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A Year in Review... As the year begins, the Utah State Greats reflect on 2017 and the numerous impacts Utah State University has made on the future of higher education, research and outreach. Defined by the principles of learning, discovery and engagement, the university’s land-grant heritage is at the forefront of all that goes into making the state of Utah, the nation and the world a better place. As USU President Noelle E. Cockett stated so eloquently in her inauguration address:

“I am eager to build and extend THE LEGACY OF GREATNESS that epitomizes Utah State University.”

Lengthening the Legacy Utah State University celebrated the inauguration of its 16th president, Noelle E. Cockett, in May 2017. The installation ceremony took place during the university’s 130TH COMMENCEMENT CEREMONY. Several celebratory events were held to honor the university’s newest president, including the unveiling of A NEW AGGIE ICE CREAM FLAVOR — Inauguration Peanut Butter Fudge Crunch — at a gathering on the Quad hosted by USU students.


Wearable Technology Tracks Health

Utah’s Lake, Utah’s Economy

Chris Thurston

are critically important for wildlife, industry and human health, all of which are economically important. The Great Salt Lake, for example, HAS AN ECONOMIC VALUE OF $1.32 BILLION PER YEAR.

lives a pretty typical life for a 9-year-old; except that he just CO-AUTHORED A RESEARCH PAPER FOR A MEDICAL JOURNAL, and he manages Type 1 Diabetes during nearly every moment of his life. Chris, his father, Travis Thurston, and Victor Lee, associate professor of Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, are co-authors of an article published in Methods of Information in Medicine on how data collection and its related discoveries are shaped by the design of wearable technology.

Saline lakes

In the Nature Geoscience paper “Decline of the World’s Saline Lakes,” USU authors from the S.J. and Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources discuss how water development for agriculture and other uses over the last 160 years has caused the Great Salt Lake’s level to decline. Authors Wayne Wurtsbaugh, Sarah Null, Peter Wilcock and Frank Howe say the decline has degraded the habitat for bird migration, caused problems for mineral extraction and recreational use and exposed nearby Salt Lake City to increasing dust storms from the dry lakebed.

Expanding Education The Huntsman Foundation and the Charles Koch Foundation provided a joint $50 million gift to the university to enable the school to continue fostering innovative research and teaching to improve lives and communities. The gift EXPANDS THE HUNTSMAN SCHOLAR PROGRAM renowned for bringing together outstanding students with leading educators. The school was also able to CREATE THE CENTER FOR GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY to advance scientific understanding of the interaction between individuals, business and government.


Rising in the Ranks

2017’s “Outstanding Sports Facility”

Utah State University

The student Aggie Recreation Center, or ARC as it is

can add a few more BRAGGING RIGHTS to its continually rising national reputation. The university was ranked as the 5th best public national university in Washington Monthly’s 2017 College Rankings based on its contributions in the areas of social mobility, research and service. The university has also garnered attention on several other national lists throughout 2017 including: • #1 “Best School of 2017” in the nation (schools.com, May 2017) • #2 highest-ranked public university in the nation with lowest tuition in “America’s Best Value Colleges” (Forbes, May 2017) • #6 in the nation among Colleges of Education for total research dollars received by a college, Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services (U.S. News and World Report, America’s Best Graduate Schools, 2018 edition) • #17 online college in the nation with the “Best Return on Investment” (The Best Schools.com, June 2017)

affectionately known, is an eye-catcher and an award-winner. The chic brown and silver structure, with its immense windows and sharp-jutting angles, was named as the OUTSTANDING SPORTS FACILITY by the National Intramural and Sports Recreation Association.

Striking Undergraduate Gold USU undergraduates Jake Christensen (physics) and Thomas Hill (mathematics) were named 2017 GOLDWATER SCHOLARS. Student A.J. Walters (biological engineering, biochemistry and biology) received honorable mention in the nation’s premiere competition that recognizes outstanding achievements in science and mathematics.

Awards are administered by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation. With this year’s honorees, USU boasts 27 Goldwater Scholars and 15 honorable mention recipients since 1998. USU has averaged 3.1 honorees per year, a figure that rivals top U.S. universities, since 2006, when the Goldwater Foundation began awarding honorable mentions.


Taking Note:

USU Alum Parlays Notebooks into Schools What started as a wish soon became reality for

Tyler Tolson, a USU Communication Studies graduate from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He founded Denik, A LOGAN-BASED COMPANY THAT PRODUCES STYLIZED NOTEBOOKS, SKETCHBOOKS AND JOURNALS SOLD IN STORES WORLDWIDE FROM STAPLES TO NORDSTROM. The lovingly designed notebook covers carry works of graphics and arts from a global community of artists. A portion of the profit made from the notebooks goes back to the artists who provide the designs, while the rest goes toward the creation of schools for children — so far two in Mali, one in Laos and a new grade school in a rural Guatemalan village.


