U student first to get new scholarship

By By Nathan Storey

By Nathan Storey

The Salt Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau gave the inaugural Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship to Cathryn Haas, a fourth-year doctorate student in parks, recreation and tourism.

The $2,500 scholarship was to be given to a female student within the parks, recreation and tourism department who “epitomizes grace in all situations” and is humble and determined in her approach to anything she pursues, said Marsha Lundgren of the U Scholarship Committee.

“Cathy really personified these qualities,” Lundgren said.

Haas, originally from San Mateo, Calif., graduated from the University of Oregon with a sociology degree. She then attended Sacramento State and received a master’s degree in recreation administration before coming to the U to get her doctorate degree.

Haas said she picked the U program because “it’s one of the best in the nation.” She said the outstanding faculty drew her in and that she, too, hopes to become a professor, teaching about public parks and recreation, after she graduates in December.

The scholarship Haas received was created in memory of Dianne Nelson, former President and CEO of the SLCVB, who died in 2005 after a bout with cancer.

“It was a huge honor (to receive this scholarship),” Haas said. “It was moving to see what Dianne Nelson meant to the people she worked with. It gave me motivation to excel and affect people’s lives in a positive way.”

“Dianne was humble, caring and helpful to others,” said Beth Belt, who oversees the scholarship and other special projects. “Cathy (Haas) is very much that.”

Haas plans to use her scholarship money on her dissertation. She wants to look at how parks and recreation agencies can develop participants that are loyal and continue to return and donate while spreading information about the agencies through word of mouth.

The SLCVB said the organization is glad it found a worthy recipient for the first Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship.

“Dianne (Nelson) promoted Utah as a travel destination and she took great efforts to mentor,” Lundgren said. “We wanted to find someone who had the same ideas.”