WSU Salutes will honor alumni, students

WSU President Charles Wight speaks at last year's WSU Salutes ceremony. WSU Salutes has been honoring Weber State Alumni and students for 46 years running (Tony Post / The Signpost)
WSU President Charles Wight speaks at last year’s WSU Salutes ceremony. WSU Salutes has been honoring Weber State alumni, students and community members for 46 years.  (Tony Post / The Signpost)

One week from now, Weber State will honor alumni, students and community members in the 46th annual WSU Salutes ceremony.

A total of nine awards, from Distinguished Alumnus to Homecoming Royalty, will be presented at the ceremony, which will be held Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Hurst Center’s Dumke Legacy Hall.

The board of directors for WSU’s Alumni Association selected applicants for this year’s awards, removing names from all applications to avoid bias.

“I guess you’d call it a blind screening,” said Executive Director of Alumni Relations Nancy Collinwood. “We cross out all the names and any identifiable aspects, and this board of directors reviews it.”

Collinwood said preparation for the ceremony began about one year in advance when Alumni Relations started soliciting nominations for the awards.

“It’s really similar to the Oscars,” said Collinwood. “We do a photo shoot of all the recipients and then they’re featured in our Weber State magazine.”

Recipients will attend a reception held in their honor at 6 p.m. with the awards ceremony beginning at 7 p.m..

“There’s not any one (recipient) that’s more distinguished than another,” said Collinwood. “These people just represent all walks of life: men, women, friends of the university and alumni.”

David Utrilla, a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus award, went from fleeing his native Peru to creating the U.S. Translation Company, a successful company that translates languages for other companies. He studied business at Weber.

Though not an alumnus himself, Ogden business owner George E. Hall will also be honored at the ceremony. Hall is known for his devotion and contributions to the university, which include setting up a scholarship for arts and humanities students in honor of his mother Edna Ione Hall.

The ceremony will also award two couples with the title of Homecoming Royalty, a tradition only two years in the making. India Nielsen and Trevor Annis are this year’s student royalty.

Nielsen, who was named Senator of the Year, will be the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, which she is pursuing in civil and legal advocacy.

Annis, who is a former vice president of the student association’s community service program, has also helped in the Center for Community Engaged Learning at Weber. He is studying microbiology.

Weber State will present the Emeriti Alumni Homecoming Royalty award, which will be awarded to H. DeWayne Ashmead and his wife Eugele “Jill” Baird.

Emeriti alumni have participated in the alumni organization, or Weber State itself, for more than 40 years.

Ashmead, with the support of his wife Eugele, is recognized as a business leader in the community, manufacturing health products and distributing them worldwide.

Ashmead and Baird established a scholarship at Weber for single mothers.

Other recipients include McKay-Dee Hospital’s Chief of Anesthesiology Troy R. Child, special-needs educator Lonah G. Masinde, Trinchero Family Estates owner Roger J. Trinchero, New Car Dealers of Utah hall of famer James S. “Jim” Hinckley and former Utah House Speaker Robert H. “Bob” Garff and his wife Katharine.

“Once you come to WSU Salutes, your pride for the university will explode,” Collinwood said. “It’s just a neat evening.”

Collinwood called the honorees unsung heroes of Weber State and the community.

“They’re the quiet ambassadors. They do things for Weber State and on behalf of Weber State, and they just are great champions of what happens here on campus,” she said. “This is a way we can show them how much we appreciate what they do for us.”

Note: This story was updated to correct the name of the scholarship set up by George E. Hall. It is the Edna Ione Hall scholarship for Arts and Humanities students.