Aggie Insights E-newsletter
    VOLUME 9 | ISSUE 5 May 2011     

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USU Alumni Spotlight - Matthew J. Kirby Matthew J. Kriby

Spotlight by Liz Wilson

Matthew J Kirby appreciates the power of the written word. Since graduating from Utah State, he has written two novels for children, the second will be released later this year. His education at Utah State was a springboard to his future professional success as a writer and as a school psychologist.

For Matthew, the decision to attend USU was an easy one. He was born in Logan, and his family later moved around due to his father's military career, but they eventually settled back in Cache Valley after his father retired. Even while they were out of Cache Valley, Matthew and his family made the trek back to Logan each year to visit family. "With roots that deep in Cache Valley," Matt said, "Utah State was always my first choice."

While at Utah State Matthew studied History and Psychology, and surprisingly not English. His interests in History had the potential to lead him to a career teaching high school but it was his minor in psychology that lead him to pursue a graduate degree in School Psychology. While working on these degrees, Matthew never gave up his love for writing and both degrees gave added depth to his stories. "Thus far my fiction has all been inspired by history," Kirby said, "My degree taught me how to research and read history, skills that I have relied heavily on for each book I've written." One of his fondest memories of Utah State is of browsing the stacks in the old Merrill Library. Wandering down the aisles, Matthew would pull down every title that sounded interesting and soak up a wide array of history to use as background for his stories. "That was how I stumbled across the true story of a boy that inspired my first children's novel, The Clockwork Three," Matthew recalled.

As a student of history, Matthew was guided along with the help of History professor Dr. Norm Jones. "Dr. Jones has always been supportive and encouraging of me, both as a student of history, and also as a writer," Matthew said, "He actually helped fund a trip to my first major writing conference where I received an award for undergraduate fiction. I look at that conference as the beginning of my career as a writer." His education at Utah State allowed him to gain degrees that led him to a great professional career working with children. At the same time, he was able to pursue his dream of writing books to help inspire children as well.

"Writing is something I've always wanted to do. I've been writing stories since I was in the third grade, and I've known I wanted to be a writer, that is, someone who makes a living at it, since I was in the seventh grade. So the decision to write a book happened at a very young age for me. After that it was a matter of time, practice, the right story, and a fair amount of luck in getting it published," Matthew said.

Studying at Utah State allowed Matthew to gain experience and inspiration that lead to a career inspiring children to read and love learning. His advice to future authors is to read and write as much as they can. Matthew currently lives in Utah. His second novel, Icefall, is a Viking story set in Ancient Norway; it will be released October 2011.

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Merit Citation - Mitzi Kawaguchi

Mitizi Kawaguchi

Mitzi Kawaguchi is a devoted Aggie and her vast background in education has impacted thousands of students throughout the last 44 years.

Mitzi was the first in her family to complete a college degree. She received her Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education in 1962, followed by a Masters of Science in Elementary Education in 1978 from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services at USU.

She was born 8th of 12 children to first generation Japanese-American parents, whom she faithfully cared for until their passing. She taught in the elementary education system for 44 years and has mentored many other teachers over the last 4 years. She is credited for having directly touched the lives of over 1,300 students in Weber County. She has indirectly affected many thousands more, across several generations. She was nominated for Teacher of the Year on several occasions and finished first runner up in the mid 70's. Mitzi was selected as District Teacher of the year multiple times.

Mr. Art Jackson, former Department Head of Elementary Education at USU, was her mentor and father figure at USU. He pushed her to complete her Master's program and actively recruited her for several years to move to Logan and work at Edith Bowen.

She was an active member in Delta Kappa Gamma and the NEA/USEA. She received the Child Advocate of the year award from the Child Abuse Prevention Center in 1997. Mitzi has also received the student-nominated Standard Examiner Teacher Award in 1997, the RC Willey Excellence in Teaching Award in 2001, and has served as a trustee and board member at the Children's Tree House in Ogden.

Currently, she donates her time at the Nature Center in Ogden and has actively supported USU Weber County Alumni Fundraisers for many years.

