USU Homecoming 2012: 'Once an Aggie, Always an Aggie'
Thursday, Sep. 27, 2012
Utah State University honors several distinguished alumni during Homecoming 2012, “Once an Aggie, Always an Aggie.”
The 2012 Homecoming Honorees include Alumni of the Year — Paul A. (’86 speech, ’89 interdisciplinary program) and Slyvia M. (’87, economics) Jones; Distinguished Young Alumna — Tamara E. Mumford (’03 vocal performance); and Grand Marshal, Kevin D. Curtis (’03 business marketing).
Paul A. and Sylvia M. Jones, Alumni of the Year
Paul Jones is interim president at Georgia College and State University. In addition to his appointment as interim president, he serves as the vice president for administration and operations. In this role he is responsible for the university’s fiscal, human and physical resources. This includes oversight of the departments of Budget and Payroll Services, Accounting Services, Auxiliary Services, Human Resources and Employee Relations, Plant Operations, Purchasing, Printing Services, Mail Services, Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Occupational Safety.
Paul has served at Georgia College for ten years where he previously served as vice president and chief of staff, vice president for Institutional Research and Enrollment Management and in several interim roles, including vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of faculties, vice president of Business and Finance and assistant to the president. He also holds the position of professor of educational administration at Georgia College.
His career spans more than 26 years in higher education in Georgia, Colorado, Utah and Maryland. In 2007, Paul was named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow, the nation’s premier higher education leadership program and served at the University of West Florida.
Paul was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, attended Utah State University on a football scholarship and participated in track and field.
Paul said his experience at USU was life-changing.
“USU is a magical place,” he said. “When I arrived over 30 years ago, I instantly fell in love with the picturesque campus, but I worried that I would not make it socially and academically. I contemplated transferring on a couple of occasions my freshman year. I am so pleased that I was patient and listened to friends and coaches and did not give up. USU was the best thing that could have happened to me. It (USU) took an inner-city kid who was ‘rough around the edges’ and helped develop him personally, spiritually and intellectually.”
Paul holds a doctorate in education and human resource studies with a concentration in educational leadership from Colorado State University. He earned both a bachelor’s in speech (’86) and a master’s in the interdisciplinary program (’89) from Utah State University. He serves on numerous committees and civic boards and is a member of the Downtown Macon Rotary and the Goodwill Middle Georgia and CSRA board of directors.
Paul and his wife, Sylvia, reside in Macon, Ga. Both children, Isaiah and Daphne, are currently students at Utah State University.
Sylvia Jones has worked in the financial education industry for the past 20 years. She served as director of Financial Aid and as interim dean of Enrollment at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., (now Colorado Mesa University) as well as director of Financial Aid at Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga. In her role as financial aid director she was responsible for developing policy and procedures that insured college compliance of all federal, state and institutional student aid funding and delivery of those funds to the student body. In 2006, she began working for the Student Loan Corporation, a division of Citibank, where she remained until accepting the position as an assistant vice president-account executive in the Education Financial Services division at Wells Fargo Bank N.A.
In her current role as assistant vice president, Sylvia manages and consults with colleges and universities throughout the Southeast Region of the United States. Her primary role is to oversee the management of Wells Fargo education financial products and services to school clients. She is the primary point of contact for day-to-day consulting, operational support and client relationship management with ultimate responsibility for issue resolution and overall client satisfaction.
Sylvia is involved in many regional and state higher education organizations. She served as the state secretary for the Colorado Association of Financial Aid Administrators; she currently serves on the Georgia Association of Financial Aid Administrators Professional Development Committee, the Georgia Financial Aid Association Strategic Planning Committee and South Carolina and Georgia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Diversity committees. She has also conducted professional development presentations as well as financial education presentations at both the regional and state levels.
Sylvia enjoys working in the financial education arena. Every year she spends many volunteer hours in her community conducting presentations at high schools, as well as working with several students and parents as they navigate the admissions and financial aid process.
Sylvia said the college financial aid process can be daunting and overwhelming for many first generation families.
“I do my best to help guide them through the process,” she said.
Sylvia is originally from San Antonio, Texas, however, growing up as a military brat she lived overseas for most of her junior high and high school years. During the middle of her junior year of high school her father was transferred to Salt Lake City (Ft. Douglas). Once they settled in the Salt Lake City community she began to hear about Utah State University so she did a little research.
“Once I saw the campus, I knew in that moment that it was where I wanted to attend college,” Sylvia said. “I am a proud alum and proud to be an Aggie. I really appreciate my experience both in and out of the classroom. I was involved in numerous activities at USU. Some of my fondest memories are being a member of the USU Gospel Choir, an idea that my husband, Paul, and I discussed as students and decided ‘why not’? With the support of the USU administration, including Val Christiansen, Gary Chambers, the late Clifton Wilkes and Ross Peterson, we began the USU Voices of Praise Gospel Choir. What an experience!”
