This archived article was written by: Krystle Noyes
September 18, 2008, may have seemed like just another ordinary day, but it was quite the contrary. The College of Eastern Utah along with friends, faculty and staff celebrated the college’s 70th year in operation. A banquet and awards ceremony was held in Salt Lake City at the Little America Ballroom where three outstanding alumni were awarded the Gold Circle award and Sen. Mike Dmitrich was given a Lifetime Achievement Award to thank him for his years of service to the college and Utah.
The alumni recognized for their outstanding contributions to the college included Enid Seaton Ruoff, Jim Dart, Sr. and Jason Dunn, all of whom are still actively involved in helping CEU as well as the surrounding area. Sen. Dmitrich has been involved in the legislature for 40 years and accomplished much for the college and Utah.
The entertainment for the evening was 12 students, hand selected by Dean of Student’s DEl Beatty, to represent CEU. Beatty choreographed song and dance numbers representing music throughout the past 70 years. They put on a great showcase of music and dancing representing the 70 years of CEU. There was even a bit of audience participation in their rendition of “Calendar Girl”. Overall, the evening was filled with reminiscences and thanking those who have done so much for the college.
done so much for the college.
Lifetime achievement award
Retiring Sen. Dmitrich was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at both the Price and Salt Lake City 70th Anniversary celebrations.
Dmitrich announced his retirement from the Utah Senate in February ’08 after 40 years of civic service, equaling 1,800 days in legislative session. He spent 24 years in the house of representatives and 16 years in the senate. His 40 years is the second longest in the legislature’s history.
Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Brad King, told the audiences “Mike’s candor, dependability and collaborative approach to the legislative process have earned him the trust and respect of colleagues on both sides of the aisle as they recognized he could be relied upon to place the public good ahead of personal interest or partisan posturing.
“Having lost both his father and grandfather to mining accidents, he understands the struggles and sacrifices of working people. He characterizes himself as an ‘old-school democrat, who believes in education, a living wage, safe working conditions and decent health care.’
“His commitment to friendship is an endearing trait that has garnered him the renowned respect of fellow lawmakers, citizens, lobbyists and news media.
His is a member of the CEU Athletic Hall of Fame, recipient of a CEU honorary degree and is recognized in the naming of the Bunnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center.
He added, “I first met Mike when I was in junior high school. He was our new state representative. We visited him at the capitol and I kept in touch with him over the years. I was always interested in the political process. He and former Sen. Omar Bunnell always treated me very well and liked to discuss the future of CEU.
“Mike encouraged me to get involved with politics and was at the democratic precinct caucus when at 18 years old, I was elected as a county DElegate. Later Mike encouraged me as I announced my intention to run for state representative in 1996. After being elected, he showed me the ropes and guided me through my first couple of sessions at the legislature. He offered great advice during my first session. It was to the effect of be selective in speaking and do a lot of listening. Don’t comment on everything, but establish carefully your areas of expertise. That way people will not tire of your voice and when you do choose to talk, people will listen.
He also taught me the importance of making relationships with leadership on both sides of the aisle and getting to know personally all of the senators and representatives. After two years he encouraged me to run for leadership in the house which I did successfully. We ended up serving together 10 years on both the powerful management committee and the executive appropriations committees.
He always kept CEU as a priority. In every speech or conversation in which I heard him refer to the college, he always referred to it as THE college. Everyone knew that he was referring to CEU. He had a major impact on our campus. Only three of the eight buildings on our campus were built without his participation in some way. Most of us know about his direct involvement in the building of the BDAC and art building that came with it, but few understand that he had a part to play in the student center and the Reeves building. He was also in the legislature when the McDonald Career Center was authorized and the Library. He had a similar influence on the San Juan Campus.
Zak Konakis contributed to this article.