Editor Column: Who is your Utahn of the Year?
Advice time • It was a big political year, but other stuff happened, too.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

With 2012 closing out, it is time for the annual Salt Lake Tribune Utahn of the Year. Every year Tribune editors select one or more Utahns who best capture both the year and the state.

Before taking our stab, we want to hear from you. We have put together this list of candidates but feel free to offer your own. There is a ballot on our website or you can send me an email or regular letter to the addresses below.

It was a year dominated by politics, and that domination was particularly strong for Utahns who watched as adopted son Mitt Romney came close to the big prize. But every year offers a smorgasbord, and here is ours, in alphabetical order:

Samuel Alba • Born to Mexican immigrants, 14-year-old Alba was working on an Idaho chicken farm when a teacher took an interest in him. He retired this year after 20 years as a federal magistrate judge, having heard such cases as the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping.

Gary Andersen • The Utah State University football coach returned the Aggies to their glory days with their first national ranking since Merlin Olsen was enrolled.

David Archuleta • The teen heartthrob from Murray chose to delay more fame and fortune until after he has served a two-year LDS mission.

Julie Beck • Before stepping down as head of the LDS Church's Relief Society in March, she oversaw the release of a landmark text, "Daughters in My Kingdom," about the faith's women's organization.

H. David Burton • A week before he retired as presiding bishop of the LDS Church, Burton witnessed the culmination of perhaps his most lasting legacy with the opening of the $2 billion City Creek Center.

Tyrone Corbin • Having one of the toughest acts to follow in the NBA, Corbin struggled in 2011 to meet the expectations of Jerry Sloan-conditioned Utah Jazz fans. In 2012 Corbin's crew was the surprise team in the NBA playoffs.

Jon Huntsman • The former Utah governor was quickly buried in the Republican presidential primary but emerged as a leading national voice on the GOP's need for a bigger tent.

Mia Love • The Saratoga Springs mayor very nearly became the first black Republican woman in Congress.

Carol Masheter • When Masheter lost her job, her mother and her mate as she turned 50, she found mountain climbing. This year the 65-year-old Salt Lake City woman climbed Mount Kosciuszko in Australia to complete her sweep of all seven continents' highest peaks.

Jim Matheson • A political anomaly as a successful Utah Democrat, he calculated that his best chance to continue serving was in Utah's newest congressional district. Enough voters agreed.

Mormons Building Bridges • Simply by showing up in numbers to march in Salt Lake City's pride parade in June, this group recast the dynamic between Utah's dominant church and the gay community.

David Pershing • He joined the University of Utah's chemical engineering faculty in 1977 and rose to become the U.'s 15th president.

Lisa Steed • Once honored as the Utah Highway Patrol's Trooper of the Year, Steed's fall from grace became the symbol of a UHP that has struggled to police itself.

Utah firefighters • Devastating early-summer winds drove a series of wildfires that raced through bone-dry hillsides. Hundreds of Utahns had only these dedicated professionals to save their lives and homes.

We await your feedback. The online ballot can be found with this column on sltrib.com. Or send an email to fitz@sltrib.com. The street address is Utahn of the Year, c/o The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. Votes should be cast or sent by Dec. 15.

Tim Fitzpatrick is deputy editor of The Tribune. He can be reached at fitz@sltrib.com. —

Vote for Utahn of the Year

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