For her outstanding contributions to the community and representing the enduring qualities of a true Aggie, the Utah State Alumni Association is honored to present this Merit Citation to Ms. Mitzi Kawaguchi


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Utah State University Commencement 2011 RecapGraduation

Standing in front of the Utah State University graduating class of 2011, L. John Wilkerson, a successful businessman, community-minded leader and philanthropist, reminded graduates that they live in a country that allows them to be empowered. He urged them take advantage of that empowerment to help make the world a better place.

"Along with your career success, I urge you to find the big social issues that resonate for you, commit to them and do your part to move our world onward and upward," Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson was a 1965 graduate of USU in biological sciences. He went on to earn a master's and a doctorate in managerial economics from Cornell University. His professional career was spent working in healthcare as a business leader, consultant and expert authority, particularly in the medical device industry.

Wilkerson was one of five recipients of honorary degrees from USU on Saturday. Others receiving honorary doctorates were: C. Hardy Redd, ranching and environmental activist and a supporter of religious studies; Syng-il Hyun, long-time supporter of learning and democracy in South Korea; Karen Haight Huntsman, philanthropist and community volunteer; and Mike Dmitrich, retired legislator and lifelong devotee of higher education.

To see pictures from Utah State University Commencement 2011, click here

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Featured Alumni Benefit - Alumni Travel Opportunities Featured Benefit

Enjoy a special Sustaining Member discount for all Alumni Association Travel Opportunities. From Georgia to Italy to Mozambique, look for several Alumni Association sponsored trips each year. Find out more about Alumni Travel Opportunities here

Click here to discover more benefits available to USU Alumni and Alumni Association Sustaining Members!

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Alumni Legacy Nonresident Waiver Alumni Legacy Nonresident Waiver

Keep the Aggie tradition alive!

Did you earn a degree from USU? You can now send your child to Utah State and their out-of-state tuition differential will be waived. Stay connected through the next generation of Aggies. We'd love to have them here!

To qualify for the Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship, a future Aggie must:

* Be admitted to Utah State University.
* Have at least one parent who earned an associate degree or higher from Utah State University (verification required).
* Enroll at USU as a first-time student.


Fall Semester: August 1, 2011

*Note: Awarding of the Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship for fall semester will start on December 1 and will continue to be awarded monthly until the August 1 deadline.

Time spent in Utah on the Alumni Legacy Nonresident Scholarship cannot be counted towards establishing resident student status. If you would like to discuss other options, please email Corey Mikkelsen at

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Back to the Buzzer


1914: Aggie Baseball Team

Buzzers are available online! Click here to go to the Buzzer Yearbooks Collection at the USU Digital Library.

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FREE Long Term Care Insurance Educational SeminarJon Christopher

Did you know that 1 in 3 applicants are turned down for Long Term Care Insurance because they waited too long? Plan on attending a FREE Long Term Care Insurance Eduactional Seminar with Jon Christopher. Learn about long term care needs, costs, and options. Get your questions answered and recieve a FREE long term care planning guide.

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Time: 4pm & 7pm

Location: Daivid B. Haight Alumni Center

Questions: Email or call 435-797-2055

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6th Annual Aggie Spring Run-Off Family 5KDavis 5K

Join the Davis County Chapter Aggies for the 6th Annual Aggie Spring 5K Runoff. Aggie Ice Cream and Raffle following the race.

Date:May 14, 2011

Time: 8:00 am (Check-in from 7:00 - 7:45 am)

Location: "Utah House" and Utah Botanical Center, 920 S 50 W, Kaysville UT

Cost: $30 per Family, $25 per Individual, $20 per Aggie Alumnus/Student, $5 per High School Student

RSVP: May 11, 2011 Register online here

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Aggie Ice Cream Coming to Lee's Marketplace in North OgdenAggie Ice Cream

We know you love it—and we're making it a little easier for you to get. Famous Aggie Ice Cream will soon be available at Lee's Marketplace in North Ogden, and we'd like to invite you to be a part of our inaugural celebration.

