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CHaSS recognizes students, faculty, friends

The Utah State University College of Humanities and Social Sciences community gathered Wednesday to celebrate the accomplishments of students, faculty, staff and friends.

CHaSS Dean Joseph Ward, along with associate deans Evelyn Funda, Eric Reither and Matthew Sanders, hosted the event.

A highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Giraffe Award to Crescencio Lopez Gonzalez. The annual honor is given each year to a faculty or staff member who “sticks his or her neck out” and “tries something risky to better teach, further research or improve college organization or programs,” according to Ward. Lopez Gonzalez,  an assistant professor of Spanish, was recognized for his successful efforts in “building bridges” between the Cache Valley community and its growing community of immigrants.

Faculty awards went to Ravi Gupta, teacher of the year; Courtney Flint, researcher of the year; Stephen VanGeem, lecturer of the year; Christy Glass, faculty undergraduate adviser of the year; Francois Dengah, outstanding undergraduate research mentor; and Eddy Berry, outstanding graduate mentor. History professor Dan McInerney received the Ed Glatfelter Faculty Service Award.

Ross Peterson, history professor emeritus, was presented with the Distinguished Lifetime Service Award. This is the first-ever such award and will now be known as the annual Ross Peterson Lifetime Service Award.

Two were recognized as employees of the year. Natalie Archibald Smoot, who has worked in the CHaSS dean’s office for nine years, received the True Blue Award. She is the CHaSS dean’s executive assistant and is now working with her third dean. Monica Ingold, who is retiring as the history department business assistant, earned the Light of Old Main Award.

Many students were honored, including students of the year from each CHaSS department. “A-Pins” were awarded to students who achieved a 4.0 grade point average for two consecutive semesters in which they held 15 credit hours. Kelci Peterson, graduating in International Studies, was named the college’s valedictorian.

Each year’s CHaSS Awards event also includes recognition of faculty members who will be retiring. These are: Melody Graulich, professor of English who has been at USU for 20 years; David Rich Lewis, professor of history and long-time editor of the Western Historical Quarterly; and Reed Geertsen, professor of sociology and a nationally recognized leader in the area of group structures and social networks.

Recognized as 2017 Friends of CHaSS were Garth Nelson Jones and Jonathan and Julie Bullen.

Jones graduated with a bachelors in political science and economics in 1947. Described at the ceremony by Ward as “the world’s most interesting man,” Jones has spent a career teaching and living across the globe as an expert in public policy. He has held positions at several universities and became the founding dean of the University of Alaska Anchorage’s College of Business and Public Policy.

The Bullens were recognized for their generosity, especially in cementing the endowed Leonard J. Arrington Chair of Mormon History and Culture, now held by Philip Barlow. Both earned their undergraduate degrees from USU, with Jonathan Bullen moving on to a career as an investor in commercial real estate. Julie Bullen is a licensed clinical social worker who helped re-establish the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at USU.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences includes eight departments, English; history; aerospace studies; journalism and communication; languages, philosophy, and communication studies; political science; military science; and sociology, social work and anthropology. 

Contact: Janelle Hyatt, 435-797-0289,