Sylvia and her husband, Paul, are involved in many philanthropic activities. Some of these activities include Rotary Club meals for families, scholarships for disadvantaged students pursuing study aboard, the establishment of an African American Student Leadership Scholarship at USU and support for the Goodwill Industries Foundation.
Sylvia holds a bachelor’s in economics (’87) from Utah State and an MBA from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo.
Tamara E. Mumford, Young Alumna of the Year
Mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford was raised in Sandy, Utah, and received her bachelor’s in vocal performance from Utah State University in 2003. Upon graduation, Tamara accepted a scholarship to Yale University to continue her studies in opera performance. After one year at Yale, Tamara was invited to become a member of the prestigious Lindemann Young Artist Development Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in 2006 and has since sung principal roles in more than 130 performances with the company; several of which have been broadcast live to movie theaters internationally as part of the Met’s Live in HD series.
In addition to her work at the Met, Mumford has enjoyed performing title roles at Opera Company of Philadelphia, Glimmerglass Opera, Glyndebourne Opera Festival in the United Kingdom and the BBC Proms in London, Palm Beach Opera, Castleton Festival, Crested Butte Music Festival, the Orchestra Sinfonica Giuseppe Verdi di Milano in Italy and at the Utah Festival Opera in Cache Valley.
An active concert performer and recitalist, Mumford made her Carnegie Hall Debut in 2005 and has most recently performed with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Grand Teton Orchestra, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, the Met Chamber Ensemble, the Utah Symphony, the Nantucket Musical Arts Society and toured throughout the United States with the Musicians from Marlboro Festival. Mumford has also performed recitals in the USU’s Manon Caine Russell Kathryn Caine Wanlass Performance Hall.
In 2012-13, Mumford will debut with the New York Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Opera and then travel to Paris, London, Lucerne, New York and California with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Spring tour.
Mumford thinks fondly of her undergraduate experience at Utah State University and is thankful for the way it prepared her for the rigors of a career as a professional singer. During her time at USU, Mumford studied with Cindy Dewey and still considers her as her primary voice teacher. She schedules voice lessons with her whenever she comes into town.
Mumford’s mother and father are both USU graduates, and loved the area so much that they decided to retire in Cache Valley in 2011. Mumford became a “True Aggie” with her husband, Nathan Mumford (’06), on Homecoming weekend in 2000. He is now a dentist in Connecticut where the couple lives with their 3-year-old son, Brian. When Mumford isn’t singing she enjoys running, going on family bike rides, making lists, cleaning her house and going on picnics in the park with her family.
Kevin D. Curtis, Grand Marshal
Kevin Curtis attended Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, and was a letterman in football and basketball. In football, he was an All-Region honoree as both a wide receiver and as a defensive back.
Curtis began his collegiate career as a walk-on at Snow College, where he earned second team All-America honors. He then transferred to Utah State University and walked on to the Aggie’s football team as well. As a junior he led the nation in receptions, earning him third team All-America honors, while setting many new Utah State single-season records along the way.
After graduating from USU with a bachelor’s in business marketing in 2003, Curtis was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 3rd round (74th overall) of the 2003 NFL draft. He played for the Rams for four years, alongside fellow receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt. His best season with St. Louis came in 2005 with 60 receptions, 801 yards and six touchdowns. He also tallied more receiving yards than any other receiver in the 2004 playoffs.
In 2007, Curtis moved from the Rams to the Philadelphia Eagles. He played with the Eagles for three years and set career highs in his first year with a total of 1,110 yards, 77 receptions and six touchdowns. He was only the 11th receiver in Eagles’ history to breach the 1,000-yards mark. While battling injuries, Curtis spent the last two seasons moving between the Miami Dolphins, Kanas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. Currently, he is a free agent.
Off the field, Curtis enjoys being outdoors, traveling and spending time with family and friends.
Curtis said he is proud to be an Aggie, and will always have incredible feelings of gratitude for the great university. He met some of his greatest friends at USU, earned a degree and gained an education that he values tremendously.
As a child, it was always Curtis’ dream to play professional football, and when he reflects on his journey to the NFL, he said it is impossible not to think of the significant role Utah State played in helping him get there.
“Here (USU) I was given the opportunities to follow my dreams, and I’ll be forever grateful for that,” Curtis said.
For more information on USU’s Homecoming week visit the Homecoming website.
Contact: Brandon Taylor, 797-8537, firstname.lastname@example.org
Writer: Maren Cartwright, 435-797-1355, email@example.com