecuador. At Weber State, she served her fellow students through her involvement with the Emerging Leaders program. Diamond is an active member of the WSU Student Alumni Association, and vice president of the WSU Student Involvement and Leadership organization. DeYoung also has held a variety of leadership roles at Weber State. The medical school-bound senior co-chaired the student organizing committee that helped the Special Olympics Utah organization stage the 2011 Winter Games. DeYoung is the current president of the student alumni association and has received numerous honors for his volunteer work in the community.

President’s Award

            Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell ’96 receives great satisfaction from serving his community and supporting his alma mater. Determined to energize the bond between Weber State University and Ogden, Caldwell is an outspoken advocate of initiatives that seek to transform Ogden into a true college town. As he conducts city business, Caldwell routinely encourages local residents to support WSU events and invites WSU students to frequent local businesses and participate in Ogden’s many recreational activities. Caldwell helped facilitate the university’s recent efforts to establish a mobile app lab, bookstore and Continuing Education center in downtown Ogden. Before being elected mayor, Caldwell was a Weber County public information officer and manager of the Ice Sheet. He also administered the county’s Recreation, Arts, Museums and Parks (RAMP) fund.

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Nancy Collinwood, executive director, Alumni Relations
801-626-6885 •
Allison Barlow Hess, director of Public Relations
801-626-7948 •