SALT LAKE CITY — The phrase "Utah pioneers" carries a certain stereotype: covered wagons, cows, bonnets and an inclination for walking.
But the annual Pioneers of Progress awards recognize Utahns who reflect a modern-day spirit of pioneering through service and achievement in their communities.
Five modern-day pioneers who echo the spirit of Utah's pioneers were honored at a gala banquet Tuesday evening at the Salt Lake Marriott City Center.
Any current Utah resident, regardless of age, can be nominated for a Pioneer of Progress Award, which was instituted by the The Days of ’47 board of trustees in 1995.
Honorees were selected in the following categories:
Health, education and humanitarian assistance — Matthew S. Holland
Holland was appointed the sixth president of Utah Valley University in 2009. He earned an Master of Arts and a doctorate in political science from Duke University, and has a graduate certificate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for the study of ethical political leadership. Holland has been a guest lecturer at several universities, including Stanford, Harvard, Notre Dame and Oxford.
Business and enterprise — Keith Brigham McMullin
McMullin has served as the chief executive officer of Deseret Management Corp. since April 2012. He was a member of the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1995 to 2012. During that time, McMullin participated in the improvement of local communities, including the City Creek Center, international humanitarian efforts and business operations of the LDS Church. He has also served as managing director of the church's Welfare Services Department, worked for Ford Motor Co. and managed several small businesses.
Creative and historic arts — Clive Romney
Descending from Utah pioneers on both sides of his family, Romney is a composer, songwriter, storyteller, record producer, teacher, entrepreneur and arts advocate. He promotes the development of modern pioneers through educational presentations. As executive director of Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts, Romney coordinates the Legacy Series of art books and CDs, and the circulation of that art through Story Road Utah, a mobile app and internet platform that makes them accessible to the world.
Sportsmanship and athletics — Apa Sherpa
Apa Sherpa has reached the top of the world 21 times as the world record-holder of the most summits of Mount Everest and is recognized as one of the greatest living mountaineers. He began working as an expedition porter by carrying loads on Mount Everest in 1988. He reached the summit for the first time May 10, 1990. His philosophy is “Everest will always be there,” and he is active in climate change, education and the conservation of Mount Everest.
Science and Technology — Cynthia FurseComment on this story
Furse is the associate vice president for research at the University of Utah. She is founder and chairwoman of the board of LiveWire Innovation. Her research also includes development of antennas to communicate with medical implants; developing a system to locate intermittent electrical wiring faults; and methods to predict statistical variability in bioelectromagnetic applications. Furse is a fellow of the IEEE and the National Academy of Inventors and has received the Harriett B. Rigas Medal for Excellence in Teaching.
President's Award — 1966 Marine Platoon 1071
In July 1966, Utah's "honor platoon" of soon-to-be Marines marched in the Days of '47 Parade. The 79 young men came together from all parts of Utah to form a single platoon of new recruits. They were united in a standard of excellence that enabled them to receive every honor that can be awarded to military personnel as a group in basic training.