Glass, Concrete and Stone

I love SUU’s campus.

There is lots of green space, beautiful, mature trees, well-maintained gardens, and splendid examples of architecture (and also those not-so-splendid examples from the 50’s and 60’s…). Buildings and fields on college and university campuses across the world are usually named after notable individuals. SUU is no exception. SUU has buildings, rooms, theatres, auditoriums, and other facilities named after notable people. University presidents, state legislators, administrators, and donors have places on campus officially named after them. The student center on campus is also named after someone. However, this someone was not a university president, legislator, administrator, or a donor. She was a student.

In 1988, Sharwan Smith began her studies at Southern Utah University. Tall and beautiful, gregarious and warm, Sharwan made a positive impression on faculty and peers alike. She loved music and was an accomplished musician. She served as the student body’s activities vice president, as a missionary for her church in Argentina, and she graduated from SUU with honors. Said Sterling R. Church, vice president for student services, “Sharwan typified the ideal student in so many ways. Her wholesome, open, active and positive nature deserves emulation. We think it very appropriate that a facility which will impact the lives of so many current and future students is being named after such an ideal role model.” Sharwan’s life was tragically taken in an automobile accident in 1995. It was the the students at SUU who suggested the idea to name the under-construction student center after their beloved, and very missed peer.

I find it a very fitting tribute to one who so freely gave of time and self to serve the university community which she loved. How fitting that the student center is named after her. Not many know the story of Sharwan, but as T-Birds (and, frankly, as human beings) hers is a poignant reminder of the difference we can each make on the campus of SUU.

This statue of Sharwan Smith stands in the rotunda perpetually waving and smiling to all who enter the student center. Photo credit: SUU: The First 100 Years by Anne O. Leavitt.

SUU has a tremendous legacy of alumni who went on to do great things in the world. Here’s a few:

Harry Reid- US Senate Majority Leader
Michael O. Leavitt- Utah Governor, EPA Administrator, Secretary of Health and Human Services
Jill Stevens- Miss Utah, Miss America “People’s Choice”
Nick Miller-NFL player
Cam Levins- NCAA Champion, 2012 Olympian
Ellen Wheeler-Television actress and producer
Walter Gibson- Way legit chemist
Brook Ulrich- Owner of All Things Thrifty
Linda-Mother, circulation coordinator at Sherratt Library
Damian-Brother, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Gail-Sister, SAHM
Katie-Sister, SAHM
Nick-Brother, PharmD candidate

The Gerald R. Sherratt Library (L) and Gibson Science Center at night. Both are great buildings with great purposes named after great people.

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