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October 2003

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NelsonUSU Alumni Spotlight -
John C. Nelson, M.D., Alumnus of the Year

Utah State alumnus, John C. Nelson, M.D., was recently named president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. The prominent Salt Lake City obstetrician and gynecologist is expected to become president of the organization next year.

Dr. Nelson has been instrumental locally and nationally in addressing domestic violence and child abuse. He was invited by the AMA Alliance to act as a spokesperson for the "Stop America's Violence Everywhere" (SAVE) campaign, and assisted the American College of Emergency Physicians in developing guidelines to evaluate sexual assault victims.

In addition to his leadership roles with the AMA, Dr. Nelson has served as president of the Utah Medical Association and Salt Lake County Medical Society. An active advocate on the medical liability reform front, Dr. Nelson continues his private practice and has active privileges at two Salt Lake City hospitals.

As president-elect, Nelson said the top issues he hopes to address are improving Medicare for senior citizens, providing health care for 41 million uninsured Americans and mitigating the recent maelstrom of malpractice lawsuits.

Nelson graduated with Utah State's class of 1965 in biology, and Dr. Tom Bahler was his pre-med advisor. He was a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, the honorary pre-med fraternity. A student during the same era as Merlin Olsen (Merlin was a senior when John was a freshman), Dr. Nelson said he looks back on his days in Logan fondly.

For his years of exemplary dedication to the health and well being of the citizens of Utah, and his outstanding service to his profession, the Utah State University Alumni Association is proud to recognize Dr. John C. Nelson as the 2003 Alumnus of the Year.

*Story by Patrick Williams

USU Freshman's Nuclear Reactor
NeutronA physics project by a Utah State University student that creates small occurrences of nuclear fusion has been producing something else lately: a media buzz. The nuclear fusion reactor built by freshman Craig Wallace was the subject of a recent feature story in the Desert News. The article led to a mention of the experiment by Paul Harvey on his nationally syndicated radio show, and the notoriety keeps growing. (Herald Journal, 09/20/03)
Read more »

Now and ForeverHomecoming
The tradition of Homecoming continues at Utah State University this fall with the golf tournament, dance, parade and great Aggie football. Now Forever: Living the Aggie Tradition is this year's theme. Join us on Friday, October 10th for the golf tournament at Logan River Golf Course and the Homecoming Dance that evening in the Taggart Student Center. Saturday, October 11th begins with the parade at 10:00 a.m. on Main Street, the Alumni/Big Blue Club tailgate at 4:00 p.m., and Aggie football against the Wyoming Cowboys at 6:00 p.m. in Romney Stadium.  Call 1-800-291-2586 for more information on these exciting Homecoming activities and remember, wear your Aggie blue to the game!

Back to the Buzzer
Homecoming of Fall 1961


Think Utah State!
Utah State University has launched a new campaign to get people to “Think” Utah State.  Recruitment publications have a new look using the “Think” theme.  Included are the backlit billboards in the Salt Lake International Airport and a new web design is on the way.

The new look is heavily supported by market research.  The image building campaign began with research and focus groups conducted by Dan Jones and Associates.  As a result of the research, Utah State Public Relations and Marketing created a marketing plan for the next three years.  The plan concentrates on one of Utah State’s strengths each year. During that year, publicity will focus on the theme while highlighting all of Utah State’s outstanding programs.  The first year will focus on Utah State’s achievements in the area of space, including the Space Dynamics Lab and student experiments in space.  The second year will highlight land and water programs such as Genomes and the Utah Water Research Lab.  Human Services, including the Center for Persons with Disabilities, Audiology, and Education will be highlighted the third year.

Research and discovery, alumni outcomes, residential campus, hands-on learning and statewide engagement are all strong secondary themes that will be promoted throughout the campaign. Another key theme to permeate every message is the idea of academics first. 

Big BlueGo Big Blue!
Almost any student on campus today can tell you that Utah State's mascot is Big Blue.  Most people, however, don't realize that before 1989, there was no Big Blue, and that since then, four have become mascots for professional teams.

In 1989, a student graduating from Ricks College contacted Cheer Squad Advisor, Linda Zimmerman, inquiring about a mascot position. At the time, USU had no mascot. While only the Big West basketball tournament remained, this student persisted until he was allowed to travel all the way to Long Beach for the tournament (mainly so he would quit being a bother). Donning an ancient and ugly royal blue suit, he dazzled the crowds and was such a hit that the squad had to have him. This student, whose name cannot be disclosed since he is now the professional mascot for the Denver Nuggets, began one of the biggest traditions on USU’s campus. A new mascot position and scholarship were created, and his official name was naturally “Big Blue”, which had simply been used in the development of the mascot in reference to his new costume.

Since 1989, there have been six different students in the Big Blue costume. The first Big Blue is still currently the mascot for the Denver Nuggets. The second Big Blue became the mascot for the Salt Lake Golden Eagles (hockey). When the Salt Lake Hockey team sold their franchise, this student moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana and became the mascot for their hockey team -The Comets. The third Big Blue went on to become the first mascot in history for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While spending time looking for the next perfect Big Blue for Utah State, a member of the cheer squad filled in as Big Blue. This student then became the professional mascot for the Denver Soccer team. The fourth and fifth Big Blue both received degrees from Utah State University and they now reside in the Salt Lake City area.  Current Big Blue is in his second season with Utah State University.  Four of the six mascots were all on Utah State’s cheer squad prior to becoming Big Blue.

Currently, Big Blue is funded by both the Student Activities Department and the Athletics Department.  He receives a full scholarship and keeps a very tight schedule. Not only will you see Big Blue at all the games and campus activities, but he also volunteers many hours to the community, local elementary schools, hospitals, assisted living centers and private parties.  Big Blue’s favorite appearances are those with the Special Olympics

Scholarship Recipients
Alumni chapter scholarships this year brought 22 new students to USU.  These scholarship recipients were honored at a dinner on September 24 at the Alumni Center.  Utah, Idaho, Arizona, and Las Vegas are just a few chapter areas that raised support for student scholarships this past year.  Alumni Sustaining Memberships, Aggie licenses plates (in Utah), and chapter events provide strong support for scholarships.  Here are a few of those recipients:

LizEleanor "Liz" Wheatley, Box Elder County, Utah, wants to teach and share the joys of music with children.  A flute player, she also can play the piano, piccolo and tenor saxophone. Her love of children fits in with her chosen career, as well as her hobby. She collects Pez candy dispensers and has about 130 of them.

ElizabethAs one of ten children, Elizabeth Rich, Summit County, Utah, says she would not be at USU without her scholarship.  “Words cannot express the gratitude I feel,” she says.  Loving anything to do with design, she majors in interior design and hopes someday to have her own interior design business.

Scott Like most of his fellow scholarship recipients, Scott Lee, Malta, Idaho, has a keen interest in outdoor activities.  He is hoping to attend law school and says he wouldn’t be at USU without the support.  His mother and father went to USU and four siblings are Aggie graduates.

Engineer BuildingNew Engineering Building Dedication
The new Engineering Building dedication will take place Thursday, Oct. 16 at 3:30 p.m. in the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation Display Center of the building on the USU campus.  Utah Lt. Gov. Olene Walker will be on hand for the occasion.  Everyone is invited to come early for a tour of the new four-story, 105,000 square-foot teaching facility that was built with a combination of state, private and corporate funding.  The new building was designed by MHTN Architects of Salt Lake City to take full advantage of modern technology-enhanced teaching methods that emphasize team work and interactive learning. Click here for more pictures »


Utah State University Alumni Relations sponsors many exciting events throughout the year. To keep informed about the most current ones, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/events.html often.


Chapter News:

Box Elder County
On November 15, from 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon, Box Elder County Aggie Chapter will host a pre-game party at the Alumni Center.   Cost per person will be $10 and will include the pre-game meal and a ticket to the USU vs. Troy State Football game.  Door prizes will also be given.  Please R.S.V.P. to the Alumni Office at 1-800-291-2586 (locally 797-2055) by November 13.

New York City
An organizational meeting will be held November 12 at 7:00 p.m. (site to be determined).   Anyone interested in being involved with helping to organize the New City Chapter, contact Patty Halaufia at 1-800-291-2586.

Washington D.C.
President Kermit L. Hall will lecture at the National Press Club on the JFK Assassination Friday, November 14, 2003 at 6:00 p.m.  Did investigators of the murder of President John F. Kennedy get it right? A week before the 40th anniversary of the assassination, President Hall fills in the blanks. He was one of five Americans appointed by President Clinton and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the Kennedy Assassination Records Review Board. Please join President Hall for a presidential lecture and reception at the National Press Club.

For more information, call 1-800-291-2586.  You may also contact the D.C. Alumni Chapter President Michelle Merrill at 703-369-0834.  Please R.S.V.P. to 1-800-291-2586.


Check out utahstateaggies.com for the latest news and information about Aggie Athletics.  If you would like to receive electronic updates from Athletics, e-mail Joli Hatch at joli.hatch@usu.edu.

Travel Opportunities

TahitiCruise Tahiti
October 25- November 2, 2003
Sail aboard the Pacific Princess as she visits the enchanting island of Tahiti.† Ports include Papeete, Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Moorea. Prices begin at $1895.00 per person, double occupancy, and include cruise, airfare and all taxes and fees.

China China
May 12-21, 2004 - (rescheduled from September 2003)

To find more information, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/china.html or contact Scott Olson at (435) 797-2055.

Machu Peru: Empire of the Incas
March 17-24, 2004
This exciting tour includes visits to Lima, Cozco, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Manu National Reserve and the Amazon. 
Prices begin at $2299.00 per person, double occupancy.  To find more information visit www.usu.edu/alumni/peru.html or contact Scott Olson at (435) 797-2055. 
London BridgeEngland and Scotland
October 2004
Don't miss the spectacular sights of London, Oxford, Stratford Upon Avon, Bath, Stonehenge, and more.  Exact dates and pricing will be available at a later date.
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