Thursday, Sep. 17, 2009
On Friday, Sept. 18, a new yet familiar presence will grace the shady Green Ash trees and rustic lines of Utah State University’s Natural Resources building. A sculpture of longtime university supporter Janet Quinney Lawson will be unveiled in an 11:30 a.m. ceremony on the Natural Resources building patio.
The bronze sculpture, entitled Janet Quinney Lawson and created by Utah artist Kraig Varner, was commissioned and donated to the university by Lawson’s son, the Very Reverend Frederick Q. “Rick” Lawson.
Characterized by friends and family as a champion of environmental education and conservation, Mrs. Lawson died Dec. 25, 2008, at her home in Salt Lake City. She was 86.
“Janet was a fine individual who loved being active outdoors and who touched many lives in very positive ways,” said Nat B. Frazer, dean of USU’s College of Natural Resources. “Following in her parents’ footsteps, she was a generous benefactor of the College of Natural Resources. I can’t imagine any better place for her statue than in this beautiful grove of trees in front of CNR and our library that bears her parents’ names.”
Lawson was recognized by USU in 2004 during the dedication of a building named in her honor. The Janet Quinney Lawson building houses USU’s Utah Climate Center and Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Systems Laboratory, along with other services.
Lawson received USU’s Distinguished Service Award in 1998 and an honorary Doctorate of Natural Resources degree from the university in 2000.
Wildland Resources professor Fee Busby called Lawson a “remarkable person with the courage and willingness to invest heavily in programs and projects she believed important.”
“Almost all of her philanthropy was associated with the development of young people, their character and their education,” he said.
The daughter of S.J. “Joe” and Jessie Eccles Quinney, Lawson was instrumental in developing relationships between the foundation that bears her parents’ names and USU’s College of Natural Resources. In February 2008, the foundation gifted the college with $5 million to support ongoing student scholarship programs, the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney Natural Resources Library and new research programs.
“My wife, Faye, and I have warm memories of sitting with Janet on the porch of her Bear Lake cabin and listening to stories of how her parents drove from Logan to Bear Lake in a horse-drawn wagon — a two-day trip in those days,” Frazer said.
In addition to her support of USU, Lawson offered time and financial support to many organizations, including the Utah Girl Scout Council, the Hogle Zoo, the Nature Conservancy and the Utah Symphony.
The bronze sculpture Mountain Man, crafted by artist Michael Hamby, has been relocated to the Biology-Natural Resources building courtyard to accommodate the new sculpture. Mountain Man, dedicated to the university in 1996, symbolizes the region’s history, recalling Cache Valley’s past when trappers, fur traders and mountain men roamed the area with the native inhabitants long before the onset of settlement and modern development.
Janet Quinney Lawson is Varner’s second work to grace the USU campus. Educator, Teacher, Friend, a statue of Lawson’s aunt, Emma Eccles Jones, is located outside the education building that bears her name.
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, firstname.lastname@example.org