Alumni Awards 2015

Celebrating UVU Alumni

The alumni awards have been a University tradition for the past sixteen years. At the awards event, the Utah Valley University Alumni Association honors individuals for their contributions in advancing UVU's goals and mission.

This year's alumni awards event took place on the evening of Sept. 24. More than 200 guests enjoyed dinner prepared by the UVU Culinary Arts Institute and performances by the Alumni Music Society. After a welcome from Jeri Allphin, interim assistant vice president of Institutional Advancement, the awardees were recognized.

Alumni Award Recipients

Distinguished Student Service Award

Distinguished Student Service Award Zack Dearing

The Distinguished Student Service Award honors a UVU student who has enhanced the quality of campus life and the student experience.

Zack Dearing is a public relations major slated to graduate in April 2016. Since arriving at UVU, he has been involved with the University as much as possible and credits it with changing his life in every way. He has served in student government and has been a UVU mentor, Foundation ambassador, club ambassador, and president of the Student Alumni Association. With his help, the UVUSAA quadrupled its membership and created the nationally recognized "Stop Being Boring" campaign.

UVU's students cover a broad spectrum. "From traditional college freshmen to nontraditional single parents returning to school, Zack was able engage them all," said Kevin Walkenhorst, assistant director of alumni relations.

Young Alumni Award

Young Alumni Award Mark and Britnee

The Young Alumni Award recognizes a recent UVU graduate who continues to support the University through time, energy or contributions.

Both Mark and Britnee Johnston are UVU alumni and communications majors. After five years of living traditional post-graduate lives, they left their jobs and home behind to travel the world for an entire year. They chronicled their trip in the blog One World One Year to preserve their memories and share their experiences with others.

The values and principles they learned at UVU accompanied the Johnstons on their trip. The couple credits their education for helping them gain skills for their adventure. They embody the UVU spirit by continuing to seek knowledge after their formal education ended.

Alumni Pinnacle Award

Alumni Pinnacle Award Curtis Morley

The Alumni Pinnacle Award honors alumni who further the UVU Alumni Association's mission through contributions of time, energy or resources.

Curtis Morley is an entrepreneur who has started three companies and currently serves as president of eLearning Brothers. He has taught numerous classes at UVU and has served on several alumni committees, including most recently as president and president emeritus.

Morley "bleeds green" and is excited about the growth and momentum UVU is experiencing. Students are thrilled to have an alumni president who is so involved. He plans to continue supporting the University in any way he can.

Distinguished Service Award

Distinguished Service Award Keith and Melisa Nellesen

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes individuals who have served as employees or volunteers to further the University's purposes and mission, with that service having a profound effect on the University.

Discovering their son, Cole, had autism was a defining moment for Keith and Melisa Nellesen. In the years since, they have dedicated themselves to doing all they can to help and support Cole – as well as others who have found themselves in a similar situation. That help includes donating the cornerstone gift for UVU's newly announced, dedicated autism center. They also encouraged others to become involved in the effort to provide training, resources, and hope for those living with autism.

Thanks to the Nellesens' generosity, the dream of an autism facility is now a reality. It will benefit the entire community.

Legacy Award

Legacy Award Marc and Deborah Bingham

The Legacy Award recognizes alumni and friends of the University who have gone the extra mile to contribute time, energy, or resources to UVU and the Alumni Association.

Marc and Deborah Bingham have been strong supporters of UVU for decades. In addition to time (Deborah served for more than 12 years on both the UVU Foundation Board and the Board of Trustees), the Binghams have provided ongoing financial donations to the school. They have purchased a table at the President's Scholarship Ball each year, donated $1 million for the construction of the Science Building, and funded an ongoing scholarship for single parents.

Wilson W. Sorensen Lifetime Achievement Award

Wilson W. Sorensen Lifetime Achievement Award Steve Teeter

The Wilson W. Sorensen Lifetime Achievement Award honors an individual who has served throughout his or her life and career as a UVU employee to further the purposes, mission, growth, and advancement of the University.

Steve Teeter is recently retired after 28 years of teaching at UVU. First hired as an accounting teacher, he also served as an accounting department chair and Woodbury School of Business alumni board faculty advisor. He developed a paperless classroom when it was unheard of in his field, was a member of the Wiley Faculty Network, and developed hybrid accounting classes.

Teeter was a favorite among students. They lined up to take his classes not because they were easy, but because they earned their grades.

Outstanding Alumni Award

Outstanding Alumni Award Kenneth Brailsford

The Outstanding Alumni Award recognizes alumni who have a distinguished record of service in their specialized area of endeavor, bringing honor and recognition to UVU.

Kenneth Brailsford attended Utah Valley Community College after serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He then founded the company Nature's Sunshine with family members. In 1994, he was named Utah's Entrepreneur of the Year. He most recently founded Zija International, where he is currently chair of the board and CEO. He has created thousands of jobs in the community and around the world.

Brailsford also enjoys guiding local companies back from the brink of bankruptcy. He is a humble man who attributes his successes to the workers at these companies.

President Holland Thanks Alumni

In his closing remarks, UVU President Holland thanked the University's alumni. He explained that the award recipients weren't the only ones making a difference. All alumni have the opportunity to change the University for the better.

"We have a great university because we have great people doing great things," said President Holland.

Visit the alumni award nomination page to nominate a deserving individual for next year's awards.