Alumni Spotlight - Wm. James Mortimer
Though it has been nearly
50 years since he graduated from Utah State, William James
Mortimer has maintained an active interest in the University.
He recalls his years at USU very vividly.
Mortimer looks back on those
years as the most formative of his life. “There
I was challenged to be a journalist with honor and integrity,
and to work in any assignment with diligence and hard
work since no good thing comes without hard work.
I still remember the admonition of Dean Carlton Culmsee
that there is no excellence without labor.”
Wm. James Mortimer began
a career at the Deseret News in 1957. In 1959, he
took a position at the Deseret News Press. He remained
at the Press until accepting a position as vice president
and general manager at Deseret Book Company. Then,
in 1979, the LDS Church asked him to manage the transition
of the Deseret News Press to an internal printing organization
responsible solely for producing Church materials.
He served as the Church’s director of printing and distribution
until 1985. It was then that Mortimer was appointed president,
publisher, and editor of the Deseret News where he served
until he retired in August 2000.
“I love USU,” Mortimer said
in a recent interview, “its traditions, its constant search
for excellence, and the great future it has as a premier
institution of higher education. May it realize
its full greatness one student at a time.”
President Hunsaker Retires
Vice President of Administrative
Services, Fred R. Hunsaker,officially retires on Dec. 31,
2003. A reception honoring Vice President Hunsaker
was held on December 3rd at the David B. Haight Alumni Center.
“Fred Hunsaker is Utah State
University, and the exceptional service he has rendered
will have a lasting impact on the institution,” President
Kermit Hall commented. “His wisdom, sense of humor,
patience, and common decency will be missed. We
wish him well in retirement, but there can be no doubt
that he will leave a legacy that will be hard to replicate.”
The 64 year old Hunsaker
says he looks forward to catching his breath while catching
up on activities and projects he has neglected – golfing,
fishing, and farming.
is Alive and Well, and Living in Utah?
James Johnson isn’t really Santa, but you wouldn’t guess it
by looking at him. Sporting a very real, full, white beard,
this resident of Layton, Utah, looks like Santa all year long.
The Utah State University
engineering graduate ('82) first became Santa in 1963 while
serving in the Navy. Johnson was stationed aboard the
USS Graffias, a Navy ship that supplied food to the rest of
the fleet. While in Japan, he was chosen to play Santa
for a group of sixty-four orphans. He still remembers
how excited the children were when they saw Santa. From
the ship, Jim was able to hand out food and candy to the eager
Johnson’s fifteen years in the
Navy gave him the chance to be Santa all over the world.
Now retired, he has no plans to hang up the suit anytime soon.
In the forty years following that Christmas in Japan,
he has been Santa every year. In keeping with his generous
spirit, the money Johnson now earns from being Santa at the
Layton Hills Mall gets donated to various charities. “I
love it,” Jim explains. “You gotta love kids!”
If you make a trip to see Santa,
bring a can of food to donate and you’ll get a discount off
your pictures with him.
Launches New Website
The Utah State University
website has received a face-lift. Along with Admissions,
School of Graduate studies, and Financial Aid, the new USU website
was launched on December 1st . The new design of the website
is for more than just looks. Now, all primary navigation
links are found on the right side of each webpage. The
change is due to research that suggests people naturally look
to the right when scanning for information. This will
make navigation around the USU website much easier. To
see the new design, visit: http://www.usu.edu
Blue, the True Beginning when a Mascot is Born
Who knew that our
beloved Big Blue was born out of a stupid idea? After
running a story on Big Blue in the October newsletter, information
about a former mascot was brought to our attention. Maybe
some of you remember him?
Originally, a live bull was used
as a mascot, but was nixed because of damage done to the football
field. The idea was eventually submitted that the bull
wear rubber boots. It was this idea that spawned the annual
“Rubber Boot Award” given to the person who came up with the
most foolish idea.
it was this foolish idea that inspired then Student Athletics
Vice President, John Mortensen to bring our Big Blue to life.
Purchased for $750, the costume was created by a company
in Salt Lake County. “I was so excited when I drove to
Salt Lake to pick up the costume,” remembers Mortensen.
“When they unveiled the costume, my excitement temporarily turned
to disappointment when I saw the color. It was royal (BYU)
blue, not navy blue. The costume did not allow for much
movement and had real animal horns.”
