This spring, Southern Utah University will roll out the red carpet to honor its best and brightest at the annual Thunderbird Awards ceremony on Saturday, April 21.
Since the inaugural ceremony in 1950, the Thunderbird Awards have been SUU’s premier, formal event to recognize outstanding contributions of students, faculty, staff and community members.
This year’s ceremony will feature special guest performer Jon Schmidt. A native Utahan, Schmidt is an accomplished pianist, composer and performer. He is known for his signature “new age classical” style, putting a new spin on classic pieces. Schmidt has released eight albums and seven piano books which contain modern transcriptions of original arrangements.
Student performances will also be featured throughout the program. Peter Sham of SUU’s Theatre Arts and Dance Department will serve as this year’s master of ceremonies.
Immediately following the awards, SUUSA will host the Thunderbird Ball in the Hunter Conference Center Great Hall. After a long hiatus, the ball returns as SUU’s most formal dance, the perfect complement to the highly-honored Thunderbird Awards.
Dancing will commence at 9 p.m., to the swinging sounds of live music from the Joe Muscolino Band. Light food and drinks will be served, while an on-site photographer will be available to capture T-Birds’ special moments.
Tickets to the Thunderbird Ball may be purchased form the Centrum ticket office at 586-7872 or online at Tbirdtickets.com. Couples tickets will be available for $5, individual tickets are $3. Tickets are now on sale and will also be available at the door.
Admission to the Thunderbird Awards is free and open to the public.
The Thunderbird Awards tradition sprang from humble beginnings in the spring of 1950, when SUU’s Gamma Psi Upsilon Fraternity sponsored an assembly to “honor the campus citizen whose contribution to the school often went unnoticed”. The first honorees were four female students, recognized for their outstanding contributions to campus and the student body community.
The following year, Gerald Sherratt, then president of Gamma Psi Upsilon and future president of SUU, expanded the event into an Oscar-style awards ceremony and as years went by, open houses, receptions and special guest appearances augmented the event.
Over the years, the Thunderbird Awards have seen a diverse selection of emcees and presenters. Some notable participants include actor Corbin Bernsen of LA Law fame, Larry Wilcox from the 80s Television show CHiPs and songwriter John Ford Coley.
Thunderbird Awards are granted for excellence in sixteen different categories. Professor of the Year, Organization of the Year and Male and Female Contributor of the Year are among the most prestigious awards given.
For more information on the Thunderbird Awards, please contact Jenna DeGering at 801-573-3764 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.