This archived article was written by: Neil Warren
For many years Earlene Macknight Gibson roamed the hall of the college as a teacher, dean of women and as a thespian. She passed away February 2, 2005.
She was born February 11, 1918, in Castle Gate. She was educated in Carbon County Schools, received a degree in education from the University of Utah and also attended the University of California. Later she was awarded a master’s degree in educational psychology from the University of Utah.
She taught at Carbon High School in the 1940s, with classes in drama, physical education and journalism. Then she helped the family-owned newspaper, The Sun Advocate, until she returned teaching at the college in 1966. She was an excellent speech teacher, taught a vocabulary class and wrote her own textbook. She edited the school paper. Her favorite class was called personal development, helping college females and ladies from the community learn about clothes, manners, how to sit, stand, walk – and she could do it. She was always the fashion plate, always proper, nothing out of place, perfect respectability.
After she received her advanced degree, she became a counselor, the dean of women, and retired as the associate dean of students.
When the theatrical group Community Theatre was organized, it was strongly associated with the college. The first play they produced was “Good-bye, My Fancy.” Gibson played the lead. The newspaper said that “Earlene Macknight, who portrayed the glamorous congresswoman, rendered an outstanding performance … she was sensitive, strong and commanded the stage.”
She was elected the first president of the Community Theatre, a unanimous choice, and with her organizational skills created a meaningful, lasting organization. She helped get the new theater at CEU named in honor Elmo Geary. Later she chaired a committee to raise money to construct and furnish the new Little Theater. She was always busy supporting plays and drama activities in the community.
Her big directing debut was the production of “Counselor-at-Law.” It was a large cast and it seemed that almost everyone in town was working on or in the play.
She was also an accomplished pianist and wrote music. She performed, accompanied and worked with many musical groups.
This multi-talented and highly respected woman had an extensive network of friends and acquaintances across the state. She will be remembered for her talents, intelligence, grace, and her unselfish, genuine love of people.
Henning Olsen, Ed.D., who worked with Gibson, remembers her as always being well liked amongst the faculty and students. She was always involved in many student activities, he added.