The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Alumni honored for contributions to U, community

Anne Cullimore Decker has been on stage and in front of the camera more times than she can remember, but she still loves the thrill of acting.

Her friends say she never takes an easy role, but she brings difficult parts to life as few others can.

“When I am given a challenge, I will take it on, but I’m terrified. But I love the process,” Decker said.

Decker graduated from the U with a bachelor’s in 1957 and an MFA in 1982. Along with acting, she has taught at the U’s Actor Training Program and in the Honors Program.

Regardless of what new job she’s taking on, friends say she tackles challenges with a certain grace.

“She always looks right and sounds right. She simply sparkles,” said playwright Aden Ross.

Decker wasn’t the only one sparkling Wednesday night at the U’s annual Founders Day celebration, where four other alumni and an honorary alum were honored for their contributions to the U and the community.

The Alumni Association, which hosts the event, showed videos with interviews of the recipients and their friends and families, and then awarded them with plaques. The association also awarded a yearlong scholarship to student Miriam Pope, who serves on several councils and committees at the U.

Three other Distinguished Alumni were honored Wednesday: Rhoda Worley Ramsey, Cecil Samuelson Jr. and Alonzo “Lon” Watson. Bill Marcroft received a Distinguished Service Award and Larry H. Miller was named Honorary Alumnus.

Rhoda Worley Ramsey

Ramsey is the president of The Ramsey Group, a real-estate firm in Salt Lake City. She graduated from the U in 1947, and started selling real estate shortly after laws in Utah allowed women to be salespeople. Though she describes herself as a “boring Salt Lake native,” she has paved a path for women to follow and has given generously to her community, according to family and friends.

Cecil Samuelson

Samuelson is the current president of Brigham Young University. He graduated from the U with his doctorate in 1970, and served as a professor of medicine, vice president of health sciences and as president of Intermountain Health Care. His brother, Wayne, says it was difficult for such a die-hard Ute to be asked by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to preside over BYU.

“All the Samuelson children could sing ‘Utah Man’ by the time we could walk,” he said.

However, Samuelson said he has enjoyed his time at BYU, and he is grateful for the U and its contributions to his life and his family.

Alonzo “Lon” Watson

Watson graduated with his J.D. degree in 1951. He participates in several charitable foundations, including three Eccles Foundations and the Quinney Foundation. He has participated in donating a total of $127 million to the U through these foundations.

While he is charitable at heart, his daughter Anne said the 81-year-old puts up a tough front.

“He has a true sense of justice, and that makes him grumpy,” she said.

Bill Marcroft

Alumnus Bill Marcroft, who graduated in 1952, has been the “Voice of the Utes” for the past 37 years for KALL Radio, and he retired at the end of the regular football season last year.

He has called about 1,500 games for the U during his career, and he has missed fewer than 10 basketball games.

The Alumni Association honored him with a Distinguished Service Award.

Larry H. Miller

The association also named Larry H. Miller as an Honorary Alumnus. Besides owning the Utah Jazz, Jordan Commons, KJZZ-TV and several auto dealerships, he has endowed scholarships for minority, need-based or first-generation students. Additionally, he has donated $1.6 million for video displays, a new scoreboard at Rice-Eccles Stadium and has given $10 million to the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

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