Date: Saturday, May 21, 2011

Time: 11am - 3pm

Location: Lee's Marketplace
                 2645 North Washington Blvd, North Ogden, UT 84414

Store phone number: (801) 782-7800

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Denver Chapter Aggie PicnicDenver Chapter Picnic

Save the date for the Denver Chapter Aggie Picnic. Bring your own lunch and mingle with local fellow Aggies Activities, raffle and more...

Date: Saturday, June 11, 2011

Time: 11:30am – 1:30pm

Location: Falcon Park - Highlands Ranch
                 8555 Fallbrooke Drive, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

RSVP: Friday, June 10, 2011. Register online here

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Aggie Family Lagoon Day Aggie Family Day at Lagoon

Join other Aggies for a fun-filled day at the 4th Annual Aggie Family Day at Lagoon! Meet USU Aggie football players, enjoy free Aggie Ice Cream, and enter a raffle for prize drawings. A special alumni event will be held at the Meadow Pavilion at 6 pm.

Date: Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Park Hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm

Alumni Event: 6:00pm at the Meadow Pavilion

Location: 375 Lagoon Drive, Farmington, UT 84025-2554

Cost: $35.00 for Single Day Passport (4 years of age and older) and $30.00 for Toddler Single Day Passport (3 years of age and younger). An entrance only, free pass is available for Toddlers only (2 years of age and younger). Lagoon doesn't provide for any other free passes.

Parking: $8.00 per vehicle and should be paid to the parking attendant upon arrival.

RSVP: June 22, 2011 Register online here

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Alumni Night at the Colorado Rockies Rockies Baseball

Save the date for the Denver Chapter Alumni Night at the Colorado Rockies. Rockies vs. Dodgers(**Note that it is an afternoon game this year**) We will have a non-hosted pre-game get together before the game by Coors Field Location and time details to follow.

Date: Saturday, August 20, 2011

Time: 2:10pm

Location: Coors Field

Cost: Tickets will be $30 each ($8 goes directly to our local Chapter Scholarship Fund)

RSVP: August 12, 2011 Register online here

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Save the Date - Aggie Homecoming Weekend 2011 Save the Date

Save the date for Aggie Homecoming Weekend 2011

Date: September 23 & 24, 2011

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Discover Career Success Discover Career Success

"Having attended previous Fairs/Expos sponsored by Career Services, we decided to try a different tactic at this year's Career Fair.  As seniors in mechanical engineering with similar career interests, we decided to try a "team approach" to connecting with employers.  We approached recruiters together and made sure to discuss both what we knew and what we liked about their organizations.  This unique approach was extremely successful, as we each received 6 interviews as a result of the Fair and the information sessions held after.  Ultimately, we both accepted positions with Solar Turbines in San Diego, California.  Our Career Coach at Career Services was instrumental in helping us through the entire career search process, from refining our resumes through networking/interviewing with employers, and negotiating salaries.  We look forward to beginning our careers with this excellent company and are appreciate of the excellent assistance provided by our Career Coach."

Shawn Blanch (pictured left)
Kirt Johnson (pictured right)
'11 BS, Mechanical Engineering

Connect with Career Services to:

Discover Career Success

- Hire USU students and graduates for internship and permanent positions.

- Share your career success as an alumni mentor.

- Connect with your career coach for personalized assistance in your career search.

Visit Career Services at:; (435) 797-7777; University Inn, 102.

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Share Photos with the Utah State Flickr GroupFlickr

Show your Aggie pride by sharing your USU related pictures on the Utah State Flickr group!

Flickr is one of the best online photo management and sharing applications available. Show off your favorite photos and videos to the world, securely and privately show content to your friends and family, or blog the photos and videos you take with a cameraphone.

Click here to view and add photos.

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Update Your Records Update Your Records (laptop photo courtesy of fotocromo)

Have you recently moved, changed your email address, or gotten married? Whatever the change might be, it's easy to keep your USU records current!

To update your records, simply complete the online form and we will make the necessary changes so you can continue to receive the Utah State University Magazine; invitations to our many alumni events; and information about our other exciting promotions and publications.

