Old Main Society Will Honor Significant Alumni
Thursday, Sep. 30, 2010
Fred and Sharon Hunsaker, recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Old Main Award, are to be honored for life-long commitments to Utah State University.
Gene and Ruth Miller are the first recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award for their lifelong dedication to education.
Paul and Rebecca Parkinson and their children, who are all stated to become third-generation Aggies.
The Utah State University Old Main Society will recognize individuals with three of its most prestigious awards Saturday, Oct. 9, during annual Old Main Society activities on campus.
The university will honor Fred and Sharon Hunsaker with the Spirit of Old Main award. Gene and Ruth Miller will receive the Spirit of Old Main Emeriti award. And, Paul and Rebecca Parkinson 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. A new award to be given this year is the Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award, which honors faculty or staff of the university who have also shown exemplary dedication and contribution. The Spirit of Old Main-New Generation award is given to a person or couple who 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.
2010 Spirit of Old Main Award
Fred R. and Sharon W. Hunsaker
It might be difficult for fellow Aggies to remember where they first met Fred and Sharon Hunsaker, recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Old Main Award, because both have been such an integral part of the university in so many different capacities over the years. Both have made generous, life-long commitments to Utah State University.
Fred was a first-generation college graduate after having been raised on a farm in Box Elder County and helping to support his mother and two siblings. After graduating in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in finance from USU, Fred continued his academic career with post graduate studies at USU and the University of Utah. He went on to obtain a master’s degree from the University of Washington’s Graduate School of Banking.
He spent 26 years in the banking industry, starting off as a loan officer and eventually ascending to CEO of First Federal of Logan. He came to USU in 1991 as vice president of Administrative Affairs. From 1997-99 he took leave to work as the associate commissioner for Finance and Facilities for the Utah System of Higher Education. He returned to USU in 2000 and resumed serving in his previous position.
He has also served in the Utah State House of Representatives for over 14 years.
Fred received the 2002 USU Leadership Award, the 2004 USU Robins Achievement Award and the Innovation Campus Contribution to Development Award.
Outside of his professional career, Fred has served in numerous community and church functions, including the Cache Valley Council Boy Scouts, the Cache Valley Health Foundation, the Sunshine Terrace Foundation and the American Cancer Society. Fred also served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Denmark.
In his spare time, Fred enjoys golfing, fishing and farming.
Sharon received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education at USU and spent much of her working career as an advisor to elementary education student teachers. Sharon has been a member of the A.C. Women’s Club, USU Community Associates and she and Fred are Performance Hall seat donors. Sharon also is a past PTA president.
Sharon’s father, Elmer “Bear” Ward, was an extremely loyal Aggie. He was USU’s first football All-American.
Fred and Sharon knew each during high school and were married in the spring of 1963. They have three children who have all gone on to graduate from USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
Sharon and Fred are members of the Big Blue Touchdown Club and the Old Main Society-President’s Circle and have made gifts to USU every year for as long as we have been keeping records.
2010 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award
Gene W. and Ruth E. Miller
Gene and Ruth Miller are honored to be the first recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Old Main Emeriti Award for their lifelong dedication to education. They are grateful to Utah State University for the opportunities they were given to obtain a high-quality education and for the enrichment it has provided throughout their lives.
Gene started classes at Utah State University in 1946 and received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in soil chemistry. Gene went on to earn a doctorate in biochemistry from North Caroline State University. Later, he returned to USU as a faculty member in botany as a plant physiologist/biochemist. He also served as the first head of the Biology Department for 12 years prior to retiring as associate dean of the College of Science.
His greatest interests over the years were research and teaching. More than 25 students received their doctoral degrees under Gene’s direction.
After retirement from Utah State, Gene and his family started BAICOR, Inc., a manufacturing business producing specialized plant nutrients for agriculture, golf courses, home and garden. As the company evolved, it was recognized as one of the fastest growing companies in Utah.
Ruth returned to USU after having five children and received her bachelor’s degree in languages, specializing in German and Spanish. She was deeply involved in school activities and functions as her children grew up, and she also served in various capacities as a volunteer in her church and community.
Their first son, Wayne, received his bachelor’s of science in biology, and their second son, Michael, completed his bachelor’s in marketing from USU’s Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.
As a newly married couple Gene and Ruth worked part-time and are thankful to USU for support in the way of scholarships and assistantships. They are especially grateful for the faculty members who went out of their way to help the struggling newlywed students make ends meet while at USU.
The Miller family has established endowed scholarships in Marketing; Languages; Biology and Plants, Soils and Climate. They are also proud to support the USU library, and they are ardent supporters of the USU athletics program. The Millers also have helped to create grants for basic research in biology and chemistry through BAICOR.
Gene and Ruth are members of the Old Main Society President’s Circle.
2010 Spirit of Old Main-New Generation
Paul D. and Rebecca J. Parkinson
It is an understatement of epic proportions to say that Paul and Rebecca Parkinson, recipients of the 2010 Spirit of Old Main-New Generation award, have deep connections to Utah State University.
Paul and Rebecca met at USU at the beginning of their sophomore year, just after Paul’s return from an LDS Church mission to northern Argentina. The next three years they were side-by-side as they completed their schooling together. Paul earned a bachelor of arts in humanities and social sciences/liberal arts and sciences. Rebecca graduated with a bachelor of science in elementary education from the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services. Both graduated cum laude, June of 1993, just two weeks after their first son was born.
Rebecca and Paul were both members of the USU President’s Leadership Council (now known as Ambassadors) for four years. Both were inducted into the Student Ambassador Hall of Fame in 2009. In 1992-93 Rebecca received the Outstanding On-Campus Student Award from the Elementary Education department.
After graduation, Paul went on to work for Medline Industries, Inc., where he received the Rookie Representative of the Year in 1997, Sales Representative of the Year in 2000, and eventually became regional manager in 2004.
Paul has been heavily involved in many aspects of the university, serving as the Alumni Association Executive Board President and as a member of the Alumni Chapter Board. He is also a former member of USU’s Board of Trustees.
Rebecca was raised in an agricultural family of seven children. She graduated from North Sevier High School with high honors. She and Paul have been members of Mortar Board, USU Community Associates, the Big Blue Scholarship Club, are Performance Hall seat donors and are members of the Old Main Society at the Tower level.
Paul’s family legacy is rich: his mother, Leah Dunford Parkinson Christensen, also an Old Main Society member, was Dean of Women from 1959 to 1966, and then later Alumni Association President (1974-1977). Both sets of parents attended Utah State, as well as all of their siblings and their spouses.
“Both of us came from homes of modest means. We both received four-year scholarships to Utah State University and were beneficiaries of someone else’s generosity,” they said, “Since that time, we’ve always had the desire to somehow perpetuate that generosity.”
In 2001, the Parkinsons established the Paul and Rebecca Parkinson University Ambassadors Endowment, in appreciation of the financial assistance they both received while serving as USU Ambassadors. They are also donors to USU Athletics, the Caine College of the Arts, the USU Library, Alumni Scholarships, and other areas of the University.
Paul and Rebecca now have six children, who are all slated to become third-generation Aggies, and enjoy supporting USU athletics.