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Five Prominent Individuals to Receive Honorary Degrees from USU

Thursday, Apr. 28, 2011

USU 2011 Commencement illustration
USU honorary degree recipients L. John Wilkerson and Karen Haight Huntsman

Utah State University Honorary Degree recipients L. John Wilkerson and Karen Haight Huntsman.

USU honorary degree recipients C. Hardy Redd, Syng-il Hyun

C. Hardy Redd (left) and Syng-il Hyun (right) will receive honorary degrees during Utah State University's 124th commencement.

USU honorary degree recipient Mike Dmitrich

Mike Dmitrich, retired legislator and lifelong devotee of higher education, is an honorary degree recipient at Utah State University.

Highly successful business leader, community leader and philanthropist L. John Wilkerson will address Utah State University undergraduate students during USU’s 124th graduation ceremony Saturday, May 7, in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan. The hooding ceremony for graduate students is Friday, May 6, in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.

Wilkerson will join a group of four other prominent individuals who will receive honorary doctorates during the Saturday events. Others receiving honorary doctorates are: 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.

Undergraduate students assemble on the university Quad with their colleges no later than 8:30 a.m. Saturday. In the event of exceptionally bad weather, graduates will assemble in the Nelson Fieldhouse. The procession begins at 9 a.m. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m.

 “Senior Celebration 2011” takes place Thursday, May 5, 7-10 p.m. in the Taggart Student Center. This is a free event for graduating seniors and $5 for guests. There will be refreshments, giveaways and entertainment. Tickets may be picked up at the David B. Haight Alumni Center on campus.

The Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony for master’s and doctoral degree candidates is Friday 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Assembly of candidates takes place at 12:30 p.m. in the Nelson Fieldhouse for the procession. Master’s candidates are hooded by members of the Graduate Council, while doctoral candidates will be hooded by their major professors and deans.

Guest tickets are not required for the commencement ceremonies in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or for the college ceremonies. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors to the Spectrum will be open to the public for the ceremonies at noon, Friday, May 6, and 8 a.m., Saturday, May 7.

Visit the commencement website for more detailed information.

L. John Wilkerson (Commencement Speaker)

L. John Wilkerson received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from USU in 1965. He continued his education at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and received both a master’s and a doctorate in managerial economics.

In 1972 he joined Johnson & Johnson, and was recruited by White Weld and Co. to be its health industry analyst responsible for covering rapidly growing diagnostics, device and pharmaceutical companies.

He joined the Smith Barney health industry team in 1978 with responsibility for an expanded list of health product companies as well as the emerging medical services sector. He acquired an interest in Channing Weinberg, a boutique healthcare consulting firm. Dr. Wilkerson recruited several extraordinary diagnostic, pharmaceutical and medical device industry veterans, and together they re-branded the firm (The Wilkerson Group), bought out the founders and opened offices throughout the United States and Europe. By the time the firm was acquired by IBM in 1996, its staff of 175 was completing more than 300 assignments per year.

In 1990, Dr. Wilkerson began dividing his time between TWG and a new venture, Galen Partners, a healthcare private equity firm he co-founded with William Grant. Over the last 19 years, the firm has managed $1 billion and invested in more than 80 companies. Each of Galen’s funds has garnered top quartile fund ranking. He has served on numerous private and public boards in the U.S. and abroad, and he helped start companies that are now the leaders in their market sectors.

He is on the executive committee of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics; and until recently he was chairman of the board of Atlantic Health Systems, New Jersey’s leading hospital system.

His personal interests are far ranging, and include education, conservation, community health and the arts. He is the immediate past president and executive committee member of the New York City-based American Folk Art Museum. He is also a member of the Cornell Council, founder and president of the E.L. Rose Land Conservancy and past chairman of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Advisory Board.

He and his wife, Barbara, have been married for 43 years and have three grown children.

Karen Haight Huntsman

Karen Haight Huntsman is a shining example of philanthropy and service throughout her community and the world.

