Actor Danny Glover is USU Commencement Speaker
Thursday, Apr. 01, 2010
Highly successful actor, community activist and philanthropist Danny Glover has been named commencement speaker for Utah State University’s 123rd graduation ceremony. He will join a group of four other prominent individuals who will receive honorary doctorates during the undergraduate ceremony May 8 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan.
Others receiving honorary doctorates are: public radio pioneer Donald R. Quayle; business leader and public servant Scott R. Simplot; psychologist, community volunteer and environmental activist Dr. Paula Swaner; and long-time Utah media executive Dominic A. Welch.
“Honorary degrees are one of the most important ways we have to recognize people for the commitment and the sacrifices they have made to make this world a better place,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “These individuals have made their marks in a number of ways and in a number of fields, but all of them deserve honor for their passion and determination to serve others.
“We are truly honored that Mr. Glover has accepted our offer to give the commencement address,” Albrecht said. “As most people know, he has distinguished himself on the screen and stage over the course of a long and successful professional career. But he also has gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and for personal efforts that have helped people throughout the world. We are truly proud and pleased that he is coming here to address our graduates.”
DANNY GLOVER (Commencement speaker)
Danny Glover has been a commanding presence on screen, stage and television for more than 25 years. His film credits range from the blockbuster Lethal Weapon franchise to the cult classic Saw to smaller independent features, some of which Glover also produced. He has also had success in the television arena, with a recurring role on the hit NBC drama series ER during the 2005 season and with a role on the popular ABC drama Brothers and Sisters.
Most recently, Glover can be seen in the role of the president in Sony Pictures action thriller 2012. He also recently completed work on Neil LaBute’s dark comedy Death at a Funeral for Screen Gems, Honeydripper for director John Sayles, Be Kind, Rewind, co-starring with Jack Black and Dear Alice.
Glover appeared in the critically-acclaimed feature Dreamgirls for director Bill Condon, co-starring Jamie Foxx, Eddie Murphy and Beyonce. The Paramount Pictures film, based on the Tony Award-winning musical, was released in 2006 and received two Academy Awards and additional honors. Also for Paramount he appeared in Shooter for director Antoine Fuqua, starring opposite Mark Wahlberg.
A native of San Francisco, Calif., Glover earned a degree in economics from San Francisco State University and also trained at the Black Actors’ Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater. He started his acting career on the stage, appearing in numerous plays, including Athol Fugard’s The Island and Sizwe Banzi is Dead. However, it was Glover’s Broadway debut in Fugard’s Master Harold … and the Boys that first brought the actor national recognition.
It was after seeing his performance in Master Harold…and the Boys that film director Robert Benton cast Glover in his first leading role in 1984’s Oscar-nominated Best Picture Places in the Heart. The following year, Glover starred in two more Best Picture nominees: Peter Weir’s Witness and Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple.
In 1987, Glover partnered with Mel Gibson in the first Lethal Weapon film, earning an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actor. He went on to star in three hugely successful Lethal Weapon sequels. Glover’s many film credits also include The Royal Tenenbaums; Beloved, for which he won an Image Award for Best Actor; The Rainmaker; Angels in the Outfield; and Lawrence Kasdan’s Grand Canyon and Silverado.
On the small screen, Glover won an Image Award and a Cable ACE Award and earned an Emmy nomination for his performance in the title role of the HBO movie Mandela. He has received three more Emmy nominations for his work in the acclaimed miniseries Lonesome Dove, Fallen Angels, and the telefilm Freedom Song, the last of which Glover also executive produced and for which he garnered another Image Award, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.
He has also gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts. Glover currently serves as a UNICEF Ambassador and, in recognition of his dedication to public service, has received numerous prestigious honours including the 2002 Marian Anderson Award, the 2003 NAACP Chairman’s Award, the 2004 BET Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 CBCF Phoenix Award. He is also Chairman of the Board of TransAfrica Forum, a non-profit global justice organization whose focus is on fostering a closer alliance amongst and address issues facing African Americans and peoples in Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.