Despite the color mix-up, Big Blue
was used for the 1986-87 season. After the season, Big Blue’s
future was put in doubt, and he sat in storage for the next
two years. It wasn’t until 1989 that Big Blue was brought
back and a new tradition born.
Alumni Murdered in Brazil
Todd Staheli, 39, a native
of Spanish Fork, Utah and his wife, Michelle, a native of Logan,
were found savagely beaten in their Rio De Janeiro, Brazil home
Sunday morning, Nov. 30. Todd was found dead at the scene
and Michelle later died from the injuries. Todd Staheli
was vice president for joint ventures in the Southern Cone gas
and power unit of oil giant Shell. Investigation into
their deaths is ongoing.
The couple met at Utah State University
and had been married about 15 years. They have three girls,
ages 3, 5, and 13, and one boy, age 10.
of the West” is back. The USU ROTC program earned this nickname
in 1947 for commissioning more second lieutenants than any other
school except the Army’s national military academy.
State University students involved in the Military Science Program
have helped protect this country since the Spanish-American
War. The USU ROTC program was discontinued in 1996 due
to military budget concerns. In 2001, the ROTC program
was reinstated with the help of the Utah National Guard and
USU President Kermit Hall.
Now, the Utah State Army ROTC is
establishing a Professional Alumni Association Chapter.
All ROTC alumni are invited to get involved. An advisory
board is being formed to get things organized and form the foundation
of the chapter.
If you are interested in being
a member of the advisory board, please contact Robert Tripp
at 435-764-0996, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the full
story . . .
Gives Fitness Equipment to USU
to a partnership with ICON Health and Fitness, USU now has
workout equipment and facilities. The workout areas are
located in the lobbies of the Mountain and Valley View Towers. Included
in the new equipment are six treadmills, two incline trainers,
four recumbent bikes, two cross trainers and excercise
A ribbon cutting
ceremony for these new facilities took place November 21st in
the Mountain View Towers. The new resources are part of
a comprehensive updating of on-campus housing facilities.
to the Buzzer
Duke Ellington performs at USU in 1958 for the junior prom.
Utah State University
Alumni Relations sponsors many exciting events throughout the
year. To keep informed about the most current ones, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/events.html
Southeast Idaho Aggie Chapter
the Southeast Idaho Aggie Chapter for the Aggie
Pregame Party prior to the Utah State vs. Idaho State
basketball game. Enjoy free Aggie ice cream Saturday,
December 13, 2003 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. (game time: 7:05).
This event will be held at the Reed Gymnasium, Room 309, 1291
Martin Luther King Way, Pocatello, ID (corner of Memorial Drive
& Martin Luther King Way ). Call 1-888-878-2831 for
game tickets. For more information
is a program designed to bring together the community and Utah
State University student-athletes for the purpose of creating
a partnership with parents and teachers in order to reinforce
the principles taught in the home and classroom. The Aggie Ambassadors
average three personal visits per month and speak on topics
of local and national significance including:
Say "No" to
Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
Stay in School
Reading Assistance Program
Promotion of National School Themes
In September, prior
to the Utah State vs. Utah football game, many Ambassadors visited
the Shriners Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City. Members
of the band and spirit squad performed for the children.
President Kermit Hall was also in attendance.
In addition to the
Aggie Ambassadors, each sports team chooses a charity to work
with throughout the year. For instance, Gymnastics works
extensively with CAPSA. The Soccer team participated in
the city-wide Logan River Cleanup this year. Volleyball
combats breast cancer with "Dig for a Cure" every
year, and Track has been involved in Sub for Santa for the past
For more information
about the Aggie Ambassadors or to schedule an event, please
contact Director of the Ambassadors, Amy Crosbie, at (435)797-3294
Check out utahstateaggies.com
for the latest news and information about Aggie Athletics.
If you would like to receive electronic updates from Athletics,
e-mail Joli Hatch at email@example.com.
May 12-21, 2004 - (rescheduled from September 2003)
more information, visit www.usu.edu/alumni/china.html
or contact Scott Olson at (435) 797-2055.
Peru: Empire of the Incas
March 17-24, 2004
This exciting tour includes visits to Lima, Cozco,
the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Manu National Reserve
and the Amazon. Prices
begin at $2299.00 per person, double occupancy.
find more information visit www.usu.edu/alumni/peru.html
or contact Scott Olson at (435) 797-2055.
Don't miss the spectacular sights of London, Oxford,
Stratford Upon Avon, Bath, Stonehenge, and more.
Exact dates and pricing will be available at a later