Alumni honored at founders day gala

The annual University of Utah Founders Day celebration culminated in a gala for university friends and graduates. An evening where generations of students, alumni, fans and donors could mingle together and reconnect with the school that binds them together. New alumni president, Joe Sargetakis, officially welcomed the hundreds present for the dinner.

Outgoing U President David W. Pershing’s remarks highlighted the positive trajectory of the University of Utah and welcomed Dr. Ruth Watkins as the 16th president.

Distinguished and honorary alumni (from left to right) Skip Daynes, Sam Stewart, Marcia Madsen, Diane Stewart, Kate Conyers and Charles Sorenson.

Master of ceremonies Deanie Wimmer, from KSL’s nightly broadcast paid tribute to this year’s four distinguished alumnus/a award recipients and two honorary alumni with the help of some videos. The tributes focused on their respective subjects as they described their time at the U and how far they’ve come. From a public defender to a piano salesman to a pair of philanthropists, the honorees all shared the love they have for the U. One student was also honored with an $8,000 scholarship.

Looking back at another successful event, the Alumni Association would like to thank the tireless efforts of its staff and volunteers for the time and effort they spent on making this event a success.


Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards:

Kate Conyers B.A. ’03 J.D. ’08 MPA ’08

Conyers excels in public service as a felony attorney at the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association, where since 2011 she has represented hundreds of indigent defendants. She also provides extensive pro bono work, including spearheading the Veterans Administration Legal Clinic at the VA Hospital on the U campus. Watch video here.

Skip Daynes ex ’66

Daynes left the U to take over his family’s Daynes Music Company, becoming its fourth-generation leader and taking it to new heights, allowing him to widely support performing arts companies, community music festivals, major arts competitions, music classes at Title I schools in underserved areas, and more. Watch video here.

Marcia Madsen B.A. ’72 (J.D., Washington College of Law and LLM, Georgetown University)

Madsen, a partner in the international law firm of Mayer Brown LLP and a master of government contracts and litigation, has been named to the list of Washington (D.C.)’s Top Lawyers by Washingtonian Magazine every year since 2009. Watch video here.

Charles Sorenson B.A. ’73 (M.D. Cornell University)

Sorenson is president emeritus and former CEO of Intermountain Healthcare. With Intermountain since 1982, he helped create its integrated practice of some 1,500 doctors. He is now founding director of the Intermountain Healthcare Leadership Institute and continues a practice focused on urologic oncology. Watch video here.

Honorary Alumni

Sam (B.S., Northwestern; MBA and Ph.D., Stanford) and Diane Stewart (B.S., BYU)

The Stewarts have helped bring financing to arts institutions including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Springville Museum of Art, and more. They have also generously supported local and global education, human rights, and access to healthcare. Watch video here.

Founders Day Scholar

Brenda Ramirez is a first-generation Latina undergrad and a certified phlebotomist who intends to major in nursing. In 2017, her father was deported and Brenda had to begin helping raise her little sister as her mother took over the family business. Besides her course load, additional responsibilities at home, and a job, Ramirez still finds time to volunteer. With the U’s Beacon Scholars Program, she has served meals to homeless youth — earning Project of the Year in 2017 — and she works with U Path to inspire area high school students to come to the U.

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