Three Utahns will receive Presidential Citations at Brigham Young University's 113th commencement Aug. 12 for their civic, professional and religious accomplishments.
BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland will present the citations during commencement ceremonies in the Marriott Center to Robert J. and Lola N. Smith and Lila Burton Bjorklund.Robert Smith has been a BYU assistant professor, professor, accounting department chairman, acting dean for the College of Business, associate academic vice president, financial vice president, administrative vice president and comptroller during the construction of the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.
A 1948 BYU graduate, he received the Karl G. Maeser Citations Distinguished Teaching Award and the Continuing Education Service Award. He has been head of the United Way in Utah County and controller of the National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
In addition, Smith has been president of the southern chapter of the Utah Association of CPAs and the American Accounting Association.
Lola Nielson met her husband more than 40 years ago when both served missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Southern States Mission.
Since their marriage in 1945, her primary role has been to support and encourage her husband and their eight children.
She has active in the Pennies by the Inch drive for Primary Children's Medical Center, serving one year as district chairman and seven years as a member of the executive committee.
Lila Bjorklund's overriding focus has been what she calls "the young and rising generation."
Her interest in youth can be traced to her early childhood when her father was killed in a shooting accident, leaving her mother with five children.
Her marriage to Russell Bjorklund in 1936 introduced her to her life's work. He was the principal of a Salt Lake City school and through his work and schooling of their five children, Mrs. Bjorklund became involved in the PTA and other service organizations.
Elected chairwoman of the PTA state legislation committee, Bjorklund initiated legislation mandating testing of all newborns for phenylketonuria (PKU), enabling thousands of children to lead healthy lives.
During the 1960s she was president of the state PTA and chairwoman of the State Board of Education. Bjorklund pioneered the PTA's annual "critical issues conferences" and planned the first state conference on drug abuse.
In the mid-70s, under the direction of the LDS Church Presiding Bishopric, she served on two committees that dealt with troubled young people in the church.