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4 to receive honorary degrees at Weber State graduation

By Rob Nielsen - | Apr 25, 2023
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Students watch a video presentation at Weber State University's spring commencement on Friday, April 27, 2018, at the Dee Events Center.
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Steve Starks
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Javier Chavez Sr.
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Forrest Crawford
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Karen Mayne

OGDEN -- Weber State University is set to honor four Utahns for their contributions in education, business, government and community leadership over the years.

During this week's commencement exercises, Steve Starks, Javier Chavez Sr., Forrest Crawford and Karen Mayne will be presented with honorary degrees.

Commencement is set for 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Dee Event Center. Starks, a WSU alum and former student body president, will also be the main commencement speaker.

A press release from WSU details the accomplishments of each individual.

Steve Starks: "Starks is the CEO of The Larry H. Miller Company. He also served as president of the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment. Active in the community, Starks works as Gov. Spencer Cox's Olympic and Paralympic advisor and is the chair of EDCUtah. He was appointed to the Utah Board of Higher Education in 2022, is a past chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Directors and served on the WSU Board of Trustees."

Javier Chavez Sr.: "Founder and owner of Javier's, Inc., a chain of seven restaurants that serve authentic Mexican food, Chavez says his story proves the American dream. He grew up poor on a small ranch near Zacatecas, Mexico, where he learned hard work and overcame challenges, which would carry over into his pursuit to become an American entrepreneur. Before his award-winning achievements in dining, Chavez was a student-athlete at WSU, who recruited him after noticing his track talents as a national 1500-meter champion in Mexico. He graduated from WSU in 1984 and was inducted into the WSU Hall of Fame in 2001."

Forrest Crawford: "Crawford served in faculty and staff roles at WSU for 44 years. He graduated from then-Weber State College with a degree in sociology and subsequently earned his Master of Social Work from the University of Utah and Doctor of Education from Brigham Young University. He has served as a licensed social worker, clinical counselor and vocational education instructor. Crawford has earned numerous accolades for his efforts in civil rights and diversity initiatives, establishing the Utah Coalition for the Advancement of Minorities in Higher Education and co-founding the Ogden Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. He also co-founded and served as Gov. Michael Leavitt's appointed chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission. In 1992, he became the first assistant to the president for Institutional Diversity at Weber State."

Karen Mayne: "State Senator Mayne served Utahns from 2007 to 2023, rising to the rank of minority leader. She passed 247 bills during her tenure, impacting safety, worker's compensation, occupational licensing, numerous professions and trades, apprenticeships, municipalities, unemployment, driver licensing, criminal statutes, domestic violence and gang prevention. She also facilitated and championed Senate Bill 172, which created a historic partnership between WSU and the University of Utah in overseeing the Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. She has been recognized with countless awards for her work in the community."


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