April 15, 2024

USU Eastern joins USU Logan campus in Founder’s Day celebrations 


If you think of it as candles on a birthday cake, Utah State University’s 128 candles will be burning a lot brighter this year with the inclusion of 79 more from USU Eastern at the university’s Founder’s Day celebration on the Price campus March 4, in the Grand Ballroom of the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center beginning at 5:30 p.m.
 USU, which is celebrating in Logan at the same time, will link up with its Price campus at 7 p.m. via live video broadcast from the Logan campus. The two institutions, which merged in 2010, are jointly celebrating their birthdays, USU founded in 1888 and USU Eastern established in 1937. As a result of the new union, USU Eastern was designated by the state legislature to be a comprehensive regional college for eastern Utah. In addition, the university is taking the occasion to honor its regional campuses that include the Uintah Basin, Brigham City, Moab and Tooele.
 USU Eastern is comprised of both the Price and Blanding campus, so throw in an extra 39 candles in recognition of Blanding’s establishment in 1977. In joining forces, USU Eastern celebrates the founding of the institution it now embraces while retaining its early 20th century Carbon College heritage and traditions.
 Prior to the live joint broadcast, USU Eastern will present awards to six individuals, including Edward Salzetti, “Gold Circle Donor;” Jan L. Young and Larry W. Severeid, “Upon Their Shoulders” recipients; Kirk Sitterud, “Lifetime Achievement Award;” April Hatch Cooper, “Athletic Hall of Fame;” and Chris Ashton, “Outstanding Alumnus Award.”
 The union of the former College of Eastern Utah with USU more than five years ago has proven beneficial for both institutions. High school graduates in eastern Utah can now pursue higher education in a community college atmosphere with all of the benefits of a university, including earned credits and a transcript from USU.
 “We took a leap of faith and became part of a great land grant University,” says Joe Peterson, the first chancellor of the newly merged institution. “While this merger has required complicated coordination, it has expanded the college’s services and improved efficiency. No longer must we do everything ourselves, or go without.  Now, collaboration within the university brings significant benefits.”
 Salzetti, 94-years-old, is being honored for his gifts to USU Eastern. He was born in Sunnyside, Utah, where, as a boy, he helped his father load coal into the town’s coke oven. He earned excellent grades at Carbon High School, learned to play saxophone and was an outstanding track and basketball athlete. He served in the U.S. Army in the 48th Tank Battalion in World War II where he fought in France. He and his tank crew received the Bronze Star for moving behind enemy lines to rescue the crew of a disabled tank. He and his bride, Paula, were married in 1947. She died in 2014. Together they founded the Polar King drive-in franchise that allowed them to branch off into hotel and other real estate investments. Salzetti, who now resides in Salt Lake City, says he relishes the opportunity to give back in some small way to the community that has meant so much to him.
 Young is being honored with the “Upon their Shoulders” award. In December, 2015, she retired from USU Eastern. Her 35-year career, beginning with the College of Eastern Utah in 1981, involved many responsibilities including records technician, college registrar and director of Records and Registration where she played a key transition role during the college’s merger with USU. She was born in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Syracuse, New York. She received a bachelor’s in microbiology in 1976. She earned a master of education in instructional technology from USU in 1992.
 Severeid is also receiving the “Upon their Shoulders” award. He started his teaching career at CEU in 1976 after earning a master of arts in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. He taught courses in composition, technical and vocational writing, English and American literature, nature literature, poetry and drama. He received the Excellence in Teaching award from the Utah State Board of Regents in 1980, was awarded tenure in 1985 while serving as English Department chair. He also received the award for Outstanding Faculty Member, Humanities Division in 1994 and again in 1999. He will retire from USU Eastern in 2016.
 Sitterud, superintendent of the Emery County School District, is being given USU Eastern’s “Lifetime Achievement” award in recognition of his 44-year career commitment to education in eastern Utah. Born and raised in Orangeville, Utah, he graduated from Emery High School and went on to earn an associate’s from CEU in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s in Elementary Education from USU in 1972, following which he began his career in education as a sixth grade teacher in the Duchesne County School District. He later went on to earn a master’s in education administration and an education specialist degree in 1978 and 1981 from Brigham Young University. During the past 19 years as superintendent, he has led district efforts to enhance curriculum and instruction and has served as regional director of the Association of Elementary School Principals, president of the Rural Schools Association and president of the Utah School Superintendents Association.
Cooper is being inducted into the school’s “Athletic Hall of Fame” in recognition of her basketball prowess. She played forward and center for CEU where, as a senior, she led her prep team to a perfect 21-0 season and the state 4-A title in 1983. She was Freshman of the Year at CEU and a two-time All-Conference selection. She averaged 23 points per game and became CEU’s all-time leader in field goal percentage, both single-game and single-season, a record that stood for 29 years. She went on to play at USU where she served as team captain both years and tied for first in career scoring, averaging 17 points per game. Over the past 30 years she has taught in the Cache County School District where she currently teaches at Mountain Crest High School and was recognized as Teacher of the Year.
Ashton is being given the “Outstanding Alumnus” award. He earned a graphic arts degree in 1996 from CEU and financed his education working as a graphic designer for the college and as an artist for its Prehistoric Museum. While at CEU, he helped design Nanosaur, a charityware game from Pangea Software that was purchased by Apple and bundled with the first iMac computers in 1998. For the past 20 years he has created video games and has been at the forefront of the interactive game industry. He has worked as lead designer for Presto Studios, Electronic Arts, Valve Software and Troika Games. He co-founded Turtle Rock Studios 2.0 that has since gone on to create award-winning video games including Left4Dead and Evolve. Released in 2015, Evolve, a ground breaking competitive asymmetrical multi player game, has won more than 60 industry awards, including Best of Show at E3 and Gamescom. He currently resides in Silverado, California.