Influential Trailblazers honored at Dixie State University Presidential Awards

Dixie State University’s Presidential Awards Ceremony recognized influential members of the Dixie State and Washington County communities who are blazing trails to make a difference in Southern Utah.

As part of the Presidential Awards Ceremony, held April 18 at Dixie State, the Board of Trustees, Dixie State’s governing body, awarded Trustee Awards to ten individuals committed to service, quality education and making a difference in the community.

The Trustees’ Distinguished Citizen award was given to Sue Cox, Carl Lamar and C. Jeffery Morby. Cox, who serves on the National Advisory Board for Dixie State, greatly contributes to the long-term success of DSU’s academic programs, business enterprise and capital fundraising efforts. Lamar, a Southern Utah radio host, utilizes his broadcasting talents to serve the Dixie community. Morby, president of The Dixie Foundation, has changed the lives of many DSU students by raising funds for needs-based scholarships.    

The Trustees’ Excellence in Service award was presented to Katie Armstrong, Del Beatty, Corey Reeves and Robyn Whipple. Armstrong, assistant director of Academic Advisement, has served at Dixie State for ten years where she guides and supports undeclared students. Beatty, dean of students and assistant vice president at Dixie State, has contributed to the success of student involvement and leadership, campus recreation, the disability resource center and numerous other DSU departments. Reeves, director of guest services, began his career at Dixie State 30 years ago as a dishwasher and, over the years, has helped plan thousands of events for the community and university. Whipple has served as the administrative specialist for DSU’s College of Education for the past six years and was the Classified Staff Association president in 2016-2017.  

The Board of Trustees also honored Glen Blakely, Dr. Kelly Bringhurst and Dr. Debra Bryant with the Excellence in Education award. Blakely, who has been an influential art professor at Dixie for 42 years, was recently honored with the 2018 Art Service Award by Art Around the Corner for his dedication to promoting visual arts in Utah. Bringhurst, professor of geology and director of Community Engaged Learning, is committed to creating active learning opportunities for students. Bryant, associate professor and assessment coordinator in the School of Business, significantly contributes to the success of student learning and growth and is also the founding chair of the Multicultural Committee.

Dixie State awarded Presidential Community Engagement Awards to select individuals committed to service-learning, community engagement and campus-community partnerships.

Rebekah Pectol received the Committed Community Partner award. As the executive director of United Way Dixie, Pectol creates change in the most critical areas of need in Washington County by working devotedly to educate and engage local communities in areas of need while providing meaningful service opportunities to ensure that youth and adults are involved in building their community.

Dixie State Professor of Biology Dr. Erin O’Brien was awarded the Community Engaged Scholar award. In addition to being the director of both eSMART camp and the Outdoor Leadership Academy, O’Brien helped found Neighborhood Connection, a local non-profit providing food packs to low-income students in Washington County schools. 

Tyson Pulsipher, director of community & continuing education, was recognized with the Community Engaged Staff Member award. In his role, Pulsipher has served over 10,000 visitors through hosted campus events, workshops and conferences. He has also successfully increased the number of registrations and revenue for both summer conferences and community education at DSU.

Aspen Fairbanks, a junior at DSU, received the Community Engaged Student award. As the Student Association’s vice president of service, Fairbanks has had the opportunity to serve her school and community alongside her Service Council.

Russell Feller received the Community Engaged Alumnus award. A 1984 Dixie College graduate, Feller has been involved with the Dixie State Alumni Board where he helped organize numerous DSU alumni events and activities. Feller also served as the Alumni President and on the board of trustees for the university.  

Two Honorary Doctorate Certificates, which will also be recognized at the DSU’s 108th Commencement Ceremony on May 3, were presented to Ralph J. Atkin and Terri Kane for their significant contributions to Dixie State’s mission to offer quality educational opportunities.

The university also honored and thanked Valedictorian and Commencement Student Speaker Braxton Thornley, outgoing Student Body President Cajun Syrett, outgoing Faculty Senate President Michelle McDermott and outgoing Staff Association President Ali Threet at the event.