65th annual T-bird Awards highlights SUU’s year of excellence in achievement

CEDAR CITY – Hundreds turned out to the Heritage Center Theater dressed to impress for the 65th annual Thunderbird Awards Reception and Ceremony honoring Southern Utah University students, alumni, faculty and administration for their outstanding achievements in excellence.

The longstanding tradition is one of the university’s most popular events of the year.  It honors those who make a difference in the lives of those on campus, in the community and the world.

Finalists enjoyed a meet and greet reception at the beautifully decorated Festival Hall before the ceremony began. There they mingled with esteemed faculty while dining on sushi, egg rolls, dumplings, chicken and a variety of other tidbits.

In no time at all guests were claiming their seats for the upcoming “Oscars of SUU.” Master of Ceremonies Peter Sham took the stage for the fourth consecutive year and even joked about becoming the official “Billy Crystal of the T-bird awards.”

The next two hours of awards, laughter and entertainment gave the packed house plenty to enjoy as each performance onstage displayed the quality worthy of the SUU College of Performing and Visual Arts’ reputation.

The award recipients’ accomplishments showcased a host of skill sets and attributes indicative of the school’s philosophies of excellence and stewardship.

Winners of the 2015 Thunderbird Awards

From lifetime achievements and community service to student involvement and thought provoking instruction in the classroom, each nominee and winner went above and beyond the typical expectations of their responsibilities.

  • Female and Male Contributor of the Year | A nod to men and women who have worked hard to improve educational and social experiences for their friends and peers
    • Bailey Bowthorpe
    • Tom Hanratty
  • Sterling R. Church Student Involvement Award | Awarded to students who emulate Church’s legacy of unselfish service to his family, SUU and the community having a profound impact on the masses
    • Paige Christensen
  • Organization of the Year | Given to organizations that continue to consistently contribute to both the improvement and well being of their members and enhance meaningful experiences for students through meaningful involvement on campus and considerable community service
    • Sigma Chi
  • Advisor of the Year | Faculty and staff who support the professional and personal development of the students they oversee as advisors to student, club and organizational leaders
    • Bill Heyborne
  • Personality of the Year | The quirky, funny and uncommonly kind campus characters that make SUU fun and exciting through their sometimes encouragable antics
    • Parker Hess
  • Performer of the Year | Salutes students who are aspiring to become actors, dancers, musicians and vocalists, as well as those who simply enjoy performing
    • Darin Hunsinger
  • Commitment to Excellence Award | Staff members who offer selfless service to their students by way of caring and commitment
    • Katya Konkle
  • Carmen Rose Hepworth Award | A lifetime achievement award given to alumni who have taken the principles taught at SUU and used them to broaden opportunities for the rest of the world
    • RaVenna Leigh Baker
  • SUUSA President’s Award | An award chosen by the SUUSA president at the close of their term in office and used to honor a member of the campus community that has been a strong advocate to empower students and fueled student-driven initiatives
    • SUU President Scott L. Wyatt
  • Male and Female Athlete of the Year | Student athletes who have shown extraordinary sportsmanship, athletic prowess and commitment to their teammates
    • Sammy Cole
    • Ashley Hawkes
  • Professor of the Year | Professors who are engaged in writing, research advising, mentoring and helping to maintain a functional university while still providing thought provoking instruction to students
    • John MacLean
  • Scholar of the Year | Student who has achieved exceptional academic success
    • Neal Mason
  • Gerald R. Sherratt Distinguished Service Award | Faculty who exhibit the same tenacity for influencing educational direction with infectious enthusiasm, tireless efforts and resourceful leadership
    • Dr. Patrick Clarke
  • R. Kenneth Benson | Students who have maintained a minimum GPA of 3.60 while showing outstanding leadership abilities and a dedication to SUU and the surropunding community
    • Caleb White
  • Elaine C. Southwick | Given to the female student on campus who emulates Southwick’s drive and determination to provide selfless service combined with commitment to scholarship and campus and community involvement
    • Madison Day

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