The University of Utah will bestow honorary doctorates on two of its past interim presidents.
Jerilyn McIntyre and Lorris Betz, who long served as senior vice presidents, are among the five people the U. trustees chose Tuesday to honor at May 4 commencement exercises. The others are philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson; basketball pioneer-turned-engineer Wataru Misaka; and H. David Burton, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' central business and finance manager.
U. alumnus and animation innovator Ed Catmull will give the commencement address at the Huntsman Center. The university awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2005.
Betz on Monday handed the mantle of U. leadership to David Pershing, the U.'s 15th president and longtime provost, and will retire later this year. Trustees on Tuesday gave him an official resolution of appreciation, noting his "good judgment and unfailing leadership" as head of the U.'s health sciences campus and clinical network. During his decade of service, he appointed four deans, 22 department chairs, eight directors of research centers, two hospital CEOs and five vice presidents, as well as "recruited and retained the brightest minds in the nation," according to the resolution.
McIntyre was Pershing's predecessor as provost and left the U. in 2000 to serve as president of Central Washington University in Ellensburg. She joined the U. in 1977 as a professor of communication and still serves on advisory boards for the Marriott Library and Tanner Center for Nonviolent Human Rights Advocacy.
Misaka, the first Japanese-American to play in the NBA, attended the U. in the 1940s and played on the Ute basketball team that won the 1944 NCAA title, then served in U.S. military intelligence during the occupation of Japan. He later completed a degree in mechanical engineering.
Sorenson, the widow of inventor of James Sorenson, is a tireless supporter of arts education in Utah. The U. will break ground next month on an education building that will bear her name.
Burton was a key player in the LDS Church's City Creek, the downtown Salt Lake City mixed-use development that is nearing completion.