For eight years, the college of Arts and Humanities has given out the AHA! Awards and scholarship to those who have given much of their time and money to the department at Weber State University.
This award contains five categories: friends (of the college), alumni, faculty, staff and students. This years winners are Yaeko Bryner, Frank McFarland, Jonathan Morrell, Phillip Tuckett, Molly Morin, Christine Denniston, Benjamin Bigelow, Blakely McKinnie and Joshua Wineholt.
Student nominees awarded the AHA! scholarship should “exhibit perseverance and commitment to education,” as stated on Weber State’s website. Each person must be nominated by a faculty member in order to receive the award or scholarship.
This year, one nominee stood out from the others. Yaeko Bryner, a friend of the college, was nominated by Becky Jo Gesteland, associate dean of the Arts and Humanities College and an English professor at Weber. In Gesteland’s letter of nomination, she writes, “I’ve long admired Yae’s vibrant participation in the WSU arts community and believe that she is long overdue our recognition.”
Bryner is not only an friend to the college but is also an alumni. After her husband, Dale Bryner, passed away five years ago, she decided to create a scholarship in his name. In addition to sponsoring the scholarship, she has continued donating to Weber each year.
In her recommendation letter, Gesteland pointed to Bryner’s service with the Cultural Affairs Advisory Board, the Utah Arts Council AIE Advisory Panel, the Ogden City Arts Advisory Board, and the Governor’s Awards in Arts Selection Committee.
“The main reason is to maybe recognize people who haven’t been recognized before on campus. It’s a subtle way of recognizing people. Less flashy,” states Gesteland.
A small reception will be held, prior to the main ceremony, for donors and AHA! board members. The award ceremony is usually done on the same night as Concierto Night, an annual event presented by the Performing Arts Students.
Arts and Humanities Dean Scott Sprenger will give the opening remarks of the ceremony, with the AHA! board members presenting the awards to the winners. This year, the concert and awards will be held on April 15 at 6 p.m. at the Ethel Wattis Kimball Visual Arts Center.