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Utah State University Greats

A Lifelong Gift

Marie Veibell’s graduation photo from the 1947 USU yearbook, The Buzzer.       Marie Veibell's graduation photo from the 1947 USU yearbook, The Buzzer.
Marie Veibell        Marie Veibell graduated from Utah State University in 1947 and enjoys playing a small part in the university's growth through the modest annual donations she has made over the past 50 years.
When Marie Veibell graduated from Utah State University in 1947, the campus had 29 buildings and 4,068 students, up from 920 in 1944 during World War II. During the last 61 years, USU has seen tremendous growth in these areas. Today there are nearly 200 buildings and more than 23,000 students and Ms. Veibell has enjoyed playing a small part in this growth. 

“People need a little help sometimes, and if you can help one person then they can help somebody else and it’s a great cycle,” she said. “I started giving just a little bit to Utah State a few years after I graduated, once I’d had time to get established, and I’ve given every year since.”
She enjoys reading about USU in the newspapers and seeing how it has grown and all the research its students and faculty are doing.
“It is interesting to see the campus grow and see all the new buildings popping up because that’s the reason I give—to help the university build itself up and offer more to its students and to the world. It can’t grow without money, and it takes donations from a lot of people to make a difference.”
The vice president for university advancement, Ross Peterson, agrees.
“The heart of donating at Utah State is the consistent annual gifts from alumni and friends that add up to make a big difference for individual departments and for students,” Peterson said. “We appreciate their willingness to give back to help the university become a place where students can earn scholarships, work with renowned professors and learn in state-of-the-art facilities.”
Ms. Veibell graduated with a degree in chemistry and worked for 41 years as the laboratory manager at Logan Regional Hospital until she retired in 1990.
The Herald Journal lauded her hard work in its 1986 article “‘Invisible’ Laboratory Technologists Honored.” When she first started, she was the only one in the lab, it said. Thirty-seven years later, she was responsible for a 33-member staff that performed an average of 60,000 tests each month, and Veibell began using an increasingly technological approach to the painstaking work she once did by hand.
Before using her degree to manage the lab at the hospital, Ms. Veibell got her working experience at the Aggie Dairy.
She was an odds-n-ends girl at the dairy. She helped make cheese, cut butter into squares and then wrap it and, of course, made and served ice cream.
“We had this coffee ice cream in the store and nobody would buy it,” she said. “So one day, we decided to change the name to ‘Hawaiian Delight’ and we sold out in about 20 minutes. The chief wasn’t too happy though and told me if I ever tried that again, I was outta there.”
Ms. Veibell paid heed to his warning so she wouldn’t lose her high-paying job — 75 cents an hour, up from 50 cents an hour the year before.
Even after she graduated, Ms. Veibell stayed loyal to her alma mater. She would continue to attend plays at the outdoor amphitheatre, see productions at the Caine Lyric Theatre, and her favorite — watch USU sports.
For her 80th birthday in 2005, her family gave her a framed picture of the Hall of Fame basketball players from 1950-2005 that she proudly displays in her home.
She remembers watching the Homecoming football game against Idaho State during Merlin Olsen’s senior year in 1961 when the Aggies won 69-0.
The next day’s Herald Journal article makes it easy to see why this game stands out in the mind of an 83-year-old fan.
“The game featured a little bit of everything, from a slush-and-snow covered field to three senior linemen playing in the backfield,” it said. “The Aggies pushed for their first touchdown just five minutes into the game … Aggie defensive tactics were so effective that during the first quarter the snow was not even disturbed on the north end of the field … Tommy Larscheid’s performance made him the most productive ball carrier in history, as he eclipsed the record set by Jack Hill.”
This Cornish native has spent her life in Cache Valley and wants USU students to know how lucky they are to have a good place to go to school.
“You can get the same quality education, if not better, at Utah State as you can anywhere else,” Ms. Veibell said. “It’s also got a great location — it’s clean, close to the mountains, and if you look around, there’s always something going on somewhere.”
Writer: Annalisa Fox, 435-797-1429
July 2008

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