Click here to update your records.

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Civil Rights Tour with Dr. F. Ross Peterson: Aug 31 - Sept 5, 2011 Civil Rights Tour

Don't miss this opportunity to see the sites and learn about the events of this movement that continues to shape our nation with one of the foremost historians on the subject, Dr. Ross Peterson. Not only will you see the beauty and history of Georgia and Alabama, you will also enjoy great football as the Aggies of Utah State take on the 2010 National Champion Tigers of Auburn University.

Click here for more information.

You can sign up here

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Explore Gorongosa National Park: September 9-21, 2011Photo Courtesty of The Carr Family

Limited Space Available!

One Aggie family from Idaho Falls, ID is busy making a difference in Mozambique. Brothers Ken, Steve, and Greg Carr have become major contributors to the restoration of Gorongosa National Park. In 1999, Greg founded The Carr Foundation---a non-profit organization dedicated to "the environment, human rights, and the arts". The Carr Foundation has partnered with the Government of Mozambique to rebuild, restore, and preserve the 4,000 square kilometer park.

Don't miss this unique opportunity to experience Gorongosa National Park.

Click here to watch an interview with Greg Carr on 60 Minutes.

Click here to watch other videos about the Gorongosa National Park.

Click here for a brochure with complete details and itinerary.

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Italian Reflections Luxury Cruise: November 7-15, 2012 Photo by Margan Zajdowicz

Explore Europe from Athens to Barcelona

Immerse yourself in Capri, with its stunning panoramas. Spend a day in Rome reveling in magnificent monuments from the Colosseum to the splendor of St. Peter's Basilica and Michelangelo's breathtaking frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Explore the fabled architecture of Renaissance Florence. See the sights and enjoy the views of historic old Marseille and visit the charming fishing port of Cassis.

Click here to download the brochure.

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Class Notes

Class Notes

Have you received a recent promotion or participated in a community event? Do you ever wonder what other Aggies from your graduating class are up to?

Click here to add your own Class Note today!

Read all of the recent Class Notes to find out what's going on in the lives of successful Aggie Alumni everywhere!

Alumnus Notes

Kenna Durfee

Kenna Durfee
BS '71


I earned my Bachelors Degree from USU in 1971. I enjoyed every class, every teacher, and every Aggie Ice Cream cone I had at Utah State. I taught school in Utah and Idaho for 26 years. I loved every minute of it. I have been retired for over 20 years.

Michael Chipman
BA '97


Michael Chipman has been appointed assistant professor of voice at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. He will begin teaching music courses at Westminster in the fall of 2011. Chipman also holds a masters degree in Music from the University of Utah and an Artist Diploma in voice from Oberlin College Conservatory.


This month's obituaries can be found here.

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Current Schedules


Seventy-Five Utah State Student-Athletes Set To Graduate This WeekendAthletics Graduation

Among those student-athletes graduating are 28 football players, 17 track athletes, five softball players, four athletes each from men and women's basketball, men's tennis and volleyball, three athletes each from men's golf and gymnastics, two soccer players, and one women's tennis athlete.

LOGAN, Utah - Utah State University's 124th undergraduate commencement ceremony will be held Saturday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum and among those graduating will be 75 USU student-athletes who completed their degrees during the 2010-11 academic year.

Among those student-athletes graduating are 28 football players, 17 track athletes, five softball players, four athletes each from men and women's basketball, men's tennis and volleyball, three athletes each from men's golf and gymnastics, two soccer players, and one women's tennis athlete.

Utah State's student-athletes traditionally rank among the best in the Western Athletic Conference with an 83 percent graduation success rate and a cumulative 3.13 grade-point average. During the 2010-11 academic year, USU has had 45 student-athletes earn academic all-WAC honors thus far and 192 were recognized at its annual Joe E. and Elma Whitesides Luncheon for earning a 3.2 or better GPA.

During the 2009-10 academic year, Utah State had 194 student-athletes earn academic all-WAC honors.


