When the ballots in the recent student elections at Southern Utah University were added up recently and Kimber Heaton was declared the winner, it marked a "first" in the school's 94-year history.
His father, the late Wendel Heaton, was student body president of SUU in 1962-63, and when university officials checked the records, they discovered that it's the only time in the school's history that both a father and son have been student body presidents.Wendel Heaton was SUU (then College of Southern Utah) student body president during the 1962-63 school year. An athlete who played football and competed in track, he also acted in the first two productions of the Utah Shakespearean Festival. Altogether, he acted in six of the early USF plays.
He married another SUU student, the former Patsy Payne, and both were resident advisers (then known as dorm residents) at Manzanita Hall. Patsy was also an instructor at SUU for a year.
But in Kimber's freshman year, 1984, Wendel and Patsy Heaton were killed when the sightseeing helicopter they were riding in struck wires and crashed near the Bingham open pit copper mine.
Heaton finished his degree in business administration and became involved in campus affairs when he joined the student activities committee. He served on the LDS Institute Council and several other committees. This year, he was assistant to the SUUA ombudsman when Tomo Ishikawa asked him to run on his ticket as a student body vice president.
However, friends convinced Heaton that he should run for the top position, and he ultimately won. It wasn't something Heaton's father had pushed him to do while still alive.
"I guess it had always been in the back of my head, though," he said.
Kimber's brother, Darin, also attends SUU - also a business administration major. Next year, Heaton said, one of his sisters also plans to begin school at SUU.