A Salt Lake area couple received the International Humanitarian Award from the city of Matsumoto, Japan, Monday for their long-standing work in providing cultural exchange opportunities to youngsters of that city.
Gwen Rowley Springmeyer, volunteer and intern coordinator for the University of Utah Office of Olympic Coordination, and her husband, Robert Springmeyer, president and owner of Bonneville Research, will be honored Monday in Matsumoto, where they were flown compliments of officials of the Japanese city.The award will be presented the day after closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Nagano. Family members, Salt Lake Mayor Deedee Corradini and other officials plan to attend the award presentation.
Gwen Rowley was active with the Salt Lake Jaycee Auxiliary when she was asked in 1978 to join a group traveling to Matsumoto. Robert Springmeyer, her boyfriend at the time and a Jaycee, was also in the group. During the trip he proposed, and the couple married in a traditional ceremony while in Japan.
The following year, Ball asked the Springmeyers if they wanted to manage a student-exchange program for Matsumoto teenagers. Gwen Springmeyer was placed in charge.
Each summer since 1978 the Springmeyers have located Wasatch Front homes for about 30 Matsumoto teens. Gwen Spring-meyer also rents classroom space at the University of Utah, where she teaches American cultural classes to the students during their stay.