DONALD R. QUAYLE
Donald R. Quayle started his career in public broadcasting at Utah State University where, as an undergraduate, he helped put Utah’s first educational radio station on the air. He received his master’s degree in theater arts from USU before moving on to Ohio State for graduate work. Quayle was an early advocate of the concept of interconnection and networking for educational radio and television. He worked in leadership positions at a number of educational television and radio networks, including as a networking consultant for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He became the first president of National Public Radio, and he worked tirelessly at Corporation for Public Broadcasting to create CPB’s education department. Throughout his career, he was an outspoken advocate of decentralization and increasing the power of individual stations to make programming decisions.
SCOTT R. SIMPLOT
Scott R. Simplot is an outstanding citizen, business leader and public servant. Chairman of the board of the J. R. Simplot Company for over a decade, Simplot has guided all company activities and has been a liaison between the board and senior executive management. The J. R. Simplot Company, with more than 13,000 employees, is a principal driver of the Idaho economy. It is one basis of the state’s reputation for world-class potatoes, and the company has also diversified into vegetables, fertilizers, cattle, turf grass and processing and distribution systems. Under his leadership, the J. R. Simplot Company established its own research unit to advance the cultivation and processing of potatoes and to improve turf grasses, cattle breeding and cattle nutrition. Simplot is a 1968 University of Idaho alumnus and MBA holder from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He emphasizes the company objectives of continual learning and problem solving through the application of science and technology. He also remains committed to “work that benefits humanity.” His investments in cutting-edge industries have brought opportunities to Idaho, the nation and the world. He was an early advocate of using computers and information technology to change the business world. He was a founding member of the board of directors for Micron Technology, which has become Idaho’s largest private employer. Simplot’s community commitment extends to volunteer efforts. He has helped such public groups as the Chamber of Commerce and the Salvation Army; his most recent involvement is as chair of the expansion of the Idaho Food Bank, to help alleviate hunger across the state.
Dr. Paula Swaner has received several degrees from the University of Utah, including a bachelor of arts and a master of arts in English literature, as well as a master’s of science in educational psychology and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. She has also received a master of arts from Pacific Graduate Institute in the Mythological Studies Program and is in the dissertation phase of a Ph.D. program from Pacifica University. In addition to her degrees, Dr. Swaner has certifications in Object Relations Theory and Therapy from the School of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis, as well as from the Academy for Guided Imagery. In 2003 she established the Rocky Mountain Psychological Center, a Psychotherapist’s Group Practice involving training and community mental health projects. Dr. Swaner and her family are responsible for developing the Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter, a land preservation and environmental education project that recently signed a strategic partnership with USU. Dr. Swaner has received numerous honors, including the Heart and Hands Award from the Cornerstone Counseling Center (2001) and from the Swaner EcoCenter (2006), the Norman S. Anderson MD Award for Distinguished Service to Mental Health in Utah (2002) and Emeritus Merit of Honor from the University of Utah (2003).
Dominic Welch has been an avid newspaper reader throughout his life, beginning as a child in Price, Utah. There he worked at the neighborhood shoeshine stand, where he had the opportunity to read the Salt Lake Tribune. Welch was named the publisher of the Salt Lake Tribune in February 1994 and at that time was president of the Newspaper Agency Corp., overseeing the advertising, printing and distribution of the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News. He left the board of the NAC in February 2001 and retired from the Tribune in August 2002 when it was taken over by its owner, MediaNews Group Inc. At the time of his appointment at the Tribune, Welch was also the president of the Kearns-Tribune Corporation, whose subsidiaries then owned the Lewiston Morning Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho); The Daily News (Moscow, Idaho, and Pullman, Washington); the Daily Sparks Tribune (suburban Reno, Nevada — Welch later purchased this paper after he left the Tribune); and The Gazette (a weekly in Colfax, Wash.). Welch’s career started after his graduation from Utah State University in 1957, when he joined Wells Baxter and Miller, a major Utah accounting firm that later merged with Haskins & Sells. There, Welch’s duties included auditing the Salt Lake Tribune. He later joined the Kearns-Tribune Corporation as controller in 1965. He became the general manager and treasurer in 1970 and was named the corporate president in 1983. He also became the director and treasurer of the Newspaper Agency Corporation in 1976.