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As the first woman to be named a "Giant in Our City," a surprised Episcopal Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish said Thursday her selection "honors all women."
Irish, who announced her retirement a year ago and will be replaced as bishop later this year, will be honored May 20 by the Salt Lake Chamber with its highest award at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
The announcement was made by Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie during the group's 107th Annual Meeting and Small Business Awards presentation.
The award caught Irish off guard. She knew she had been nominated, but wasn't aware when the announcement would be made. "It is such an honor. I am amazed. You don't think of yourself as a giant of anything."
According to a chamber statement, the award was created "to honor lives of exceptional and distinguished public service and extraordinary professional achievement. It is considered the chamber's most prestigious award."
Although Irish is the first woman to be named a Giant in Our City since the award was established in 1969, Glenn Wallace was selected in 1977 to share the title with husband John M. Wallace.
Said Irish about her selection: "It honors all women, and I'm thrilled for that reason."
Irish, in addition to her soon-to-end role as bishop for Utah Episcopalians, serves as chairwoman of O.C.Tanner, an international jewelry and recognition firm based in Salt Lake City. Beattie also cited Irish's community involvement in legislative and social issues.
She said that at the same time she was ordained in the church, her father asked her to be chairwoman-elect of the O.C. Tanner board.
"I didn't think I could do both, but my dad was a very persuasive person. I will continue with that work." When she leaves the diocese in November, she plans to move to Washington, D.C. with her husband, the Rev. Fred Quinn.
"I will come back here frequently to do things for the company," she said.
"A Giant in Our City" was first awarded in 1970. Since then, 30 individual have received it, including three twosomes -- the Wallaces in 1977, energy-development/utility executives Don Cash and Nick Rose in 2003, and developers Ellis Ivory and Roger Boyer in 2009.