University News

SUU to Honor Service-Minded Citizens at Founders’ Day Banquet

Published: March 11, 2008 | Category: Special Events

Three outstanding community members and one couple will be honored with the Distinguished Service Award at the Founders’ Day Banquet this Friday, March 14 at 5:30 p.m. We invite all community members to join us in this time-honored event.

Bernice Carter Gillins will be honored for nearly a century of devotion to her family, the community, her church and Southern Utah University. A graduate from the Branch Agricultural College in 1928, Bernice accepted her first teaching position at Minersville High School and spent the next 38 years in the classroom. Her circle of influence extends beyond her family, beyond her students and stretches throughout the SUU and Cedar City communities.

Georgia Beth Thompson, a recent retiree as the Vice President of Student Services at SUU, will be recognized for her commitment to the community and campus. Currently serving on the Cedar City Council, Georgia Beth has spent years of volunteer work with diverse community groups. At SUU, Georgia Beth served as the Dean of Women, Director of Student Support Services and Upward Bound, Assistant Vice President, Associate Vice President, and finally Vice President of Student Services.

Morris Shirts, posthumous recipient of the award, found meaning in his life by educating and leading others. Born in Escalante, Utah in 1922, Morris spent his young adult years working as a radio operator in the Air Force. He taught for eight years at the College of Southern Utah before being appointed as the first Dean of the College of Education. Hi wife, Maxine, will accept the award on Morris’ behalf.

Both York and Evelyn Jones will be recognized for their devotion as Distinguished Service Award recipients. Both Cedar City natives, the two have spent a lifetime serving the community. After serving in the Army Air Force and graduating from Branch Agricultural College, York spent 33 years with the Utah Construction and Mining Company. All the while, Evelyn has been hard at work in her family, church and the University and regional communities. She is a prolific performer on the piano, organ and cello, and has worked with the Orchestra of Southern Utah, the Choir of Southern Utah, the Cedar City String Quartet and the Southern Utah String Quartet. York and Evelyn have collaborated to write three books about Cedar City and their family history.

The Founders’ Day Banquet is a yearly event to recognize those individuals whose immense contributions have benefited both the University and the community. The event is open to the public, and tickets are available for $20 each. Interested parties should RSVP to Colleen Larsen at 435.586.7775 or

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication