Alumni Today

BYU Honors Nine with Alumni Awards


nine alumni honored

BYU president Merrill J. Bateman (right) and Alumni Association president Diana Peterson (second from right) stand with alumni award winners (from left) Jae R. Ballif, Margaret Childs, Blayne L. Hirsche, Howard Wall, Susan Nelson Hickenlooper, Stephen R. Covey, Elder Kwok Yuen Tai, and Georgia Green Fooks.

The BYU Alumni Association honored nine persons with awards as part of Homecoming 1999.

Honorees for the Distinguished Service Award are Jae R. Ballif, Stephen R. Covey, Georgia Green Fooks, and Susan Nelson Hickenlooper. Honorary Alumni Award recipients are Blayne L. Hirsche, Elder Kwok Yuen Tai, and Howard Wall. Lon and Margaret Childs were given the Service to Family Award.

Jae R. Ballif began his service to BYU beginning in 1962 as a member of the physics faculty. He served as chair of the BYU Faculty Advisory Council and later as dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Beginning in 1979, he spent nearly a decade as an administrative vice president, provost, and academic vice president. He is currently an emeritus professor of physics.

Stephen R. Covey is perhaps best known as the author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a number-one best-seller for years. Time Magazine has named him one of America’s 25 most influential people, and he has been a counselor for such well-known persons as President Bill Clinton and talk show host Oprah Winfrey. He received a doctoral degree from BYU, has taught classes in business management and organizational behavior on campus, and for a time served as assistant to President Ernest L. Wilkinson.

Georgia Green Fooks has given a lifetime of service to her hometown of Lethbridge in southern Alberta, Canada. To begin with, she taught journalism and communications at Lethbridge Junior College. Her television productions include a program about the history of southern Alberta as well. Fooks has also written several books about the history of southern Alberta and serves as chair for the Sir Alexander Galt Museum and Archives.

Susan Nelson Hickenlooper is a blessing wherever she goes. As a violinist, she has shared her talents through teaching private lessons and playing in symphonies from San Francisco to Connecticut. She coordinates community blood drives and serves on the board of an interfaith community service organization. Among other contributions, she also serves as national executive director for American Mothers, Inc.

Each year Utah physician Blayne L. Hirsche and a team of medical experts go to Central America at their own expense to perform plastic surgeries on children with cleft palates and similar maladies. Dr. Hirsche has established the Hirsche Smiles Foundation to further his efforts to transform the lives of children in Central America.

Elder Kwok Yuen Tai joined the LDS Church as a teenager in Hong Kong and has made his living in international chemical marketing. After serving as mission president in Hong Kong, he was called to the Second Quorum of the Seventy. Elder Tai has been the host of BYU performance groups several times in Asia, and his son-in-law, Kenneth Cheng, says he has “directly and indirectly made BYU a well-known American university in China.”

A charter member of the President’s Roundtable created by President Rex E. Lee, Howard Wall champions BYU’s cause. His high positions in companies dealing primarily with communications have aided his work as chair of the BYUCommunications Development Advisory Board, resulting in one of the highest funding figures of any BYU department.

Both Lon and Margaret Potter Childs had lost their first spouse, and they joined two families when they married. One friend says, “The melding of two families into one is a challenge they have met with great success. [Lon’s] children knew [Margaret] loved them, and as the teen years came, she was there to guide them through.” For being stalwart examples of happy family life, Lon and Margaret are the designated honorees for BYU’s Service to Family Award.

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