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Utah State University's Old Main Society Honors Significant Donors

Thursday, Oct. 06, 2011

photo of USU's Old Main
Richard and Joyce Shipley, 2011 Spirit of Old Main Award recipients

Richard and Joyce Shipley, recipients of the 2011 Spirit of Old Main Award, are to be honored for life-long commitments to Utah State University.

Bill and Carol Strong, 2011 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award recipients

Bill and Carol Strong are the recipients of the 2011 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award for their lifelong dedication to education.

Nate and Heather Wickizer, Old Main 2011 New Generation Award recipients

Nate and Heather Wickizer are dedicated USU sports fans and are receiving the New Generation Award.

USU Old Main Society nameplate

The Utah State University Old Main Society will recognize individuals with three of its most prestigious awards Friday, Oct. 7, during annual Old Main Society activities on campus.

The university will honor Richard and Joyce Shipley with the Spirit of Old Main award. William and Carol Strong will receive the Spirit of Old Main Emeriti award. And, Nate and Heather Wickizer will be honored with the Spirit of Old Main-New Generation award.

The Spirit of Old Main Award is bestowed for lifetime achievements and loyalty to the university. The Emeriti Award honors retired faculty or staff of the university who have also shown exemplary dedication and contribution. The New Generation award is given to a person or couple the university recognizes as the “next generation” of Aggies.

The Old Main Society was established in 1967 to recognize alumni and friends whose support makes possible the fulfillment of Utah State’s mission. Membership represents the pinnacle of recognition for those who express their belief in the institution through significant philanthropic support.

2011 Spirit of Old Main Award
Richard L. and Joyce C. Shipley

Utah State University is a vital part of Richard and Joyce Shipley’s lives. Their dedication and commitment to the university is unwavering and is evident in the many ways they generously give of their time, expertise and financial resources to the USU community.

Richard was a member of USU’s Board of Trustees, where he served as chair for two terms. Richard and Joyce support the Department of History’s Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture and fund archaeological research in the Department of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology both located in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. To assist students in need, they established a scholarship endowment for students from Preston High School in Idaho.

Richard and Joyce were raised in families of modest means. Joyce’s parents ran a dairy farm in Whitney, Idaho. Richard’s parents were both music educators who attended USU and who would eventually send Richard, along with all of his siblings, to the university. Joyce and Richard were high school sweethearts — sticking together through mission and military service for seven years until they were married.

Richard earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from USU and then continued his graduate studies at the University of Utah. In 1990, he completed a three-year program at the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. Richard was named Small Business Person of the Year for Utah by the Small Business Administration in 1992.

Joyce graduated from LDS Business College with her executive secretary degree and worked until she had her first child. Joyce’s main focus has been raising five children, who are all successful in their professions and marriages.

Richard and Joyce founded Shipley Associates, an international writing and communication training firm — with offices in Bountiful, Dallas, Washington, D.C., and Basel, Switzerland. The success of the company allows the Shipleys to give back in many capacities.

Since retiring in 1994, Richard has been fully engaged in public service. He served as a special assistant to the governor, helped organize the Utah Foster Care Foundation and participated in the Governor’s Health Policy Commission.

Richard is deeply committed to his family and enjoys spending time at their cabin in Idaho, fishing, hiking and four-wheeling. He also enjoys taking fishing trips to Alaska and is an archaeology buff. His lifelong love of music prompted him to serve as a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for eight years. Joyce’s passions are family time, reading, crocheting and “girl time,” as she says. She especially enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.

2011 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award
William J. and Carol J. Strong

A dedication to education and a passion for Utah State University has shaped the lives and careers of William and Carol Strong. Theirs is a true partnership in life and work.

Bill and Carol’s passion for USU began in 1969 when Bill became a faculty member in secondary education and Carol enrolled as an undergraduate in communicative disorders. In 1971, Carol graduated with honors and led the USU Student Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Both received Utah State Office of Education Fellowships at the University of Illinois. In 1973, they returned to teaching positions in what was then known as the College of Education, later to be named the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services.

Carol soon became a highly regarded instructor of speech and language pathology. In 1983, she received a Presidential Fellowship for doctoral study, and in 1989, she became the first doctoral graduate of USU’s Research and Evaluation program. Later, Carol directed USU’s Women and Gender Research Institute and served as the College of Education associate dean for research. In 1998, she was named Utah State’s Professor of the Year for Teaching Excellence, and in 2000, she received the college’s Outstanding Scholar/Researcher of the Year Award. In 2001, Carol became a Trustee Professor of Communicative Disorders. From 2004 through 2010, Carol served as dean of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Under her leadership the college secured seven endowed chairs, one endowed program and a new world-class building.

Working in English education, Bill received a Visiting Scholar Award at UC-Berkeley in 1978 and in 1979 he founded the Utah Writing Project (UWP), an award-winning effort to improve K-12 writing instruction. Over the next 25 years, more than 2,000 teachers participated in statewide summer programs offered by UWP. Bill also served on the National Writing Project advisory board, consulted nationally and authored several books for teachers and students. In 1988, he was named College of Education Professor of the Year for Teaching Excellence, and in 2003, he received the college’s Outstanding Scholar/Researcher of the Year Award. Bill served as department head for secondary education from 1994 to 1999.

During their tenure with USU, the couple established the Strong Human Services Award, an endowment that recognizes faculty whose work profoundly improves the lives of people in the Cache Valley community, and they fund a program that promotes statewide recognition of excellence in language arts teaching in Utah schools.

Bill and Carol are the parents of two children who both graduated from Utah State and are loyal Aggies.

2011 New Generation Award

Nathan W. and Heather G. Wickizer

Tried and true Aggies, Nate and Heather Wickizer understand the importance and the value of a Utah State University education. Coming from families of modest means, Nate and Heather are grateful for the scholarship Nate received as a member of USU’s Men’s Basketball team. In return, the couple enjoys helping other young Aggie athletes.

The Wickizers are proud to have been members of the Big Blue Scholarship Fund since graduating from USU, even in their early years when the donation was very modest. Nate donates his time and lends his expertise in business by serving as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Advisory Board for Aggie Athletics and by participating in the USU Athletics Mentoring Program. In 2009, Nate and Heather were lead donors for the Men’s Basketball Locker Room and Lounge remodel that provides a state-of-the-art facility for Aggie athletes. They hope the locker room and lounge are a home the athletes will enjoy for years to come.

Nate and Heather met in an undergraduate family and human development class. They were later engaged at the “A” on Old Main Hill after an evening at the Kent Concert Hall. Both earned bachelor’s degrees from USU — Nate in sociology and Heather in family and human development. Heather earned her social work license and worked in case management with Bear River Mental Health. Years later, she decided to devote her efforts full-time to her growing family. After graduation, Nate joined Cache Valley Electric where he now serves as Chief Operating Officer. He is a member of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors and has worked with several other industry-related and non-profit boards, including Sunshine Terrace and Phoenix Services.

Nate and Heather are the proud parents of four children, ages 4 to 13. All four play basketball and aspire to one day playing in the Spectrum. The Wickizers also like to travel and stay busy supporting their children’s hobbies and activities. The Wickizer family spends much of its time in the fall and winter cheering on the Utah State Aggies.

Related links:

USU Old Main Society

USU Advancement

Contact: Cecile Gilmer, 435-797-8275,

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