Once referred to as the “Chairman of the Chairman” in a Forbes Magazine article, she was recognized for her instrumental role in the development of the Huntsman Corporation from its start as a small plastics packaging firm to one of the world’s largest corporations with plants and operations in many countries. Even while raising nine children, she has always served as a senior officer and director of the company.

A generous philanthropist, Mrs. Huntsman and her husband, Jon, have contributed to many worthy causes, including financial aid to flood victims in Thailand and earthquake victims in Armenia. In the United States, they have given financial assistance to the homeless and disadvantaged and provided funding for medical and educational centers, including the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah and the Huntsman Center for Global Competition and Leadership at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Finance.

Her and her husband’s contributions have greatly affected Utah State University, with substantial funds given for the Huntsman Environmental Research Center, the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business and the David B. Haight Alumni House (in honor of her father).

C. Hardy Redd

Hardy Redd has led a life influenced by his abiding passion for the land and for the history that is shaped by it.

Raised in a ranching family in southeastern Utah, he fostered the values of rural Utah and the agricultural community and has used them throughout his distinguished career.

He has served in the Utah legislature for three terms, on the USU Board of Trustees and as president of the Utah chapter of the Society for Range Management. He has also served on the Bureau of Land Management Resource Council. He was chosen as Utah’s “Rancher of the Year,” as well as the “Forest Landowner of the Year,” in recognition for his expertise in timber resource management.

Mr. Redd’s long involvement with Utah State University began as a student and continued with his service on the USU Board of Trustees, as well as terms on the President’s Support Council, the College of Natural Resources Advisory Board and the Dean’s Advisory Council for the former College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.

He has a great understanding of the importance of religion and has been instrumental in the development of a Religious Studies program at Utah State. Mr. Redd is an articulate and forceful advocate in the securement of a gift for the endowment of the Charles Redd Chair in Religious Studies.

Syng-il Hyun

Dr. Syng-il Hyun is an advocate for the advancement of higher education in Korea and is a highly recognized expert on relations between South Korea and North Korea.

As a college student in Korea during the 1960s, Dr. Hyun was thrown into prison for several years because of his pro-democracy activities. Released only when he agreed to attend graduate school at Utah State University, he moved with his family to Logan and graduated with a doctorate in sociology in 1983.

Upon his return to Korea, he served as president of the top private university, Kookmin University, and served in many higher education leadership positions, including roles as president of the National Private Universities Presidents Council and as elected chairman of the Korean Educational Council.

In 2000, he served as an elected member to Korea’s National Assembly, a governing body comparable to the United States Senate, and was quickly selected for leadership roles instrumental to the country’s educational system. Due to the failing health of his wife and his desire to be with her, he did not seek reelection in 2004 and returned to teaching.

A vigorous supporter of Utah State University, Dr. Hyun has contributed to the establishment of several funds to support graduate education and is a recognized leader in meetings of the USU Alumni Association in Korea, the largest USU alumni association outside of the United States.

Mike Dmitrich

Mike Dmitrich is one of the longest serving public servants in Utah’s history. With countless legislative accomplishments and state and national recognitions, he is a career-long advocate of higher education.

Elected to the Utah House of Representatives in 1968, he served as house minority leader from 1983 to 1990. In 1991, he was appointed to the Utah State Senate and was elected to the same seat in 1992, serving as senate minority leader from 2001 to 2008. In 2008, he retired from the Utah State Senate after 40 years of continuous public service for the people of Utah.

Spending most of his life in Price, he was an accomplished athlete and served as captain of the Carbon High football team. His photo hangs in the Utah High School Hall of Fame.

In 1954, Mr. Dmitrich joined the Utah State University football team as one of four freshmen to receive a full-ride football scholarship. When sidelined by a football injury, he returned to Price to become captain of the College of Eastern Utah football team. The Bunnell Dmitrich Athletic Center, located at USU-CEU, is named after him.

With a professional career that began in the mines of Carbon County, he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather who lost their lives working in the mines. As a senator, he worked to make the mining industry safer and served on many natural resources committees.

Contact: Tim Vitale, (435) 797-1356,

Writer: Rob Goates, (435) 797-1350,

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