The Weber State University Alumni Association honored outstanding alumni at the 43rd annual WSU Salutes Thursday from 7-9 p.m. at the Hurst Center for Lifelong Learning.
“This is one of my favorite events at Weber State University every year, because we have the opportunity to honor people who have made their mark on this university, community, country, and our world,” said F. Ann Millner, president of WSU.
Ogden City Mayor Matthew Godfrey presented an award for the 10th and final year. Ta’u Pupu’a, former WSU football player and now opera singer, performed. WSU alumni attended with their families.
“I’m proud to have graduated from Weber State,” said Master of Ceremonies Chris Zimmerman, who received his bachelor’s in 1978 and came back to earn his master’s in 2008.
James C. and Joan R. Hurst received the Emeriti Alumni Homecoming Royalty award for contributing hours upon hours of community service at WSU and in the Ogden community.
“I love this place, and we feel blessed and honored deeply to be recognized this way,” James Hurst said.
James Hurst also received the Emeriti Lifetime Achievement Award for distinguished service and accomplishments presented by Edward B. Freestone, ’67, president of the Emeriti Alumni Council.
Hurst served as the student body president at Weber College and helped petition for Weber to become a four-year university. After graduation, he worked at several universities across the country and served as the vice president of the University of Wyoming. He and his wife now serve on the Emeriti Alumni Council.
W. Rolfe Kerr, who served as the dean of men at Weber College and went on to work at Utah State University and the University of Utah, and later became the president of Dixie College, received the Distinguished Service Award for exemplary service.
“I went to Weber and loved every minute of it,” said Kerr in his biographical video.
Jeanne N. Hall, ’69, received the Lewis W. Shurtliff Award for a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of education.
Hall won the “Woman of the Year” award at Weber College. She and her husband joined the Peace Corps and later received their master’s degrees from Brigham Young University. She then worked with at-risk students as a school counselor in the Ogden City School District. She is a past president of the Boys and Girls Club Weber-Davis and has worked with her husband to provide scholarships for countless students.
“I found there is a special group of people at Weber State,” Hall said. “There was then, and there is now. I would not be the person I am now if I had not come to school here.”
Alan C. Martin, ’05, received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award. Martin chose to buy and sell his textbooks online while attending WSU and helped create CampusBookRentals.com. In 2009, they partnered with WSU Bookstores to provide cheaper textbooks to students.
“I had been doing that for five years, and I thought if I could buy and sell but rent it in between, I could turn a profit,” said Martin in his biographical video.
Barney B. Chapman, ’72, received the WSU President’s Award. Chapman worked at America First in college and served in the Air Force Reserves. He retired as a colonel after 36 years of service. He has since worked on the Utah League’s legislative committee.
“I would like to thank you for allowing my wife and I to be a part of this great, great organization,” Chapman said.
Kevin M. Kempin, ’80, and Ufo Eric-Atuanya, ’93, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for their exceptional achievements and service.
Kempin was a four-time Big Sky champion in tennis at WSU. In 1997, he was inducted into the WSU Sports Hall of Fame. He spent a year after college in Europe in the Pro Tour. He works to continue a tradition of innovation in sports administration.
Eric-Atuanya traveled from Nigeria to receive his award, but did not arrive on time to attend the event. His wife, Bio Atuanya, read his acceptance speech via text message. Eric-Atuanya has used his WSU degree in political science and economics to petition for peace to alleviate poverty in Nigeria and all over the world.
“We are very proud of our 2011-12 honorees,” said Lynell Gardner, executive director of WSU Alumni Relations. “They are proof positive that the Weber State experience brings out the best in people and propels them into bright futures and public service.”
Gardner said students sometimes don’t recognize the quality of education they receive at WSU.
“When you see these accomplished individuals, you know you’re capable of doing great things,” Gardner said.