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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Sen. Orrin Hatch, center, receives the BYU Management Society's 2017 Distinguished Utahn Award from Gary Snyder, left, and Deseret Management Corp. CEO Keith B. McMullin in Salt Lake City on Thursday, June 1, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — The BYU Management Society named Sen. Orrin Hatch the 2017 Distinguished Utahn on Thursday.

The Utah Republican, who is in his seventh term in the U.S. Senate, was honored at a gala in the Little America Hotel Grand Ballroom for his “contributions and commitment to supporting and growing moral and ethical leadership,” according to the society.

“This has been one of the great evenings of my life,” Hatch said. “It’s been a privilege to be a United States senator, but it’s been a greater privilege to represent Utah.”

Last year the group honored Frank Layden and the Utah Jazz. Other past recipients include LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson (2004); former BYU football coach LaVell Edwards and his wife, Patti (2001); businessman and philanthropist Jon Huntsman Sr. and his wife, Karen (1999); former LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley (1997); author and educator Stephen R. Covey (1996); and former BYU President Rex E. Lee (1995).

The event included talks from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the LDS Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and President of Zions Bank Scott Anderson, as well as musical performances from Kurt Bestor and Paul Cardall.

“I believe his unwavering commitment to God, his family, his church and his nation are good reasons why Sen. Orrin Hatch is a man of moral and ethical leadership deserving this honor in every way,” Elder Ballard said.

Anderson honored Hatch in his remarks for the senator’s nearly 800 bills that have been enacted into laws — “far more than any other member of Congress.”

“What truly matters is the ability to accomplish and deliver real results,” Anderson said. “That quality has always been Sen. Hatch’s great tribute and sets him apart from all of the other members of Congress. He is simply the most accomplished and effective legislator in the country.”

Also in attendance were Elder Dallin H. Oaks and Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé.

All proceeds from the evening's event contributed to needs-based scholarships for Utah high school seniors to attend Utah colleges and universities or BYU affiliates.

The BYU Management Society was founded in 1977 by Merrill J. Bateman, who was then dean of the BYU Marriott School of Management. The organization has chapters in 30 countries and more than 50 U.S. cities, and its vision is to “grow moral and ethical leadership around the world.”

“I’m very proud of you, Orrin,” Elder Ballard said. “I count you to be a very dear friend, and may the Lord ever bless you and your good family.”