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COMMENCEMENT: Berg, Clark, Covey and Hatch to Receive Honorary Degrees at SUU Commencement

May 01, 2006
Category: Commencement


The 2006 Commencement Exercises for Southern Utah University will take place on Saturday, May 6, at which more than 1,100 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 2006 honorary degree recipients are:
KATHRYN BERG—Professor Emeritus
VAL CLARK—Alumnus, Doctor of Dentistry, Friend of SUU
TOM HATCH—Alumnus, State Senator
STEPHEN COVEY-- co-founder and vice-chair of the Franklin Covey Company. Covey is the Keynote Speaker for this year’s SUU’s Commencement

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

Bios of Honorary Degree recipients follow:

“Back when women’s athletics at SUSC consisted of a group of girls getting together on occasion and having what was called a ‘play day,’ a new faculty member was hired on. Along with a full load of classes to teach that year—1969 (sic)—she was assigned the task of developing an intercollegiate athletics program for women—and that she did.” (The Thunderbird student newspaper, October 6, 1986) Dr. Kathryn Berg is “the” pioneer of women’s athletics at SUU. Her contributions are countless. Kathryn spent 12 years as a track and field coach at SUU, 11 as a gymnastics coach and 10 as a volleyball coach. She also coached basketball, softball, tennis and swimming teams before moving on to dedicate her time as Associate Director of Athletics. As the associate AD, Kathryn helped oversee the University's movement from a small NAIA institution to a viable NCAA Division I competitor, and helped develop the infrastructure necessary for that transition. She also served on the prestigious NCAA competition committee, where she further helped distinguish the University's name, as well as an appointed member of the NCAA Division I Management Council. During her tenure as teaching faculty, Kathryn taught virtually every class offered by the SUU physical education department. She also served as department chair for many years. She was regarded by generations of SUU students and student-athletes as a surrogate parent. In her more than 30 years of service to SUU, Dr. Berg was named outstanding educator, female teacher of the year, professor of the year, and outstanding woman of the year. She has also been inducted into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame as well as SUU’s Utah Summer Games Hall of Honor. She is a founding member of USG, and was a USG trustee for 14 years. And, last spring, the softball field on campus was named in her honor. Originally from Heber City, she taught for nine years in secondary schools in Utah before she came and made such a pivotal difference in the development and story of SUU.


Just a few days after he was born in St. George, Val Clark moved to New Castle with his parents and two older sisters to be raised on the Bar V Ranch. The family lived in a one-room house with no running water or electricity. In the winter, Val would sleep in the basement, but during the other seasons, he loved sleeping out under the stars. He thought it was fun growing up herding livestock and riding horses, but he was also developing the solid foundation of his work ethic that would help him all through his adult life. In 4th grade, he attended “the big school” in Cedar City. The 30 kids in his one class was a big change from the two-room school he attended in New Castle in which six grades were in one room. Mrs. Miriam Luke was his favorite teacher of all time. She gave him a seemingly daunting academic challenge because she cared about and believed in him. Val somehow achieved the goal and has been grateful to Mrs. Luke ever since. He kept in touch with her for the rest of her life. He learned, too, from his parents--Earl B. Clark and Iva Knell--who met at BNS. His mother, a school teacher, read to her children around the pot-bellied stove each night. His dad, a history buff, provided lively and intriguing lessons over dinner each evening. When he was 14, the family moved to Hollywood, and he’s been back-and-forth ever since. During high school, Val sold televisions door-to-door, and during the summers of college, he worked as an entertainer and gear jammer (bus driver) for the Utah Parks Company. Val attended BAC where he studied pre-dental courses. From 4th grade through college, Val was always held some room or class president position. At BAC, he was the freshman class president and later the student body president. He was president, too, of the local “Youth for Eisenhower-Nixon Club” which led him to a term as Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms in the Utah Senate. He then went to dental school at the University of Southern California. There, he was junior class president and student body pres. At graduation, he received the Cruse Award for the most outstanding student. After school, he owed two years to the military. While stationed in Oklahoma, he met Marilyn Estes. Months later, they got engaged in Booth 22 of the El Chollo Café, in L.A. They married in 1960 and later had two children. Val returned to USC gain his master’s degree, specializing in orthodontics. He started his practice in 1962 and continued for 32 years until he retired in 1994. During his career, he also was a part-time faculty member at the USC School of Dentistry. He is the founder and was the first president of the USC Orthodontic Alumni Association. He currently serves on USC’s board of counselors. Co- founder of the Entrepreneur Program in the School of Business Management at BYU, Val has lectured several times there, on investments. He has always been involved in real estate, and is part owner of the second largest apartment house group in Orange County, California. He also currently sits on the National Alumni Board for SUU, and says he loves it. Val plays hard too; he boats, bicycles, races off-road, and windsurfs. In fact, he was the commissioner of the Olympic Board Sailing Exhibition in the 1984 Olympic games—a position in which he says he never worked so hard or had as much fun. Val was named SUU’s Outstanding Alumnus in 1996. He says that although he spends most of his time in southern California, his heart remains in southern Utah.


