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Front Page » September 25, 2003 » The Business Journal » CEU Marks 65th Anniversary with Day Of Celebration
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CEU Marks 65th Anniversary with Day Of Celebration


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

Brad King unveils the Jennifer Leavitt student center.

It was a day of celebration for the College of Eastern Utah and hundreds participated in a full slate of activities. CEU has taken on a new appearance the past couple years and much of the progress and many of the changes were observed in the anniversary extravaganza.

Students, faculty and staff were joined by former CEU presidents and student leaders; hundreds of alumnus, community people and dignitaries from throughout the state.

Highlights of the day included naming the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center and dedication of the G. J. Reeves Building. The premier event of the anniversary was the official installation of Ryan L. Thomas as CEU's ninth president. Members of the first class of the college and former student body officers were recognized and 14 distinguished alumni from each of the decades of the college were given special awards. Following dinner guests danced to the music of the Jimmy Dart Orchestra and enjoyed a dessert buffet. Various classes held reunions throughout the weekend.

Brad Kind, CEU alumni and 22 year college veteran served as emcee throughout much of the day. In his opening remarks at the naming of the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center he referred to the activities as, "much jubilation."

The student center was named in memory of Jennifer Leavitt, the great-granddaughter of Joseph and Jennie Barboglio. Mr. Barboglio, a prominent banker, businessman and civic leader in Carbon county, founder of the Helper State Bank in 1910 and later served as chairman and president of the First National Bank of Price.

Barboglio's daughter, Helen B. Leavitt, continued the family's financial and business interests throughout her life and established the Barboglio-Leavitt Scholarship Fund for the benefit of CEU.

The naming of the building in Jennifer's memory recognizes her 10-year struggle with cancer. Jennifer died at 18, never realizing her dream of attending college to become a teacher. As King introduced the speakers Saturday he said that the building is dedicated to her optimism and courageous spirit.

The first speaker in the naming ceremony was J.D. Banasky who was involved with business matters with Helen. Banasky's speech centered around the theme of Helen's ability to share the American dream for a better life. "She took it seriously and always had enough to share," he said.

Former CEU President Grace Jones was a close, personal friend of Helen Leavitt. Her opening remarks included a poem, "Helen, My friend. A pioneering woman: a banker. A worldly woman: a traveler. A caring person: who attended to others as she was later attended. A responsible citizen, who held herself and others to high standards. Her standard for education encompassed her generosity. She never allowed an earnest need for educational funds to go unanswered."

Jones talked about Leavitt's monetary gifts to the college and pointed out they were always kept anonymous. The many students who received the scholarships never knew who was contributing. "For years and in generous amounts Helen Leavitt served students at CEU," said Jones, adding, "we can now celebrate her generosity publicly. By naming of the college center in honor of her granddaughter, the bridge of a long-standing, yet unspoken legacy is being bridged and made visible."

The new G. J. Reeves building, which will replace the original classroom building built in 1938 was officially opened as members of the Reeves family gathered to cut the ribbon.

In 1934, when G. J. Reeves became superintendent of schools for Carbon county, he shared his predecessor's conviction that the county should have a college. Working with others, who shared his vision they pressed their case statewide, meeting with legislators, college presidents and others who could further their cause. The county rallied to support this effort. Classes began the first week in October 1938. In 1948, the Carbon College yearbook was dedicated to superintendent Reeves, who, for almost a quarter of a century guided education in Carbon county. His vision and determination guaranteed a college for Eastern Utah.

The architectural style of the new building closely replicates the original, however the new building is completely modern and provides state-of-the-art technology for the distant learning programs. It also includes new computer labs and a new center of the administrative computing and phone systems. The second floor of the building is the new home for the entire science department and features new state-of-the-art; labs for each discipline, as well as classrooms, research areas, a greenhouse with two-climate zones and much needed storage.

"For CEU the results are spectacular," said Thomas, "We have the best science facilities in the state."

Nolan Karras, chair of the Utah State Board of Regents installs Ryan Thomas as the ninth president of CEU. With them is Ryan's wife, Ann.

President Ryan Thomas welcomed the large crowd as the building was officially opened and said it was made possible through the Board of Regents and the efforts of the legislature. "It was their vision and efforts that made all this possible," said Thomas.

The new facility was funded in 2001 by the Utah State Legislature as one of four facilities to be built under a new design-built program. The project broke ground in March of 2001 and was opened to instruction this past fall. The new building is the largest on campus, some 71,250 square feet with 18 general use classrooms.

Thomas talked about the difficult decision to replace the old main building and one of three original campus buildings. It took months of discussion and planning to reach the final analysis that determined a new replacement building would better serve CEU students.

Thomas also expressed his gratitude to the Reeves family, for G.J. and his current family. "It's in this mix that lives are changed. This institution has changed lives and these changes will continue the legacy of care, quality and commitment," he expressed Saturday.

"This school was formed in the depths of the Great Depression and as people struggled to find food, they also dreamed of the future and the need for education," Thomas went on to say that this college provides, "the hope and direction for our children and their children and for generations to come."

Tours were held of the Reeves building following the ribbon cutting.

The highlight of the banquet Saturday night was the installation of Ryan Thomas as the ninth president of the College of Eastern Utah. In a capacity-filled room with over 400 people, Cecelia Foxley, commissioner of Higher Education and Nolan Karras, chair of the Utah State Board of Regents, Thomas was formerly installed.

Foxley brought greetings from the other nine colleges and universities in Utah and talked about the role of a president at a Utah institution of higher learning and how it is often associated with "blood, sweat and tears." Ryan, who has been in the position for over two years has already experienced some of these. Foxley made reference to drastic budget cuts affecting Thomas and other administrators with teaching duties and janitorial duties. "His heart is here, his roots are here, and his vision for CEU tells us that he was clearly the best choice for the position. He is a strong advocate for CEU and has united with the staff, students and community."

Karras, as he installed Thomas, talked about how CEU has changed the lives of everyone that has been affiliated with it over 65 years. He expressed his gratitude to the political leaders and the community for their support. "We will continue to change lives because of you (Thomas) continue to love and support CEU," he added.

"We care deeply about our student's lives, our faculty and staff and realize that this small setting creates an incredible family," said Karras. "We have economic challenges but we will persist and prevail because of what you bring to this institution."

Former presidents on hand for the installation were Claude Burtenshaw, third president here between 1959 and 1962; Michael Petersen, seventh president here between 1985 and 1996 and Grace Sawyer Jones, the eighth president who served from 1996 to 2001.

When the doors of the college opened in October of 1938 there were just over 100 students. Of the 36 student still living, six of the original class members attended the banquet. These include Lawrence Aubert, O. H. Guymon Jr., Elaine Jones Jensen, Clyde Tidwell, Hal Guymon, and Jess Krebs.

Over 30 former student government leaders were also in attendance.

Over the past years CEU has recognized outstanding individuals. Brad Kind, in his introduction of the most recent honorees, said, "Throughout the years we have found a common theme emerges from the response of those selected as distinguished alumni. They say, "I would not have been able to achieve my career dream if there had not been a hometown college with affordable tuition and even then it required a family effort and some sacrifice."

"Tonight's group of honorees represent the best of CEU and we are proud to award them the CEU Distinguished Alumni Award," said King as he and Dan Scartezina, chair of the CEU board of trustees, announced the recipients. These are listed on pages B2,B3, and B5.


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