Modern day Southern Utah University founders celebrated with awards

Modern day founders were awarded for their contributions to Southern Utah University in the Gilbert Great Hall Thursday night, Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Civic and community leaders gathered in the Gilbert Great Hall Thursday to pay tribute to Southern Utah University modern day founders for tireless work that’s contributed heavily to what the institution is today.

Modern day founders were awarded for their contributions to Southern Utah University in the Gilbert Great Hall Thursday night, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Modern day founders were awarded for their contributions to Southern Utah University in the Gilbert Great Hall Thursday night, Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

The award dinner was the culminating event of a week-long “Founders Celebration” designed to commemorate the birth of the university by remembering and honoring past and present founders whose individual impact has shaped Southern Utah University.

The humble recipients of Thursday’s awards are the type of people who go out of their way to help without ever expecting or seeking to be recognized for the endless work they do, said Scott L. Wyatt, Southern Utah University president, who informed honorees they were chosen.

“Often times the answer I get is, ‘Oh, this is such an honor, but I know so many people that are so much more deserving,’” Wyatt said. “That’s the kind of individuals that are being honored here tonight.”

In addition to three Distinguished Service Awards that were given out Thursday, two founders citations were given out for the first time. Both recipients, Jon Smith and Lee Byers, were behind the 2015 documentary created to tell the story of the university’s founding in 1897.

Founders Citation recipients Jon Smith and Lee Byers honor University President Scott L. Wyatt with an AVA Digital Award for his role as executive producer in "Back up the Mountain," Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
Founders Citation recipients Jon Smith and Lee Byers honor University President Scott L. Wyatt with an AVA Digital Award for his role as executive producer in “Back up the Mountain,” Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

Smith, who was the producer, writer and director for the 20-minute docudrama and Byers, who was the editor, turned the tables on Wyatt during their time on stage to accept their citations by presenting him with an impromptu award of his own.

“We have another award that’s unscripted tonight,” Smith said. “We have a trophy for our executive producer of that (film).”

Calling Wyatt back onto the stage, the two men presented him with a 2016 AVA Digital Awards platinum award of excellence in the category of educational institution.

After the red-faced, university president accepted his award, attention was quickly diverted to the SUU Percussion Ensemble who premiered Keith Bradshaw’s “Canyon Suite for Percussion Ensemble.”

University President Scott L. Wyatt presents Arlene Braithewaite with a distinguished service award for her contributions to the university through the years, Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
University President Scott L. Wyatt presents Arlene Braithwaite with a distinguished service award for her contributions to the university through the years, Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

One by one, each of the three Distinguished Service Award recipients, Arlene Braithwaite, Cindy Jones Line and Jeff Bradybaugh, were honored with a narrative slideshow sharing the many accomplishments of each honoree.

Braithwaite, who retired from Southern Utah University after three decades in 2010, continues to impact the lives of students whose passion is art, Wyatt said. Programs she helped to establish offer students the opportunity to hone their skill in a secure environment.

“I would just like to thank the university for this lovely award,” Braithwaite said. “And I want to thank my family and my friends for all of the joy they bring.”

As a lover of the arts, Wyatt said, Line threw her hat in to help raise funds to build the Southern Utah Museum of Art and brought in the most money toward the project of any single individual. As a member of the SUMA steering committee she has helped the university achieve success in bringing a top-notch museum to enhance the lives of all who live in the community.


Read more: Deadline coming soon for Southern Utah Museum of Art ‘First Peek’ exhibit 


Line was sick and unable to attend the award dinner Thursday. Her sister, Joan Woodbury, accepted the award in her stead.

University President Scott L. Wyatt presents Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh with a distinguished service award for his contributions to the university, Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 23, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News
University President Scott L. Wyatt presents Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh with a distinguished service award for his contributions to the university, Southern Utah University Gilbert Great Hall, Cedar City, Utah, March 24, 2016 | Photo by Carin Miller, St. George News

“I am a poor substitute for my sister,” Woodbury said. “That girl is something else (and) she is so sorry she can’t be here tonight, but she is just thrilled for this award.”  

Recently named the “University of the Parks,” Southern Utah University would not have such an impactful outdoor program were it not for the fortitude of Zion National Park Superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh, Wyatt said.  

“I am humbled personally but also humbled on behalf of our public lands partners who have accomplished so much along with the university,” Bradybaugh said.

The lasting impacts of each person honored at the 2016 Founders Dinner and awards given will ripple into the community, the nation and eventually the world, Wyatt said.  

“Thank you so much, you bring honor to us with your great service,” Wyatt said to all of the honorees. “Our students and our community are better because of your lives and your devotion.”

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Email: cmiller@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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