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Honoring Alexander

Distinguished Service Award Speech: 2003

Dr. Dennis Alexander

This year's recipient of the Distinguished Service Award fits the long history of devotion to WSCA established by previous recipients. I know some of them are here this afternoon, so before I describe this year's recipient, I would like you to have an opportunity to express your thanks to the previous award winners. Would the previous recipients please stand? Thank you.

These individuals have made WSCA the vibrant, outstanding regional association it is today, and they have mentored many sitting here into the organization, providing a model of servant leadership to all of us.

The individual selected this year continues this long tradition. All the supporting letters spoke of this person's love for the work, the scholarship, the students, and WSCA. Especially impressive were personal messages from colleagues and former graduate students speaking about the mentorship of graduate students. One colleague wrote, "at our new graduate student orientation, he comes bearing WSCA membership cards. One of the first and most important things that we do is introduce ourselves to each other. [He] ALWAYS introduces himself in terms of his devotion to WSCA. He waves those membership cards and says, "you need to join WSCA because it's one of the most important and useful things that you can do for yourself while in graduate school."

Those of us who have not been his graduate students or taught at his university have not missed the extraordinary service he has given to WSCA. One person described him as "the poster child for WSCA." He embodies the joy, energy, and exuberance of the organization. He has been the Second Vice President, First Vice President, and President of the organization. However he is perhaps best known as the two-term Executive Director of WSCA. He professionalized this position, created a sound financial footing for the organization, acquired our nonprofit status with the IRS, established the Association's archives at the University of Utah's Marriott Library, and left an Executive Director calendar detailing the duties and deadlines of the office, an incredibly valuable resource for incoming Executive Directors. In addition he completed all the normal responsibilities of Executive Director and made it look easy. Of course it wasn't. He devoted hour and hours attending to every detail and every individual's needs, our needs. He was the quintessential Executive Director. For one ten-year period, he went to every Executive Council meeting. And this year, the year that he retires, he serves us for a second time as local host.

Before we all stand to offer our thanks to Dennis Alexander, would those of you who have been mentored by him, either through the University of Utah or through WSCA, please stand so we can appreciate the impact this man has had on generations of scholars as well as WSCA.

Melanie Bloom, Chair
DSA Committee

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