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Utah State's Curtis Marsh Drafted In Third Round By Philadelphia Eagles Curtis Marsh

Former Aggie Tabbed As 90th Pick Overall; First Player From State Of Utah Selected

LOGAN, Utah - Former Utah State football player Curtis Marsh was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles with the 26th pick of the third round, the 90th overall selection, in the National Football League Draft Friday night.

Marsh, who was the first player from the state of Utah school selected in this year's draft, is also the first former Aggie to be drafted since Shawn Murphy and Kevin Robinson were picked in the 2008 draft. With the third-round pick, Marsh is the earliest former Aggie selected since Chris Cooley was also picked in the third round, with the 81st overall pick, in the 2005 draft by the Washington Redskins.

"It's such an amazing feeling, I've been dreaming of this since I was a little boy," Marsh said. "I could not be going to a better team and a better organization. Philadelphia is one of the teams that brought me in and I had a really good visit with head coach Andy Reid. With him being a BYU graduate, we talked a lot about Utah and he was very familiar with Cache Valley. I just got a really good vibe from Coach Reid and the entire organization. To be drafted in the first three rounds just feels so amazing."

Marsh got the call from Eagles' Assistant Director of College Scouting Anthony Patch about being picked by Philadelphia, immediately after San Diego selected Shareece Wright with the 89th pick, before Philadelphia was even "on the clock." Marsh also talked to Coach Reid, as well as Eagles' General Manager Howie Roseman, Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo and Secondary/Cornerbacks Coach Johnnie Lynn.

"What you're getting is a big, strong, physical, fast and a very, very intelligent cornerback who doesn't quite have as much experience as other corners in the draft, but we feel with our coaching and his athletic ability will develop into a fine starter," Reid told The Associated Press.


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Utah State Recognizes 192 Student-Athletes At Annual Whitesides Luncheon

Hailey Swenson

In all, approximately 49 percent of USU's student-athletes earned a 3.2 GPA to qualify for the awards.

LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's athletics department recognized 192 student-athletes for achieving a 3.2 grade point average at the 18th annual Joe E. and Elma Whitesides Scholar-Athlete Luncheon Tuesday. To be eligible for the honor, student-athletes must have a cumulative 3.2 grade point average or have posted a 3.2 GPA during the last two semesters.

In all, approximately 49 percent of USU's student-athletes earned a 3.2 GPA to qualify for the awards.

The top honoree during the luncheon was women's tennis athlete Hailey Swenson. The senior from North Salt Lake City, Utah (Woodscross HS) graduated Summa Cum Laude in May of 2010 with a bachelor's degree in marketing and a minor in psychology carrying a 3.98 cumulative grade point average.

As a four-year letterwinner on Utah State's tennis teams, Swenson has an overall singles record of 76-44 (.633) including a 53-32 (.624) mark in dual competition at No. 1 and No. 2 singles.

"It's pretty amazing considering there are so many people that are good at athletics and academics, so to win this award is a big accomplishment," said Swenson.

Swenson, who has earned academic all-WAC honors in each of her four years at USU, is currently working on her master's degree in business administration and will graduate in June.

Seventeen of the past 19 recipients of the top individual honor have been women as the only males in that time to win the award was Mike Puzey from men's basketball in 2003 and Tyler Ellis from men's track who shared the award with Rebecca Anderson and Alison Taylor in 2009.

Utah State also handed out team honors and women's cross country was named the top academic team with less than 20 members, women's track was the top academic team with more than 20 members, and football was the most improved academic team.

Nate Bendall, who is a senior on the men's basketball team, received the Aggie Achievement Award for overcoming life challenges and personal adversity to ultimately excel as a student-athlete and obtain a high level of academic achievement at Utah State University.

Dayna Barrett of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department was presented the Meet The Challenge Award, while Allison Noble was given the Outstanding Tutor Award and Dr. Joyce Mumah was given the Outstanding Mentor Award for their work with USU's student-athletes.

The Whitesides honors started in 1953 by former USU athlete, coach and athletics director Joe E. Whitesides.


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