Senator Tom Hatch represents the 28th District encompassing all of Iron, Beaver, Kane, Garfield, and Millard counties, and a portion of Washington County—a very large district, geographically. He is the owner of the title insurance and escrow business--Security Title Company of Garfield County—and is an active member of the cattle company which has been operated by his family for more than 100 years. Prior to his election to the legislature in 1994, Tom served 10 years on the Garfield County Commission, eight of those years as chairman. He has also served on the State Soil Conservation Commission, the Central Utah Water Conservation District Board, the Community Impact Board, and many other boards and committees representing the people of rural Utah, including president of the Utah Association of County Officials from 1991-1992. His current legislative assignments include co-chair of the Natural Resource Appropriations Committee, the Business and Labor Committee, co-chair of the Water Development Task Force, and the Governor's Task Force on Water Funding. Senator Hatch’s public service has been formidable. His leadership and contributions over the past 22 years have made a great difference to his constituents in southern Utah. For example, during his legislative service, he has played a pivotal role in obtaining funding for a new graduate programs at SUU, for the Utah Summer Games, the Cedar Mountain Science Center, the SUU Nursing program, the University’s new teacher education building (for which ground was broken just yesterday), and the recent initiative to complete payment of the Iron County bond obligation on the Sharwan Smith Student Center. Frequently sought to be a leader or broker on tough issues like public education, public lands and tax proposals, Tom is deeply respected by his fellow legislators and those adjacent to the legislative arena. One astute observer to the field commented: “Tom Hatch enjoys the respect of his peers in the legislature as much as anyone who serves there.” Tom’s savvy knowledge of the legislative process coupled with his sincere concern about the welfare of his constituents and district has enabled him to achieve many positive results for SUU and the region. Tom resides with his wife Kay in Panguitch during the winter months and on the family ranch at Mammoth Creek during the summer. He is very involved in the community of his rural hometown. He and Kay are the parents of four children and grandparents of 13.


Dr. Stephen R. Covey is co-founder and vice-chair of the Franklin Covey Company, a leading global professional services firm with offices in 123 countries. A best-selling author, multiple-times, Covey is perhaps best known for his book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. A #1 Bestseller on the New York Times List, 7 Habits has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages around the world. Forbes named 7 Habits as one of the top 10 most influential management books ever, and a survey by Chief Executive Magazine found 7 Habits to be one of the two most influential books of the 20th century. Recognized as one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Americans, and one of Sales and Marketing Management’s top 25 power brokers, Covey’s goal is to empower organizations and individuals through his “principle-centered leadership” strategies. Covey kneads his vision and discipline into all of his writing and presentations; several other acclaimed books and concepts fall under his authorship. His latest publication is “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness” which has already been named #1 on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Other Covey bestsellers include “First Things First, Principle-Centered Leadership,” which Simon & Schuster declared the bestselling time management book ever, and the “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families,” ranked 4th on the NYT list. It has also been named the #1 bestselling hardcover book on family. Covey is passionate about sharing his perspectives on life, with the hope of helping and inspiring others. He focuses on such ideas as: FOCUS: Achieving Your Highest Priorities; Leadership: A Choice, Not a Position; Managing Change in the Face of Crisis; Cracking the Code: Unleashing Human Potential; Using an Industrial Age Model in a Knowledge Worker Age; The High Cost of Low Trust; Measuring Impact: The Holy Grail of Training, and; Peacemaking: Synergy in the Prevention and Settlement of Problems. Overall, Covey’s objective in any endeavor is to provide his fellow human beings with some tools for positive change and growth.

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