Academy Awards Event At SUU Distributes Prestigious Thunderbird Awards

Published: April 05, 2005 | Author: Renee Ballenger | Read Time: 2 minutes

It’s Southern Utah University’s equivalent of the Academy Awards—the Thunderbird Awards.

People dress up in glittery outfits. Family members travel from afar. All to appropriately recognize students, faculty, staff and community citizens for significant service to, and academic achievement at SUU.

This year’s event takes place Friday, April 15 at 6 p.m. in the SUU Auditorium.

The Thunderbirds Award program is conducted by the SUU Student Association (SUUSA) and the Office of Student Activities. Sometimes corralling up to 400 nominations and 150 finalists for the 17 categories, the selection process is lengthy, detailed and sincere.

First, nominations are made at large by students, faculty and staff. Then resumes are submitted, interviews conducted, and judging offered by another host of students, faculty and staff. While it is an exciting process and honor for nominees, it is also a grueling one, taking weeks.

But the highly-anticipated event is well worth the wait. Throughout the evening, the audience will be entertained by performances by some of the finalists for Performer of the Year category.

The Award itself will surely adorn many mantles. This year’s theme, “A Night Among Stars,” will be reflected in the award design—an engraved star on a wooden base.

Seventeen awards will be presented, many of them by former winners. Categories include: the R. Kenneth Benson Award which recognizes a male student who has demonstrated academic excellence, at least a 3.5 GPA, along with outstanding leadership, service and dedication to SUU; the Elaine C. Southwick Award which is given to a female student, again for commendable academic excellence, leadership, service and dedication to SUU; Male Athlete of the Year; Female Athlete of the Year; Scholar of the Year; Personality of the Year; Adviser of the Year; Organization of the Year; Male Contributor of the Year; Female Contributor of the Year; Professor of the Year; Performer of the Year; SUUSA President’s Award; SUU Commitment to Excellence Award; Gerald R. Sherratt Distinguished Service Award; Carmen Rose Hepworth Award; and the Sterling Church Student Involvement Award.

The event is free admission and open to the public. So come out and enjoy academy award night in Cedar City, and help celebrate some of your fellow citizens who are making a difference.

For more information, contact DEl Beatty, Director of Student Involvement at 865-8557, or Amanda Nielsen at435-201-9683.


Through its more than 100-year history, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training school into its current role as a comprehensive, regional university to 6,000 students from across the globe. It serves the southern region of Utah and contiguous counties in surrounding states with undergraduate and graduate programs in six colleges. People of the region look to the University for outreach services, culture, economic and business development, higher learning, regional history, public affairs, major academic specialties, and significant entertainment and recreation. Accentuated by the notable, economic value of its services, SUU's hallmark is its quality staff, faculty and academics.

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