SUU In View (Alumni Magazine - Fall 2003)
Here We Come!
The 2003 commencement exercises for Southern Utah University were held May 3 at 9 a.m. in the Centrum Arena on SUU campus. 1,186 associate, bachelor, and masters degrees were conferred upon undergraduate and graduate students. Honorary degrees were presented to four individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the institution. This year's recipients were Renn Zaphiropoulos, Pamela Atkinson, W. Boyd Christensen and Eugene Woolf.
Zaphiropoulos, the keynote speaker for SUU's 2003 commencement and honorary degree recipient is a successful businessman. A pioneer in the development of the electrostatic writing technique for the production of hard copy, Zaphiropoulos is the 1969 co-founder of Versatec, the worlds leading producer of electrostatic printers and plotters. Zaphiropoulos is a retired corporate vice president of Xerox Corporation, which merged with Versatec in 1975. Throughout his career, he held several executive positions with Varian Associates, a manufacturer of analytical instruments and semiconductor equipment. As a scientist, Zaphiropoulos has 29 patents and has written numerous technical papers on a variety of subjects, in addition to digital imaging printing. In his address to the graduates Zaphiropoulos regaled the audience with numerous humorous anecdotes and pearls of wisdom garnered from a lifetime of hard work and outstanding accomplishments.
Pamela Atkinson is a leader serving on the Utah State Board of Regents. She is a former vice president for mission services at Intermountain Health Care.
Born into humble circumstances in England, she earned nursing credentials from the University College Hospital in London and subsequently earned a master's degree at the University of California-Berkley. Later, despite intentions to journey to Australia to work on a sheep farm, she ended up on an island in the Torres Straits working with aboriginal families.
An advocate for the low income, homeless populations and at-risk children, Atkinson can often be found going out with medical teams to homeless camps or helping out local clinics and multicultural centers. People from various backgrounds admire and appreciate her compassion, her consistent treatment of all with respect and her willingness to take action - often using her own personal resources to help others.
She finds what she does fun and rewarding and is always the first to acknowledge anyone else besides herself. One of her mottos is "Don't ever under estimate the power of even a small amount of caring...a word of encouragement here and there has a powerful effect on people."
After a successful career with All-State Insurance, W. Boyd Christensen culminated his service with the company as president and vice chair of the board of directors. He served his government as assistant secretary in the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Following that service he returned to Utah to serve his alma mater, Utah State University, for six years as vice president for business and finance. Always community-minded, Christensen has served as executive vice president and member of the board of the Utah Symphony and as a member of several other prestigious boards, including SUU's Board of Fellows.
In addition to his professional and community service, Christensen has served in numerous capacities with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including president of the New York, New York mission. Christensen and his wife Jean reside in Salt Lake City where they continue to be of service in a variety of community endeavors. The couple has four children, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Of his admiration of SUU Christensen says, with enthusiasm, "I am very supportive of Southern Utah University and I want to help lift it just as high as possible."
Eugene T. Woolf, fondly regarded as the "conscience of the university," passed away Jan. 3 at his home in Cedar City after serving a continuous contract with the university for 50 years.
Woolf taught full-time until 1988, and part-time until 1997. He was among the most popular members of the faculty and competition to attend his classes was fierce. He was well known for his dry wit and amazing intellect. He received the Outstanding Professor and the University award three different years. Woolf also served as dean of the School of Arts and Letters from 1967 to 1979, two terms as department chair, associate commissioner for academic affairs of the Utah System of Higher Education from 1982 to 1985 and on many professional boards and committees throughout the state.
Woolf also had a distinguished military career. One of his many notable acknowledgements was receiving the Purple Heart for wounds sustained while serving in the European Theatre with the U.S. Army during World War II.
At the time of his death from leukemia, Woolf was nearing completion of his fifth book of his "Great Minds Revisited" series. This volume was to feature women philosophers and may yet be published. In 1997 he authored The Odyssey of the Mind: A Voyage of Discovery, exploring the ideas and achievements of the men and women represented in the grand Centurium near the west entrance of the Centrum Arena.
Woolf spent the last 22 years of his life as the director of SUU's Grace Adams Tanner Center for Human Values - a position which he held honorably and which he regarded as a privilege. He was the personification of these ideals.