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Founders Day 2022

Join in honoring lives of impact and inspiration.

The University of Utah Office of Alumni Relations annually presents its Founders Day Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Awards to alumni for their outstanding professional achievements, public service and/or commitment to the U.

Additionally, the Honorary Alumnus/a Award is presented to an individual who either did not attend the U or who went to the U for a brief time (a year or less) and who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the U through personal involvement, including donations, volunteer work, and/or other forms of support.

These annual distinguished and honorary alumni awards, along with honorary degrees, are the highest honors awarded by the University of Utah.

Please join us at the Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House in honoring our awardees who have distinguished themselves professionally, served the local and national communities and supported the university in its mission.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 | 6 p.m.
Cleone Peterson Eccles Alumni House, 155 Central Campus Dr.
$200 per person; $1,600 for a table of eight
Space is limited, so RSVP now.
Click here to learn more and register.

2022 Distinguished Alumni Awards recipients

Bonnie Jean Beesley B.A. ’79 is chair and president of the Beesley Family Foundation and Heritage Holding Corporation. Previously, Beesley was chair of the Utah System of Higher Education Board of Regents and chair of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. She was appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert to co-chair the Women’s College Task Force, and served as chair of the Salt Lake Community College Board of Trustees. She was awarded the Honorary Degree of Humane Letters by Salt Lake Community College in 2001. Bonnie’s priority in her community is to raise the overall attainment rate of higher education in the state of Utah and close the achievement gap between populations. She is an officer or director of several Utah entities, including Zions Bank Advisory Committee and Envision Utah’s Education Task Force. She has served on the board of the Utah Symphony and Opera and other civic organizations. Bonnie loves classical art, classical and sacred music, and the outdoors.

Michael Bird B.A. ’76 MSW ’77 is a national public health policy consultant, specializing in Native health issues. Michael has more than 30 years of public health experience with Native American populations in the areas of medical social work, substance abuse prevention, health promotion and disease prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, behavioral health, and healthcare administration. Michael was the first American Indian to serve on the National Policy Council of AARP and as president of the American Public Health Association in the organization’s history. He was also a former president of the New Mexico Public Health Association and was a fellow in the U.S.P.H.S. Primary Care Policy Fellowship Program. He has served on the boards of the Kewa Pueblo Health Corporation, American Indian Graduate Center, Bernalillo County Off Reservation Native American Commission, Health Action New Mexico, Seva Foundation, National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health Advisory Committee (Canada) and more. Michael has also served on the U’s College of Social and Behavioral Science Advancement Board since 2020, and was awarded the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award this year.

Robert M. Graham J.D. ’60 is secretary, treasurer and general counsel at the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. Bob had a 28-year career with Haskins & Sells/Deloitte, where he became a partner and trusted tax advisor to both civic and business leaders. In the late 1980s, Bob joined the law firm of Ray, Quinney & Nebeker and the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. He was named to the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 1998, and continues to play a key role in its financial management. Bob is also a board member of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation and the Florence J. Gillmor Foundation. In addition to his service on advisory boards at the U, he has been very active in the Salt Lake Rotary Club and American Indian Services. He has also served on civic boards such as Deseret Book, Primary Children’s Hospital, Utah Legal Aid, the Governor’s Tax Revenue Commission, and more. Throughout his career, Bob has maintained a personal commitment to helping individuals of all ages gain the lifelong benefits of higher education.

Tyrone Medley J.D. ’77 is a retired Utah judge. He was a Utah Third Judicial District judge from 1992–2012 and was previously a Utah Fifth Circuit Court judge from 1984–1992. Tyrone played for the Runnin’ Utes during his sophomore and senior years at the U. He was a member of the U’s Young Alumni Association Board, and served as a chairman of the Hall of Fame Selection Committee on the U’s Crimson Club Board. Tyrone was inducted into the University of Utah Crimson Club Hall of Fame in 2000, and was awarded the NAACP Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Civil Rights Award in 2012. He was also awarded the Utah State Bar Judge of the Year in 1998, and was inducted into the Colors of Success Hall of Fame in 2007. Tyrone says his education at the U “created a solid foundation for a lifetime of continued learning and opportunity, allowing me to fulfill my dreams, ambitions, achieve financial security and independence.”

2022 Honorary Alumni Award recipient

Kathie Miller sits on many boards in the community and at the U. At the U, she is on the Moran Global Vision Board, the UMFA Board, the College of Nursing Deans Advancement Board, the McCluskey Center for Violence Prevention Community Advocates Board, and more. In the community, she is on the YWCA Community Advisory Board, the Artspace Board of Directors, the Envision Utah Education Steering Committee, and more. Previously, Kathie was on the University Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees from 1994-2000. She began her career teaching English and reading in the Jordan School District and has worked with her husband Mark in Mark Miller Dealerships. She and her husband are avid supporters of United Way, and were awarded the Compassionate Leader of the Year Award from the nonprofit in 2011. Kathie is also a 2018 recipient of the Advancing Science in America Light Award. For Kathie, education is the cornerstone to success. “Education should always be at the top of our list.”

2022 Distinguished Service Award recipients

Margie Egbert Edwards MSW ’62 Ph.D. ’76 and Daniel Edwards MSW ’65 DSW ’76 are both emeritus professors of social work and continuing members of the Crimson Club and the Volleyball “Block U” Club. Together, they helped establish the American Indian Social Work Career Training Program at the U in 1970. In December 2011, the couple established the E. Daniel and Margie Egbert Edwards Endowed Scholarship Fund in the College of Social Work in 2011 in an effort to support American Indian students for many years to come. Margie Egbert Edwards was committed to a career in education from a very early age. Her professional career in social work began with the Jordan School District in Salt Lake City, after which she worked with the Gila River Pima Tribe in Sacaton, Arizona. Margie says she has found personal and professional satisfaction in helping students identify their interests, strengths, career choices and future goals, including doctoral degrees, and shares their joy in these education accomplishments. Daniel Edwards is an enrolled member of the Yurok Tribe in Northern California. He worked for over 40 years with the College of Social Work and Ethnic Studies. Daniel also directed the American Indian Social Work Career Training Program and the American Indian Ethnic Studies program, and taught courses in both programs. Daniel says his experiences with higher education reinforced his desire to share evidence of the importance of education with American Indian tribal organizations and American Indian students at the U and throughout the nation.