What do a former ambassador to China, a famous author and the president of the National Education Association (NEA) have in common? All three of them graduated from the University of Utah in the 1980’s.

According to the U’s Alumni Association, there are currently over 80 alumni they classify as “outstanding alumni.” These are people who have made an impact in their communities, states and even influenced our nation as a whole. The U has taught some very influential people and even formed many leaders of BYU.

Lily Eskelsen García is the current president of the NEA, and an alumna of the U. García graduated in 1980 with an elementary education degree and returned later to earn a master’s degree in instructional technology.

“Lily began her career in education as a school lunch lady and now leads a professional association of three million educators,” Garcia’s official NEA profile states. “She is the first Latina to lead the NEA and one of the country’s most influential Hispanic educators.” García couldn’t be reached for comment.

orson_scott_card_at_byu_symposium_20080216Orson Scott Card is well known for authoring the book, Ender’s Game.

While originally graduating from BYU, Card graduated from the U in 1981 with a master’s degree in English. Using the knowledge he gathered from the U, he went on to write books like Ender’s Game and Speaker of the Dead.

According to Card’s website, “Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card’s first published fiction appeared in 1977 — the short story “Gert Fram” in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelet version of “Ender’s Game” in the August issue of Analog.”

Another notable alumni is Jon M. Huntsman Jr. Huntsman is well known as being the U.S. ambassador to China and was elected governor of Utah twice.

In addition to being a governor and an ambassador, Huntsman is currently serving as the chair of the Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

Besides the people mentioned beforehand, there have been more than 80 distinguished or famous Alumni from the U. Some of them include:

Scott Anderson – President and CEO of Zions Bank

LaVell Edwards – Former BYU Football Coach

Gordon B. Hinckley – 15th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Cecil O. Samuelson Jr. – Former President of BYU

The U has had many famous and important people that have graduated from the U. But the achievements of these people won’t stop in the 80s. With over 30,000 students enrolled at the U, there are several students that will go on to achieve great things and be an amazing influence.

b.bennion@dailyutahchronicle.com

@bennionbrad

Brad Bennion
Brad Bennion has spent the last several years devoting his time to journalism. He's the former online managing editor for the chronicle, and the former editor in chief of the Globe at SLCC.

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