News

Michael Leavitt to Open his Collection to the Public, March 25th

March 16, 2006
Category: Special Events


Michael O. Leavitt, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and former governor of Utah will be on the campus of Southern Utah University, Saturday, March 25th to usher the grand opening of his Collection as part of the institution’s annual Founders’ Day celebration. The Secretary will also be one of three individuals inducted into SUU’s Hall of Honor, which will take place during the Banquet portion of the day’s festivities.

It is to the deep delight and privilege of Southern Utah University that he has chosen to donate his personal professional collection containing many notes, papers, artifacts and memorabilia to us. This Collection reflects his years of public service on the state and national levels and will be of immeasurable value to those interested in the study of history, politics, public service and other human and social topics.

“SUU and Cedar City were the places that made the most sense, in both my mind and heart, for this collection to reside,” Leavitt said. “It is where my roots are. It is where my former professors, classmates, family members and neighbors are. I’m so pleased and genuinely excited about this project.”

Secretary Leavitt served as U.S. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency previous to his current cabinet position. Prior to that, he served 11 years as a three-term governor of the State of Utah. During that time he led Utah through a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity, and the preparation for, and successful days of, the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Southern Utah University appreciates and recognizes Governor Leavitt’s contributions as a state leader, including his drive to create better schools and empower states.

Secretary Leavitt earned his bachelor’s degree from then Southern Utah State College (SUSC) in business in 1978. In 1997, SUU bestowed upon him an honorary doctorate of Humanities degree. Secretary Leavitt is married to Jackie Smith Leavitt (an alumnae of SUU) and they are the parents of five children. He is the son of Dixie and Anne Leavitt of Cedar City, both of whom have given extensive years of service to the betterment of SUU.
Because of Secretary Leavitt’s remarkable success and leadership in the political arena, SUU established and named in his honor the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service on campus in 2004. Among his notable years of service to SUU and higher education in the State of Utah, Secretary Leavitt served as Chair of the SUU Board of Trustees and as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. It was during his service on the Board of Regents that he was instrumental in SUU receiving university status on January 1, 1991.

Secretary Leavitt is an ongoing and enthusiastic supporter of SUU programs; he makes frequent visits to campus to endorse and participate in events like the Utah Summer Games, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Utah Rural Economics Summit and the Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service. He was the 2004 commencement speaker to the graduates of SUU. His honesty and integrity coupled with his maintenance of three goals throughout his public service--leave things better than he found them; to plant seeds for the next generation; and to give more than 100 percent; identify him as a leader worthy of our most sincere appreciation and respect.

The public is invited to attend an Open Reception, at which Secretary Leavitt will be present, for the Opening of the Michael O. Leavitt Collection. Visitors will also get to sample one of Leavitt’s favorite cookies that his mother, Anne, bakes for him just about every time he comes home to visit. There will also be a DVD biography presentation on Leavitt running for visitors’ viewing pleasure.

Tickets are available to the Founders’ Day Banquet, at which Leavitt, along with James and Beverley Sorenson, will be inducted into the University’s Hall of Honor. The event will be filled with a wonderful menu, entertainment and special recognitions and announcements. For reservations, call Colleen at 586-7775.

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