Founders Day

Nomination form for Distinguished Alumnus/a Award 2015 available here.

Nomination form for Honorary Alumnus/a Award 2015 available here.

A special thank you to all who attended the Founders Day 2014 celebration on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, when we recognized this year’s Distinguished and Honorary alumni.

Video features by Dunn Communications are now available below or on our Alumni Association YouTube Channel.

 Photos courtesy of Anna Pocaro-Manley

In addition, we recognized our 2014 Founders Day Scholar, Juliet Kanyana (at right with U President David Pershing). The $6,000 scholarship is awarded annually to a student who has overcome difficult circumstances or challenges and has served the U and the community. Kanyana was 4 when militants attacked her village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and she and her family were forced to flee. They eventually came to the United States as refugees. Read more about Juliet here.

We were also honored at the Founders Day gala to welcome our alumnus Steve Smith and his wife, Angie (at right with Alumni Association board president Keven Rowe), to present the Association with a generous gift of $150,000 to establish a new Young Alumni endowed scholarship fund. Steve Smith, a Carolina Panthers wide receiver, was recognized last year with the Alumni Association’s outstanding young alumnus/a honor, the Par Excellence Award. Read our profile of Steve Smith here.
To our sponsors: The University of Utah and the Alumni Association would like to extend a special Thank You to our Founders Day 2014 gala event and table sponsors. Without their spirit, commitment and generous donations, we couldn’t host an event as memorable as this! 

2014 Recipients  

President Pershing and Juliet Kanyana

Steve and Angie Smith with Keven Rowe

Distinguished Alumnus/a Award Recipients

Kem Gardner BS’67 JD’70 cofounded and served as president of The Boyer Company for 30 years and has served since 2005 as chairman of The Gardner Company, a private commercial real estate firm. He has contributed to major corporate, residential, and retail facilities including the Myriad Genetics corporate campus and The Gateway shopping mall. A former chairman of the State Board of Regents, he remains very active in higher education, currently serving on the National Advisory Council for the University of Utah.

Theodore “Ted” Jacobsen BS’65 (and an M.S. 1966, from Stanford University) and Charlotte Garff Jacobsen BA’64 both had primary roles in development of the U’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, and they have financially supported many other U entities for decades. Ted led Jacobsen Construction for 30 years, helping build such iconic facilities as the Jon M. Huntsman Center, the Warnock Engineering Building and The Grand America Hotel. Charlotte has given countless hours of service to the U, including as a member of its National Advisory Council. Ted is the immediate past chair of the U College of Engineering's National Advisory Council.

Frederick S. Kempe BA’76 (and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University) spent more than 25 years a reporter, columnist, and editor for The Wall Street Journal. Since 2006, he has served as president and chief executive officer of the Atlantic Council, a foreign policy think tank and public policy group based in Washington, D.C. He is the author of four books (including New York Times best seller BERLIN 1961) and is a regular media commentator in Europe and the United States.

Donald Yacktman BS’65 (in economics, magna cum laude, as well as an MBA with distinction from Harvard University) is president and portfolio manager of Yacktman Asset Management, which he founded in 1992. As head of what remain two of the world’s best-performing stock funds, Yacktman was ranked by Morningstar at No. 2 for domestic fund manager of the decade for 2000-2009. He is regularly interviewed by entities such as Bloomberg News and CNBC, and he has also shared insights with students and deans at the U.

Honorary Alumnus Award Recipient

John Bloomberg (B.S. 1957, Amherst College; MBA 1962, Harvard University) is a former Wall Street research analyst and competitive skier. After his vision began rapidly deteriorating, he was introduced to Dr. Randall J. Olson with the University of Utah’s Department of Ophthalmology and John A. Moran Eye Center. In gratitude for surgery by Dr. Olson that John has credited with saving his vision, John and his wife, Toni, began generously contributing funds to the Moran Eye Center, and also gifted the center a large collection of paintings by early Utah artists.

Learn more about all of this year's honorees in the Alumni Association feature article here.

For additional information, email Mary Thiriot or call 801-581-6995.
For sponsorship opportunities, call Bill Lines at 801-581-3718 or email