Awards abound (Founders Day)

Alumni are the legacy of the university, not research, articles or lectures, said U President Michael Young at the Founders Day Dinner Wednesday night.

As part of the celebration, four alumni and one honorary couple were distinguished with awards. A full tuition scholarship was also given to a student.

“Founders Day awards are the highest awards that the Alumni Association presents each year,” said Mary Thiriot, coordinator of the event. “We have over 210,000 alumni, and to be one of the five selected is very special.”

The Founders Day Scholarship was awarded to Juan Adalpe, a modern dance major, for his contributions to the university and community.

Donna M. White, chairwoman of the department of modern dance, referred to Adalpe as “one in a million who soaked up his coursework like a sponge.”

Adalpe was selected by faculty to represent the department at the Eccles Fine Arts House in 2004-05 and is working to create an after-school dance program at the Riverside Library.

He is also an ethnic studies minor and is helping to develop an arts center geared toward Hispanic children in the Rose Park area.

Adalpe said he would use the scholarship-which includes a full-year’s tuition-as a vehicle for furthering those programs.

“I will use the scholarship to help advocate for the arts and continue my opportunity to see what is going on in the world,” Adalpe said.

This year’s distinguished alumni were Mathew R. Simmons, Joseph B. Wirthlin, Merline Clark Leaming and Alan Kay with Ira and Mary Lou Fulton receiving the honorary alumnus/a award.

Simmons is one of the giants in global energy and is the recent author of the book Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy.

Wirthlin is a member of the Quorum of the Twelve in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and, in 1985, became the chairman of the church’s first Humanitarian Service Committee.

Leaming is a member of the U College of Fine Arts board of trustees and Utah Museum of Fine Arts advisory board. She is also an interior designer and co-founder of Clark Leaming, Inc.

Alan Kay was one of the architects of the “graphical user interface” which made PCs easy to use and created the first 3-D computer graphics.

Ira and Mary Lou Fulton built Fulton Homes Corp., one of Arizona’s largest homebuilders. The company donates 50 percent of its profits to education, and the Fultons have donated more than $10 million to support U programs.

The honorees were available to talk and mingle with alumni before the dinner, where they became acquainted or reacquainted with each other.