SUU Honors Three Alumni at Annual Alumni Banquet

Published: September 14, 2021 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 3 minutes

Southern Utah University’s 2021 Alumni Banquet will be held on Thursday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center. SUU’s Alumni & Community Relations Office will honor and celebrate alumni as a part of the annual Homecoming Week.

This year, three individuals will be recognized for their contributions and service: Derral Eves, producer and YouTube influencer, Sandra Lord Thomas, former student body president and active ambassador for SUU, and Whitney Johnson, associate athletic director for student-athlete development, diversity and inclusion at BYU.

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Derral Eves

Derral Eves, Outstanding Alumnus

Derral Eves has magnified his SUU communication degree into a highly celebrated career in video marketing. He is the founder and CEO of Creatus, a hugely successful video marketing and strategy company, as well as the father of VidSummit, a popular annual event in Los Angeles for video creators and marketers. He has helped 27 YouTube channels go from zero to more than a million subscribers and has generated 64 billion views on YouTube.

He is also the founder and executive producer of The Chosen, the highest-grossing crowdfunded movie project of all time, has produced a number of viral video campaigns, and has worked with some of the world’s biggest YouTube creators, traveling across the globe to speak at a variety of events. He is also The Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The YouTube Formula: How Anyone Can Unlock the Algorithm to Drive Views, Build an Audience, and Grow Revenue.

While on campus, Eves will present on Thursday, September 23 at 11:30 a.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center as part of the A.P.E.X. Event series. He will share his knowledge, experience, and contagious passion with creators with SUU’s creators and entrepreneurs.

Distinguished Service Award - Sandra Lord Thomas

Sandra Lord Thomas, Distinguished ServiceSandra Lord Thomas has spent many years as a leader and proponent of SUU, beginning with her service as student body president in 1992-93. She went on to serve as president of the Alumni Association, creating and leading the Alumni Ambassador program that engaged out-of-state alumni in introducing and recruiting prospective students to SUU. She was also instrumental in the Brand Ambassadors program that stresses alumni sharing SUU and wearing SUU.

Thomas is productively engaged in land development and acquisition and is a prominent contributor to life in Mohave County, Arizona, serving in a number of civic roles, including her current post as co-chair of the Northwest Hub for Expect More Arizona. She also facilitates strategic planning seminars and assists local nonprofits in planning.
She holds a doctorate in educational leadership with a cognate in public administration from UNLV, and has taught at both UNLV and Northern Arizona University.

Young Alumnus Award - Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson, Young AlumnusWhitney Johnson currently works at Brigham Young University as the associate athletic director for student-athlete development, diversity and inclusion. She dedicates her time to empowering student-athletes to excel in their current roles and prepare for future success, and works to create environments where students, coaches, and administrators can thrive.

Prior to working at BYU, Johnson served as the Programming Specialist with the NCAA Leadership Development team, and previously worked as a member of the Excellence Academy staff within the athletics department at Indiana University). J
Johnson played collegiate basketball and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico and a master’s degree in business administration from SUU. Johnson adored her time as a T-Bird where she made life-long friends, played basketball with her favorite little sister, Kiana Thomas, and developed the passions and networks that have allowed her to land where she is today. As both Johnson’s parents (Peter and Stephanie Johnson) played basketball at, and graduated from, SUU, Johnson feels immense pride in having been a T-Bird and continuing a family legacy.


The Annual Alumni Banquet and Award Ceremony is open to all SUU alumni and friends. RSVP by calling (435) 586-7777.

SUU’s annual Homecoming Week celebrates the past, present and future of the University with a multitude of events and traditions. SUU invites alumni, current students and families, faculty and staff, founders, friends, and community members to join the Thunderbird family for Homecoming Week, September 20-25, 2021.

Tags: Alumni Homecoming

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