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SUU In View - Spring 2004 - Alumni Focus | Alumni | SUU
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SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Spring 2004)


Photo: Karen Grady SharpKaren Grady Sharp (‘98 Communications, broadcasting emphasis), was recently hired as Producer of the 5:00 news at KLAS-TV Channel 8, the CBS affiliate, in Las Vegas. She was previously employed as a news producer at the ABC affiliate in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Lisa GradyPhoto: Lisa Grady (’01 Communications, public relations and advertising emphasis), is the Assistant Features Editor and writer at the Spectrum Newspaper in St. George.

Lisa and Karen (above) are the daughters of Dr. Lionel Grady, in the Communications department and Artis P. Grady, Associate Professor of Applied Science in the department of Family and Consumer Science. Artis says that communications degrees are just part of the tradition at SUU.

Photo: Matt RheaMatt Rhea (’98 Physical Education), has been studying towards a Ph.D. in Exercise Science at Arizona State University since leaving SUU. “I have tried to reflect well on SUU in my efforts since graduating, and my research in Exercise Science in the last few years has gained international attention.” Since beginning graduate studies at ASU he has published 9 studies and presented at numerous regional and national conferences. In October, Matt was asked by the International Olympic Committee to present his research at the World Congress on Sports Sciences in Athens, Greece. This is the largest and most prestigious conference in the exercise sciences in the world. It is quite an honor to get invited and speaks highly of the research that he has doing.

Janice B. Hatch (’86 Science), graduated with a Master of Arts degree from the University of Delaware with an emphasis of Economics and Entrepreneurship for Educators.

Andrew Blaine Hyatt (’98 Science), graduated this past spring with an M.D. of osteopathic medicine from the University of Health Sciences in Kansas City. He was also commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force during the commencement ceremonies. Capt. Hyatt is also a recent graduate of the USAF school of medicine where he received the wings of a flight surgeon. Hyatt is the son of C. Blaine and Linda Hyatt of Eureka, Nevada. After graduating from Eureka County High School he received a bachelor’s degree from SUU. His future plans include the completion of a post doctoral residency at St. John Detroit Riverview Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and service in the USAF.

Michelle McClellan-Truman (’95 Education), received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from UNLV. McClellan-Truman graduated from Dixie State College with an Associate’s degree in Graphic Arts and continued her education at SUU where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1995.

Matt Leavitt (’98 Science), graduated from Dartmouth University Medical School and is currently completing a medical residency in pathology at Stanford University Hospital

Photo: Kara FullmerKara Fullmer (’03 Communications), was hired right out of SUU as a fulltime news reporter for WIBW Channel 13 News in Topeka, Kansas. It is a CBS affiliate station that broadcasts to 410,000 viewers everyday. The stories she covers are anything but typical. Assignments vary from “hard news” such as a murder or court case, to a “feature” story like a local service project that is helping the needy. Fullmer states, “It’s a whole lot of work, stress, and deadline pressure for a few minutes of actual time on TV but its exciting, always changing, and there’s no job like it anywhere else!”

McKay Nelson (’41 General Education), was recently presented with The Chennault Medallion in recognition of his continuing association and devotion to the 14th Air Force Association. Lt. Gen. Claire L. Chennault organized the Flying Tigers to defend China and Burma as the war in the Pacific was about to explode prior to America’s involvement in the Pacific during WWII. These volunteer pilots are reported to have shot down 296 enemy planes during their first six months of fighting. The Flying Tiger planes were P-40C fighters with their trademark “shark face” painted on them were commonly called Tomahawks. Nelson, a much decorated pilot, has written about his experiences titled “The Diary of the 491st Bomb Squad.”

Michael O. Leavitt (’78 Business), was recently confirmed by the Senate of the United States, becoming a member of President George Bush’s cabinet as Secretary of the Environmental Protection Agency. He is the second of SUU’s Alumni to receive a presidential appointment. Leavitt was in his third term as Governor of Utah when the appointment was announced.


Iron County
SUU's Homecoming 5k
Members of SUU's women's basketball team participated in the SUUper Sorrel 5K run/walk at homecoming.

The Iron County Alumni Chapter has been very active in recent months with additional activities on the horizon. Jill Ormond Whitaker (’99 Communications), chapter president, states, “This year the Iron County Alumni Chapter sponsored the SUUper Sorrel 5K Run/Walk at homecoming, with great success. There were nearly 100 participants. All proceeds will help fund scholarships for deserving students. Additionally the group sponsored an ice cream social for SUU alums during intermission of the Fall Season of the Shakespearean Festival. Plans are currently being made to host an Iron County Chapter evening at the Shakespeare Festival for the summer of 2004.” Given the success of this years events, Whitaker indicated the chapter will likely sponsor similar events in the future and invites everyone interested in participating or volunteering to contact the Alumni Office or check on the website for details.

Washington D. C.

The DC chapter continues to grow and its chapter board looks forward to building on past successes. The chapter’s most recent event was a reception held in Senator Harry Reid’s Office in the United States Capitol. While attending the alumni reception, DC area Thunderbirds were also part of history. That night was the beginning of the historical filibuster in the United states senate over prescription drugs for seniors and others. The Capitol was abuzz with senators, reporters, aides, and visitors and DC alumni were there to witness it all.

Mike Wasden (’01 Communications), said, “its amazing to consider the impact SUU alumni are having in our nation’s capitol. Moreover, they remember their roots and are very dedicated to supporting the university, which is great to see.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming year, the chapter hopes to continue growing in number and activity. A family picnic for alumni is planned for late spring.

For more information on the DC chapter, please contact Mike Wasden, chapter president, at 703-920-5479.

Chapter sponsored car show
Alumni chapter car show/tailgate party at Homecoming. Sponsored by the Iron County and Las Vegas chapters.

During the past several months the Arizona Alumni Chapter has been quite active, sponsoring an afternoon water park activity on Labor Day last fall and a Zoo Lights tour at the Phoenix Zoo between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Under the leadership of Steven Messer (’94 Business), the chapter continues to hold regular meetings. Plans are currently underway for a spring activity on March 6, 2004, where the chapter will host a picnic prior to a Chicago Cubs vs. San Francisco Giants spring training baseball game at Hohokam Park in Mesa. For details about this event, please go to and click on “Alumni & Friends” and then “chapters, or call Steve at 602-432-3613.”

Salt Lake

The University of Utah was the site of the latest Salt Lake Chapter activity. Although the T-Birds lost the contest, SUU alumni and friends were treated to a chili supper and great association with one another. The always active Salt Lake Chapter has been very busy the last few months planning a super activity on February 26th. The evening will begin with a dinner and auction at the Airport Raddison Hotel and following dinner participants will proceed to the Hale Center Theater in West Valley City for a performance of the wildly popular The Scarlet Pimpernel. The focus of the event is to raise much needed scholarship money for deserving students at SUU. Mark Russell (’74 Business) serves a president of the chapter and is assisted by a very faithful group of 15 or 20 who regularly attend meetings and organize the activities. They are always looking for others interested in being involved and would welcome you to attend meetings. For information please call Mark at 801-619-9975.

Photo: Southern California and Iron County Chapters
Mix and Mingle at Homecoming, hosted by Southern California and Iron County Chapters.
Southern California

Ralph Spence (’72 Education), and his wife Jane have taken the challenge of organizing events and activities of the Southern California SUU Alumni Chapter. Assisted by Darla Ausman (’65), Jon Christy (’85 Business) and Sandy Swallow (’78 Sociology), this group demonstrates the enthusiasm so evident in all of the chapters. The chapter was represented at Homecoming activities this past fall and planned a successful get together at the SUU vs. Long Beach State basketball game on December 20, in the Pyramid in Long Beach. In response to an invitation for SUU alums to meet at the game approximately 50 dedicated alumni attended and witnessed an exciting victory. For more information regarding future activities in southern California please contact Ralph Spence at or call 714-777-2452.

Washington County
Photo: New England Chapter
Mark Barton, Ellen Wheeler and Dr. Chuck Metten share a laugh at the New England Chapter reception for Opus in New York.

