SUU Honors Four Alumni During Homecoming

Published: September 16, 2022 | Author: Abbie Cochrane | Read Time: 3 minutes

As another year at Southern Utah University begins for students, alumni are returning to their old stomping grounds for the annual Homecoming celebration. This year four individuals will be recognized for their contributions and service to SUU: Whitney Mulaj, a giant in the hospitality industry who is pursuing her P.h.D.; Virgil Johnson, former chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation and a revered Utah high school teacher; Kay Andersen, world-renowned dancer and choreographer; and Daril Magleby, former student leader in his years as an SUU student and now local entrepreneur.

The four will be honored during SUU’s 2022 Alumni Banquet held on Thursday, September 22, at 6:30 p.m. in the Gilbert Great Hall of the R. Haze Hunter Alumni Center.

Outstanding Alumnus Award - Daril Magleby

Daril Magleby (’87) came to SUU from Sevier County and shined as a prime member of student body leadership as well as a dedicated and highly contributive student, ever engaged in helping others. Holding a communication degree with a public relations emphasis and a minor in marketing, he has excelled as a businessman, including spreading the Cedar City roots of the Pizza Factory to central and northern Utah, and as an entrepreneur, while establishing a formidable record of public service, with work on several public boards and councils in Utah County.

Distinguished Service Award - Kay Anderson and Virgil Johnson

Kay Andersen (’85) followed a distinguished student career at SUU to earn a Master of Arts degree from NYU, and his life as a renowned dancer/teacher/choreographer has spanned five decades and six continents. His resume of work outside of the University is highly impressive, and at SUU he elevated the arts as a professor of dance, administrator, mentor, and as a guest performer in many productions over 22 years. For two-dozen years he was a mainstay in Burch Mann’s American Folk Ballet. Today, he continues to teach and choreograph domestically and internationally.

Virgil Johnson (’76), a member and former chair of the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation, came directly from serving as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam in 1970 to the institution, where he earned a sociology degree and the coveted Pestalozzi Award and, later, an M.Ed. He served as an honored Utah high school teacher and coach for 35 years. Among his many continuing contributions to the quality of the day is instructing with the National Endowment for the Humanities for Teachers in an SUU seminar setting on the subject of petroglyphs/pictographs. Young

Alumnus Award - Whitney Mulaj

Whitney Mulaj (’07,’08) made the most of her time at SUU, which included earning an MBA, and has gone on to a stellar hospitality career with several of the most successful and respected names in the industry. She currently serves as vice president of customer success for The Guestbook, a loyalty program for independent hotels seeking to drive direct booking. Additionally, Whitney is pursuing her Ph.D. in hospitality administration at UNLV, while also teaching undergraduate hospitality scholars. And, she chairs the Dixie L. Leavitt School of Business National Advisory Board.

Homecoming Events

This year, SUU's annual Homecoming Week features two historic and memorable events; the inauguration of SUU’s 17th President, Mindy Benson, and the celebration of the institution’s 125th anniversary.

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 19-24, 2022. Learn more about SUU’s Homecoming festivities at

Tags: Cedar City Alumni Homecoming

Contact Information:

Contact the Office of Marketing Communication