News

Myers, Semnani And Shirley To Receive Honorary Degrees At SUU Commencement

May 04, 2005
Author: Renee Ballenger
Category: Commencement


The 2005 Commencement Exercises for Southern Utah University will take place on Saturday, May 7, at which 1,072 associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be conferred upon undergraduate and graduate students, and honorary degrees will be given to four individuals who have made valuable, and invaluable, contributions to the Institution.

The four 2005 honorary degree recipients are:
KENT MYERS—Professor Emeritus
KHOSROW SEMANANI—founder of Envirocare, the largest low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in the United States
HAROLD SHIRLEY—retired teacher, former mayor
RENEE NORTON—when MGM MIRAGE completes its acquisition of Mandalay Group Resort--making it the largest gaming company in the world--Norton will become the first female president of a Las Vegas Strip property. Norton is the Keynote Speaker for SUU’s Commencement.

The Commencement ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. in the Centrum Arena, SUU campus, Cedar City.

The son of dairy farmers, KENT MYERS graduated with honors from Milford High School. He immediately registered into Branch Agricultural College (now SUU) where he received his Elementary Education. Myers played football and basketball, ran track, and was deeply-involved in music and drama. Since then, he’s given years to sports announcing and officiating at the high school and college levels. He’s been in dozens of plays and vocal recitals; in several of them, he was a soloist. Myers attended Brigham Young University earning his master’s degree in Educational Administration, along with an officer’s commission in the U.S. Air Force. He served in Korea and Japan, part of the time as an Education and Information Services officer. He officially began his teaching career in 1956 in Iron County. In 1959, he moved over to the College of Southern Utah (now SUU) to teach English and Speech. He attended the University of Utah to obtain his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 1964. Then, Myers returned to Southern Utah State College (now SUU) as an Associate Professor of Teacher Education. Myers also completed two extensions of post-doctoral study in Learning Disabilities at the University of British Columbia, and in Research in Reading Education at Arizona State University. Myers “retired” from SUSC in 1990, at which time he spent a year as vice president of the Pacific Rim Institute in Irvine, Calif. As an award-winning author, poet, performer and teacher, Myers wrote the History of Teacher Education at SUU, published in 1998. Currently the Chair of the Old Main History Committee, Myers is leading a compilation effort of historical information and pieces for the refurbishment of the oldest building on campus. For his lifetime study and sharing of the arts, music and English, Southern Utah University is grateful. Furthermore, SUU is privileged to bestow upon Professor Emeritus Kent Myers, an honorary degree of Education, as part of the 2005 Commencement celebration.


KHOSROW SEMNANI, a Utah resident, completed his early education in Iran, later studied English in England, and earned dual Bachelor of Science degrees in Chemistry and Physics from Salt Lake City’s Westminster College in 1972. Semnani later earned his Master of Engineering Administration from the University of Utah in 1975 while employed in Utah’s copper mining and electrochemical manufacturing industries. In each area of endeavor, Semnani was personally involved in the development of work processes that minimized and properly managed the associated industrial byproduct and hazardous wastes. In 1980, Semnani formed S.K. Hart Engineering, a consulting services company for the sensitive and growing environmental industry. Recognizing the need for a proper repository for the disposal of hazardous wastes, Semnani was personally responsible for the development of the first hazardous waste disposal facility in the State of Utah. Then, in 1988, Semnani founded the first commercial waste disposal facility to be licensed in the United States in 25 years. Under his leadership, Envirocare grew to become the largest low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in the United States. Semnani is involved in numerous charitable activities including the United Way, the International Red Cross, and a variety of political, cultural, and religious associations both locally and nationally. He founded the Semnani Foundation to facilitate his philanthropic work. This foundation has been involved in supporting many Iranian causes and cultural and religious programs, including the Encyclopaedia Iranica. It is also committed to helping solve some of the most troubling women and children’s health and education issues through worldwide programs that benefit these groups in particular.
Semnani enjoys spending time and working on projects with his wife of 22 years, Ghazaleh. The couple has three sons: Taymour, Rod, and Jahan. For his invaluable care and contributions to the welfare of Utahans, Americans and Iranians, SUU is delighted to bestow an honorary degree in Science to Mr. Khosrow Semnani.


HAROLD SHIRLEY was born in Gilmer, Texas, but has lived in Cedar City for more than 30 years. He has given so much to the community, it truly would not be what it is today without his contributions. After receiving his bachelor's and master's degrees in history and English from BYU, Shirley began a 35-year career in education at Cedar City High School where he taught English, journalism, American history, graphics, and a course he developed himself in classical humanities. He also spent several years as the JV football coach, the band director, the chair of the English department and yearbook adviser.
Besides an influential educator, Shirley is also known as Mayor Shirley. He served in this position for 12 years--a period in which the community experienced unprecedented growth. Shirley also served eight years as a city councilman. He has been acknowledged with numerous awards including the Phi Delta Kappa Teacher Award, twice; the Total Citizen award from the Cedar City Chamber of Commerce in 1998, and the state equivalent award that same year; the Superintendent's Award, twice; and the prestigious national Milken Award for excellence in teaching. In all his endeavors, Shirley has remained supportive of, and an integral component of SUU's progress. In 1991, SUUSA honored him with the President's Award. The University is indebted and grateful to Shirley for his decades of endorsement and care for the issues of SUU, on both the local and state levels. Shirley and his wife Diane proudly acknowledge that all nine of their children have attended SUU. SUU is honored to bestow upon Harold Shirley, an honorary degree in Humanities and Social Services.



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