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Utah State
  May 2005  
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USU Alumni Spotlight - Dr. John C. Perez -
Director, Natural Toxins Research Center

In only the latest of his many honors, Dr. John C. Perez (Ph.D. - Bacteriology and Public Health ’72) was recently named as one of the 50 Most Important Hispanics in Technology and Business for 2005. The honor was given by Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine. The list featured men and women selected for their outstanding contributions in the workplace and community.

Last year, Dr. Perez was honored by the Texas House of Representatives for his selection to the list of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America. A formal resolution passed by the House stated that Perez’s accomplishments “have laid the groundwork for future generations of researchers”. The list of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics was published in the October 2004 issue of Hispanic Business.

Following his graduation from USU, Dr. Perez joined Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M University-Kingsville) as an assistant professor of biology. After almost 30 years of teaching, he was named a Regents professor, only the third A&M-Kingsville professor to receive that prestigious award.

In addition to his duties as Regents professor of biology, Dr. Perez became the founding director of the Natural Toxins Research Center (NTRC) in 2000. He leads the Center towards its goal of discovering medically important toxins in snake venom.

USU Receives $4.5 Million Gift
On May 5, Utah State University received a $4.5 million gift from the estate of Ray L. and Eloise Hoopes Lillywhite. This is the second largest individual gift in the university’s history. Ray L. Lillywhite served as student body president at USU before graduating in 1933 with a degree in political science. His wife, Eloise, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education in 1931.

The gift will be divided up, with $2 million going to establish the Ray L. and Eloise Hoopes Lillywhite Endowed Chair in Speech-Language and Pathology in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education. Another $2 million will be used to create the Ray L. and Eloise Hoopes Lillywhite University Scholars Endowment. The rest of the gift will enhance the existing Joanne Lillywhite Christensen Scholarship Endowment in Speech-Language Pathology.

Aggies Win NASA's Moonbuggy Race
Students from the College of Engineering brought home their first victory in NASA’s 12th Annual “Great Moonbuggy Race” in Huntsville, Alabama. The Utah State team, comprised of students from the mechanical and aerospace engineering departments, beat out 28 other colleges and universities in only their second attempt to earn the $3,500 first place check.

Each school was to design a human-powered vehicle that could fit into a space no bigger than four feet by four feet by four feet. The vehicle then had to be unfolded by its two drivers and raced over a half-mile obstacle course. The USU vehicle completed the course in 3 minutes 59 seconds.

The moonbuggy is the culmination of months of planning and building by the USU team. As each competition requires a new design, the moonbuggy will find a home at the university where it will go on display.

Commencement 2005 Information
Even rain couldn't dampen the spirits of graduating Aggies and their families last Saturday, May 7. With rain falling steadily all morning, USU candidates marched from the Nelson Field House to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to receive their graduation certificates.  Former pro football player and USU alumnus, Merlin Olsen, delivered the featured address at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. 

Students from 47 states and 36 nations were among the approximately 3,428 students to receive bachelor's degrees. For more information on the 2005 graduating class click here.

Students weren’t the only ones being honored at Utah State University’s 113th Commencement. A number of prominent alumni were awarded honorary degrees, including:
Niranjan R. Gandhi (MS – Bacteriology ’70, PhD – Public Health ’72) received a Doctorate of Agriculture.
Bernice H. McCowin (BS – Education ’49, ME – Family and Human Development ’96) was bestowed with a Doctorate of Education.
David G. Sant (BS – Electrical Engineering ’62, MS – Electrical Engineering ’64) was awarded a Doctorate of Engineering.
George Ralph Wanlass was bestowed with a Doctorate of Arts.

To view USU's Commencement scrapbook, click here.

New Library Gets a Name
The new USU library currently under construction has now been given a name. The Utah State University Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to name the new facility the Merrill-Cazier Library.

The 200,000 square foot addition is due for completion in fall 2005. The library will replace the 74-year-old Merrill Library, named for the former vice president of academic affairs, which is scheduled for demolition in 2006. The new Merrill-Cazier Library is being built as an addition to the existing Cazier Science and Technology Library. The Sci-Tech Library was built in 1995 and named in honor of USU’s 12th president.

The $40 million Merrill-Cazier Library will combine USU’s two libraries under one roof and feature a 150-computer learning commons and 30 group study rooms.

Statesman Names Their Teacher of the Year
Dr. Beth Foley’s impressive achievements as an academic are easy to see. It’s the way she got to where she is that surprises people. What many don’t know about the 2005 Utah Statesman Teacher of the Year is she paid for her doctorate degree with prize money from a bikini contest. While working as a kindergarten teacher, Dr. Foley entered the swimsuit competition. The $10,000 scholarship made it possible for her to continue her education.

The Boston native received her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the University of Massachusetts before coming to USU. For the last 12 years, Dr. Foley has taught in the Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education. The focus of her work is literacy development for people with severe disabilities.

Last year, Dr. Foley was named the 2004 Teacher of the Year for her contributions to her students and thousands of individuals with disabilities.

Robins Awards Honor USU's Best
Old Main’s “A” glowed blue on April 16 in honor of those receiving awards at the 48th annual Robins Awards. The night’s top honor, the Bill Robins Memorial Award, went to Jay Price for his academic excellence, leadership, and dedication. The Val R. Christensen Service Award went to the Val R. Christensen Service Center for the Center’s efforts in raising money for the tsunami victims. Melissa Baggaley won Female Athlete of the Year, with Spencer Nelson taking Male Athlete of the Year.

For complete coverage of the event, visit click here.

Celebrate America Show Coming Up
“The Celebrate America Show” is an elegant evening of big-band entertainment combining dinner, dancing, and a spectacular Broadway-style show. The show is all new each year and showcases entertainment that America loves, especially the World War II Era.

Enjoy a delicious buffet dinner catered by the award-winning Utah State University food services and entertainment by the popular Celebrate America Singers and Dancers. The evening concludes with dancing, or just listening, to the music of big band greats performed by the impressive orchestra.

Performances are September 8, 9, and 10. Public tickets go on sale mid-July at the USU Ticket Office (888)878-2831. Tables for ten are available at (435)753-1551 until July. The Celebrate America Show is a not-for-profit corporation.

For more information, please see the website at

Big Blue Book Now Available Online
As was reported in the March issue of Aggie Insights, Bo Roundy, a.k.a. Big Blue, was recently honored for his years as USU’s beloved mascot. Roundy published a children’s book, entitled My Friend Big Blue, based on his experiences. To learn more about the book and to place an order, visit www.myfriendbigblue.com.

Cache Valley Magazine
Cache Valley Magazine includes stories from around the valley, including Utah State University. For more information about the magazine, visit www.cachevalleymagazine.com.

Back to the Buzzer
This graduate gets ready for his graduation in 1915


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.

Old Lyric Repertory Company Summer Schedule
The Old Lyric Repertory Company announces a new summer line-up of shows. Enjoy fantastic performances of “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof”, “Arsenic and Old Lace”, “The Fantastics”, and “You Can’t Take It With You”. For information on show times, tickets, and box office locations, visit www.usu.edu/lyric or call (435)797-1500.


USU Job Board



Chapter News

Cache County Aggie Chapter
June 10 , 2005 Cache County Golf Tournament on Old Main Hill.

Portland Aggie Chapter
July 2, 2005 - Molalla Buckeroo Rodeo and Barbecue

Salt Lake County Aggie Chapter
June 20, 2005Utah/SLC Chapter Golf Tournament at Thanksgiving Point
July 30, 2005 Family Swim Party and Aggie Ice Cream Night

September 10, 2005 - USU vs. Utah Pregame Party

Southeast Idaho Aggie Chapter
June 3, 2005 - Barbecue

Treasure Valley Idaho Chapter
June 4, 2005 - Golf Tournament

Utah County Aggie Chapter
June 20, 2005Utah/SLC Chapter Golf Tournament at Thanksgiving Point
July 16, 2005Aggie Family Swim Night at the Scera Pool

Weber County Aggie Chapter
July 16, 2005 - Aggie Car Show
August 20, 2005 - Golf Tournament

Note: More information on these events will be forthcoming.


Academic Excellence Honored at Whitesides Luncheon
Utah State honored 155 student-athletes recently at the annual Joe E. Whitesides Scholar-Athlete luncheon. The event was held to recognize those student-athletes who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or produce two consecutive semesters of 3.2 or better. Overall, the athletes combined to average a 3.033 grade point average.

The luncheon’s top honor, the Joe E. Whitesides Award, was shared by tennis player Carolyn Stephens and track and field athlete Crystal Thisselle. Stephens holds a 3.95 GPA while majoring in Nutrition Science and Pre-Med. Thisselle is majoring in both science and economics and has a 3.93 GPA. This marked only the second time in the event’s 50-year history that the award has been shared.

New Basketball Signees
The Aggie basketball team that will defend the Big West Championship is coming together. Four new players, including three Junior College transfers, have signed on to play at USU next year.

Chris Session – 6’ 6” 215 lbs. – Junior College Transfer
Nate Bendall – 6’ 9” 225 lbs. – Skyline High School
Chaz Spicer – 6’ 7” 215 lbs. – Junior College Transfer
Durrall Peterson – 6’ 4” 210 lbs. – Junior College Transfer

For more on these new players, visit the USU Basketball website.

Travel Opportunities

HawaiiHawaii and Aggie Football
November 8-14, 2005
Enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Hawaii and the thrill of Aggie football at the same time. The Alumni Association invites all Aggies to join them for a five-night stay at the Pacific Beach Hotel and cheer on the Aggies as they battle the University of Hawaii Rainbows.
For more information on upcoming alumni travel events, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/travel.html.
Dr. John C. Perez






Ray L. Lillywhite









Merlin Olsen







Merrill-Cazier Library


Dr. Beth Foley
Photo by Michael Sharp



Bo Roundy
Photo by John Zsiray



































Carolyn Stephens
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