Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010
Utah State University inducted new members into its Alumni Hall of Honor recently. The Alumni Hall of Honor recognizes alumni and friends of USU for their unselfish devotion and service to USU and the USU Alumni Association. Inductees have furthered the Alumni association with selfless service.
This year’s inductees are: Randy and Kathie Watts, Dennis and Lynn G. Sessions, and Sydnee Madsen.
Randy and Kathie Watts
Randy Watts has lived in Logan all his life. He attended USU in 1966 but took leave to enlist in the Air Force. Upon his return he continued his education. He continues to own J.R. Construction for 14 years. He was also vice-president of the family-owned business Cache Valley Builders for 15 years.
He is now in his second term as mayor of Logan. He has served as vice president of the Sunshine Terrace Board of Directors and has served on the Zion’s Bank Advisory Board. He also was president of the USU Alumni and Utah State University’s Board of Trustees.
Watts is an avid hiker and loves the mountains. He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Mount Rainer in Washington, Long’s Peak in Colorado, several peaks in Wyoming in the Wind Rivers and spent 35 days trekking in Nepal. Watts also served on the Beaver Mountain National Ski Patrol for 21 years.
Kathie Watts graduated from Logan High School in 1969, and has a deep Utah State pedigree. Her father, Albert Johnson, graduated from USU. She is also involved in her community and church. She enjoys cycling and performs with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She was a teacher’s aide in music at Logan High School for 12 years.
The Watts are members of the Old Main Society as well as the USU Community Associates. They are the parents of four children, all of whom graduated from Logan High School and USU. They have five grandsons and one granddaughter.
Dennis and Lynn G. Sessions
Dennis Sessions received a bachelor’s degree in business from USU in 1970 and completed an MBA degree in 1971. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. After returning to Teton Valley, he completed six additional years in the Idaho National Guard with the 116th Engineer Battalion.
The Sessions opened a Best Western motel in 1971 and in 1974 purchased Teton Hardware where Mr. Sessions currently serves as the president and CEO of Teton Hardware. An affiliation with Ace Hardware in 1996 has helped meet the needs of the community, and in 2005 Teton Ace Hardware was relocated into a new 19,000-square-foot space.
Dennis served as president of the Teton Valley Chamber of Commerce and president of The Idaho Innkeepers Association. He was appointed by the governor of Idaho and served two terms on the Idaho Travel Council and was a member of the Idaho Centennial Commission.
He completed a two-year term as president of the USU Alumni Association, served on the university’s Board of Trustees and served for many years on the Alumni Executive Council. He is currently serving as the group leader for the Southern Idaho Ace Retailers Group.
Dennis has always been actively involved in community affairs and served in many leadership positions in his church.
Lynn Gillette Sessions was born and raised in Teton Valley Idaho and graduated from Teton High School. When she and Dennis got married, she changed her major at USU to business, because “he wanted to own his own business and knew he would need her help.” She always wanted to be a teacher, however, and when she reached her senior year, her longing to be a teacher was greater than ever. With the help of a good counselor, she was able to get her degree in elementary education from USU in 1969.
Since 1971, Lynn has taught 1st grade, 5th grade and 8th grade while balancing the books for both businesses at night. Lynn was also the drill and dance team advisor at Teton High School for eight years. During the summers she was involved in the United Spirit Association as a counselor for their cheer and drill team camps, working in Idaho, Utah and Montana.
She served as a member of the Program Committee and as the chairman of the Judges Panel of the Junior Miss Pageant for five years. She has worked alongside Dennis in the Chamber of Commerce and the USU Alumni Chapter organization for southeastern Idaho. She has also served on many committees and in leadership positions for her church and community.
Lynn and Dennis Sessions are proud of their five children and nine grandchildren and hope to have more. They also hope that many of them will choose to be Aggies.
In 2007, Lynn and Dennis Sessions established an endowment at Utah State University to provide a Leadership Scholarship for students graduating from Teton High School with a desire to attend USU.
Sydnee Madsen was born and raised in Logan, where USU would shape her life. Not only did her parents Ralph and Jane Binns graduate from Utah State, but her grandfather, Wayne Binns, taught and conducted research in the College of Agriculture studying poisonous plants.
“I love the USU campus and the life and excitement that it brings to this town,” Madsen said. “The times I have spent with my family at Aggie football and basketball games are some of most fun memories of my life. I’ve been filled with Aggie pride as long as I can remember.”
Madsen was awarded the Presidential Scholarship to attend USU and excelled as a student. An active member of the Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Madsen was also a member of the first Student Alumni Association Board and enjoyed serving at that capacity throughout her time at USU.
“My experience as a student at Utah State was filled with fun, hard work, service and growth,” Madsen said. “The university provided me with countless opportunities to succeed both on campus and in the community.”
The university’s political science department provided her with an opportunity to work as an intern in the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch in Washington, D.C. It was there that she met her husband, Rich Madsen, who happened to be a great grandson of John A. Widtsoe, USU’s fifth president.
Madsen graduated from USU in 1999, earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from the College of Business, now the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. She worked as a trust officer at Wells Fargo Bank for several years and is now a full-time mother of four young children.
Madsen continues her involvement with USU by serving on the Davis County Alumni Board and as the president of the Young Alumni Association. During her tenure as president, she has helped create the “1888” Club and also organized an annual “Aggie Ice Cream Party” for the families at the Road Home family shelter in Salt Lake City.
‘It was a great honor for me to have the opportunity to serve as the Young Alumni representative on the USU Alumni Executive Board,” Madsen said. “I love to share my Aggie pride every chance I get!”
Madsen enjoys spending time with her family at Bear Lake where they boat, play in the water and hike.
“It is an amazing site to see the ‘A’ on Old Main from across town, and it is equally amazing to walk across the Quad on a still winter night and see the ‘A’ shining just overhead amidst the sparkling snow covered trees,” she said.
Writer: Max Dahl, 435-797-1356, firstname.lastname@example.org