A Year of the Arts

USU has commenced a year-long celebration that demonstrates

the unique power of the arts to illuminate, transform and inspire the human spirit. The celebration brings award-winning talent, performances, artists and exhibitions to Cache Valley. The Year of the Arts SHOWCASES THE BREADTH, DEPTH, POWER AND PURPOSE OF ARTISTIC EXPLORATION AND EXPRESSION at USU across colleges, departments and regional campuses.

The Year of the Arts Celebration launched in July at the Caine Lyric Theatre with a gala event marking the LYRIC REPERTORY COMPANY’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON. Another highlight was the opening of the new DAINES CONCERT HALL that serves as the centerpiece of the extensive FINE ARTS COMPLEX RENOVATION. It includes updates to the Morgan Theatre, Tippetts Galleries, Ron and Janet Jibson Family Courtyard, Impact Commons, Hansen Atrium and the Sid G. Perkes Theatrical Design Complex.

Only the Best: USU Eastern Student Wins Big A USU Eastern welding student, Chandler Vincent, was

named the BEST COLLEGE WELDER IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE FIFTH BEST COLLEGE WELDER IN THE WORLD. After competing in six categories on four straight days at the 44th WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates, Vincent brought back the fifth-place medal, presented to him during the closing ceremonies. He also was awarded “Best of Nation” for scoring higher than any USA competitor.


USU Evaluates the Oroville Dam Situation When massive water flows

were threatening main and auxiliary spillways on California’s Oroville Dam in early 2017, USU ENGINEERS WERE THERE TO ASSIST. Chief engineers from USU’s College of Engineering, Michael Johnson and Zachary Sharp, worked with a team of 15 engineers to construct a 1:50 scale model of the spillway that provided useful information about hydraulic conditions in and around the damaged spillway to help make BETTERINFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT REPAIR AND REPLACEMENT. During the flooding, media outlets turned to USU’s Blake Tullis, a professor of civil and environmental engineering and associate director of the Utah Water Research Laboratory. He specializes in hydraulics and fluid mechanics and is an authority in spillway design. Tullis provided the expert voice for stories by the New York Times, CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

Utah Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology Honor Three at USU The Governor’s Medal honor is awarded annually to selected

residents and companies that have provided DISTINGUISHED SERVICE OR MADE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS to Utah’s advanced scientific and technological knowledge, education and industry. • Terry Messmer, USU Extension wildlife specialist and professor in the Department of Wildland Resources in the S.J. Quinney College of Natural Resources, has restored more than 500,000 acres of SAGE-GROUSE HABITAT and protected more than 94 percent of the state’s sage-grouse populations. • John Morrey, professor in USU’s Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences and director of the university’s Institute for Antiviral Research, has made important discoveries about neurological disease caused by WEST NILE VIRUS. • Debra Spielmaker, director of USDA’s National Agriculture in the Classroom program and professor in USU’s School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education, developed resources for the UTAH K-12 SCIENCE CORE CURRICULUM that uses agriculture as a context for learning science.


NASA Taps USU Scientists for Space Quest

Can earthlings live on Mars? They can if they develop SELF-SUFFICIENCY.

NASA is betting on a multi-institution team of the best and brightest, including Utah State University scientists, to create the necessary technology and put it in the hands of future Mars pioneers. A biochemist from the College of Science, Lance Seefeldt, and a botanist from the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences, Bruce Bugbee, are FRONT AND CENTER IN THE $15 MILLION, FIVE-YEAR PROJECT to initiate the new Space Technology Research Institute, “Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space” or CUBES.

Lighting the Way Incoming students

at Utah State University participated in the second annual CONNECTIONS LUMINARY, a new tradition at the institution. Students each lit a lantern shaped like the tower of Old Main, and participated in a processional from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum to the USU Quad. “By participating in the luminary, we hope students will FOCUS ON GRADUATION FROM THE VERY BEGINNING of their college career,” said Lisa Simmons, USU’s director of Student Orientation and Transition Services at USU.

The Utah State University Greats 2017 is published by the USU Public Relations and Marketing Office, 0500 Old Main Hill, Logan, Utah, 84322-0500, Phone: (435) 797-1351. Copyright 2018.

USU Greats 2017  

This edition of Utah State Greats reflects Utah State University’s notable accomplishments of 2017.

USU Greats 2017  

This edition of Utah State Greats reflects Utah State University’s notable accomplishments of 2017.