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Spencer Eccles to be honored for his contributions for Utah sports

Deseret News

Published: Monday, April 1 2013 11:45 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Governor's State of Sport Awards will honor Utah banking mogul, philanthropist and sports enthusiast Spencer F. Eccles for his contribution to sport in the state of Utah by presenting him the event's 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award on April 16.

"It is a great honor to receive this award from the Governor, the Utah Sports Commission and Utah's sports industry," said Spence Eccles. "Throughout my life, I have been committed to sports participation and competition in this great state. Everything I've experienced and learned from my sports career and competition I have used in my everyday life and career. I've tried to pass on the same opportunities to young people today and for those in the future, so they'll have the chance to appreciate the meaning of sports in their lives and strive to be the best they can be."

Utah Sports Commission President & CEO Jeff Robbins said, "Spence has contributed in so many ways to help build Utah as the 'State of Sport.' From youth sports to collegiate competition to the Olympics, he and the Eccles family have always been there to generously and enthusiastically lend their help and support. They are key sports advocates for the state, and we couldn't be more appreciative."

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement award, a "Team Utah" Partner of the Year award will be presented to U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and an Olympian of the Year award will be presented to ski jumper Sarah Hendrickson. The nine award categories in which winners will be determined by fan voting include High School Female Athlete, High School Male Athlete, Collegiate or Pro Female Athlete, Collegiate Male Athlete, Pro Male Athlete, Team of the Year, Highlight of the Year, Game or Event of the Year and Coach of the Year. The nominees were selected by a committee comprised of members of the sports media and community at large. Voting is now live at www.stateofsportawards.com and will conclude on April 9 at midnight. The winners, chosen by sports fans, will be honored at the April 16 ceremony.

For more than 40 years, including two decades as chairman and CEO (1982-2000), Eccles carried on the leadership of the oldest multi-state bank holding company in the United States, a distinction First Security still held at the time of its merger with Wells Fargo in October 2000.

Today, as chairman emeritus of Wells Fargo's Intermountain Banking Region, he remains active in business and banking, having served on the boards of Union Pacific, Amalgamated Sugar, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Parks Foundation, Intermountain Healthcare and the Utah Sports Commission, among many others. He also plays a key leadership role in Utah's philanthropic community as Chairman & CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation and as a board member of numerous other Eccles family foundations.

"Spence Eccles has helped shape Utah's sports landscape through his vision, generosity and many years of leadership," said Governor Gary R. Herbert. "The state of Utah has significantly benefited from his efforts to give back, and we will be ever grateful."

A native of Ogden, Spence began skiing in 1943 at Snowbasin Ski Area under the tutelage of Corey Engen. For more than 50 years, he has carved an indelible ski swath that reaches from waxing rooms to corporate board rooms and beyond. His competitive skiing career spanned more than a decade (1946-59), during which he was a four-year letterman and All American on the University of Utah Ski Team, and was selected to the 1958 U.S. World Championship F.I.S. Ski Team. A U Crimson Club "Hall of Fame" member and recipient of the Joe Quinney Lifetime of Skiing Achievement Award, the number of times Eccles' name appears on ski trophies is rivaled only by the number of times it appears on contributions he has given the sport.

He has served as a board member the of the U.S. Ski Team Foundation, Women's Ski Jumping USA, Alta Ski Lifts, Sun Valley Corp. and Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation. Eccles played a vital role in the highly successful 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Utah, directing more than $30 million in support of facilities and programs to ensure their success. He was a member and contributor to the 1998 and 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Bid Committees, a member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the 2002 Games, and assisted in funding the creation of the Athletes' Olympic Village at historic Fort Douglas on the University of Utah campus, where he served as Honorary Mayor. His vital contributions and involvement were recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, its highest honor and the first Gold Medal of the Games.

Eccles' generosity has provided Utah with sport and Olympic legacy infrastructure for the visitors to Utah and its citizens -- most particularly Utah's youth -- to utilize and enjoy for decades to come. He was instrumental in the expansion and renovation of Rice-Eccles Stadium and in the establishment of the Joe Quinney Winter Sports Center, Alf Engen Ski Museum and the George Eccles Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Museum at Utah Olympic Park.

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