The inaugural meeting of the Washington County Alumni Chapter was held on January 22, 2004 at the home of Charlie Jackson (’53 General Education), in Ivins, UT. Charlie has been involved with the Salt Lake Chapter and recently moved to Southern Utah and has graciously offered his home as headquarters for our group there. Marlo Jensen, Director of Alumni Relations said, “We are delighted to have Charlie in the St. George area. He brings a lot of enthusiasm for the University.” Mr. Jackson serves on the National Alumni Board and also on the Board of Fellows for SUU.

New England

The SUU New England Alumni Chapter is formed and growing. The first event for the chapter was a dinner in Fairfield, CT where 16 alumni attended to make the group official. Those in attendance voted to have Kristian J. Olsen (2000 Business) as the chapter President. Since then, they have been in touch with alumni from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts.

Though the chapter is in its infancy it is beginning to show promise. “We see the chapter serving several purposes,” says Olsen. “Not only do we want to help keep alumni in the area connected with what is happening back at SUU, but we also want to help connect alumni with each other in the New England/ New York area. By doing this we hope to eventually be a great resource for SUU graduates who move into the area. Additionally, the chapter would like to work on raising money for scholarships, as well as help recruit students to attend Southern Utah University.”

SUU's Opus Choir
Members of SUU’s Opus in front of Carnegie Hall in New York City prior to their performance.

The chapter’s latest activity was planned around a performance at Carnegie Hall in which Opus, SUU’s chamber choir sang. Alumni from the New York area and members of Opus gathered before the performance at the home of Glen and Marcia Nelson (both ’85 English). At the social, organized by Kristian Olsen and Nate and Jen Wilkey, (2000 Business and ’99 Business Information Systems), alumni had the opportunity to talk with current SUU students, renew old friendships, as well as make new friends. Alumni in New England plan to have several activities in the next two years. Included in the chapter’s plans are events in Boston, Philadelphia, and a joint activity with the chapter located in Washington D.C.

If you are interested in being involved in the chapter, please contact either Kristian Olsen or Jennifer Wilkey

New Utah Lieutenant Governor SUU graduate

In 1967 Gayle Mckeachnie was making his mark at CSU in several campus organizations and on the Basketball court. Now he is making his mark within the halls of the Utah State Capitol as Utah’s Lieutenant Governor.

Photo: Gayle MckeachnieWhen Michael Leavitt resigned to accept a presidential appointment as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Olene Walker was elevated to the Governorship, creating the opportunity for Mckeachnie to accept the appointment as Lt. Governor. He is however no stranger to the political processes as he has served Utah for many years in several capacities. Mckeachnie has played a role in Governor Leavitt’s policy for natural resources and public lands. He also held positions with the former Utah State Board of Forestry, and the Dinosaur Nature Association Board.

One example of Mckeachnie’s involvement in public lands issues includes his work as outside legal counsel for the former division of State Lands and Forestry. Between 1985 and 1997 he represented the state in a series of lawsuits against a number of coal companies that still owed the state royalties on school trusts lands resulting in the recovery of nearly $20 million. Winning these lawsuits contributed to a large portion of the state’s permanent school fund of approximately $150 million at that time.

Mckeachnie is a strong advocate for higher education. Following his graduation from CSU he completed a Law Degree from the University of Utah in 1970. He has also taught as an adjunct professor at Utah State University in political science, business and business law. Additionally he taught law practice from 1996-2000 at BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. Until his appointment as Lt. Governor he also served as chair of USU’s board of trustees and has been a member of that board since 1995.

Under the new Governor, Mckeachnie will oversee the state’s public lands usage and management, signifying a change in direction for the duties of the Lt. Governor.

Governor Olene Walker says, “Gayle is the best person I can think of for this purpose. His rural background, legal expertise and vast experience in public lands issues uniquely qualify him for this role.”

Mckeachnie is a member partner in the law firm of Mckeachnie, Allred, McClellan, and Trotter, P.C. in Vernal and Roosevelt, Utah.

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Last Update: Tuesday, June 18, 2013