The University of Utah Alumni Association honored Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve with its Distinguished Alumni award Feb. 22.
The award, given to graduates who have "distinguished themselves professionally, served the local and national communities, and supported the university in its mission," is the highest honor the alumni association can bestow, said Mary Thiriot, senior event coordinator for the association. Each recipient is nominated from a pool of more than 200,000 living alumni worldwide.
Elder Wirthlin was recognized for his work as the first chairman of the Church's Humanitarian Service Committee. In addition, Elder Wirthlin, a former Ute running back, was recognized as a "lifelong supporter of Utah football," according to the alumni association Web site.
Also recognized with the Distinguished Alumni awards were Alan C. Kay, credited for developing the concept of the first laptop computer; Merline Clark Leaming, a Utah businesswoman; and Matthew R. Simmons, chairman of Simmons & Company International. Ira A. and Mary Lou Fulton, Church members from Arizona who have pledged more than $10 million to support University of Utah programs, received the university's Honorary Alumnus Award.
The awards were presented at a dinner held at the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City during the university's Founders' Day 2006 events.
As part of the events, Elder Wirthlin and Garry Flake, director of Church Emergency Response, discussed the humanitarian efforts of the Church during a lecture Feb. 22 hosted by the Bennion Service Center.