Distinguished alumni honored at homecoming
EPHRAIM—The Snow College Alumni Association recognized two alumni with 2016 Distinguished Alumnus awards at the homecoming football game last Saturday, Oct. 15.
The recipients were Justin Osmond of Ephraim, Class of 1999, and Charles Pugh of Spanish Fork, Class of 1985 received the awards during a halftime ceremony. The awards recognize outstanding achievement and ability to rise above difficulty.
Osmond, who has a 90 percent hearing loss, is a motivational speaker, event producer and founder of the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund, which provides hearing aids and medical services to the deaf and hard of hearing. Pugh is an authority on industrial hygiene and safety and is currently senior vice president of claims at Workers Compensation Fund of Utah.
Osmond was born into a world of music as the second child of Merrill Osmond, lead singer in The Osmonds.
He attended Snow College on a music and academic scholarship. He said throughout his youth, teachers and other professionals told him he would never be able to play music. He proved his critics wrong by learning to play not one, but four, instruments: the violin, viola, piano and drums.
Osmond played the viola for the Snow College Orchestra and said practicing next to the loud sounds of brass instruments created a challenge because he was unable to hear the sound of the viola strings.
But in that challenge, Osmond said, he had a transforming experience. “I took my hearing aids out,” he said. “I put my viola up next to my chin bone and started to play. Through the vibrations, I could hear every note that I played as long as I stayed in low frequencies.” He said he recognized that he had musical talent even though he had difficulty hearing the music.
Osmond went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Utah State University, and an MBA in marketing and public relations from Western Governors University.
Besides directing the Olive Osmond Hearing Fund (named after his grandmother), he is president of O2 Events & Productions, author of a biography titled “Hearing with my Heart” and former board member and spokesperson for Starkey Hearing Foundation, which helps children worldwide who have hearing losses.
Osmond and his wife, Kristi, enjoy four-wheeling with their children, camping, hunting and spending all the time they can outdoors.
Osmond says he lives by the motto, “I may have hearing loss, but hearing loss does not have me.”
Pugh, says he also lives life under a personal motto: “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”
He went to Snow on an academic and leadership scholarship and served on the Inter-Club Council. He also earned the Outstanding Chemistry Student award.
Pugh said he initially thought about becoming an educator, like his father, or possibly going into accounting.
Then he signed up for chemistry because Jolene Beazer, now his wife, was taking the class. He became fixated on the subject, partly because of the influence of Professor Boyd Beck.
After earning an associate’s degree in chemistry and business from Snow, he went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, industrial hygiene and public health, from Utah State University.
Finally, Pugh earned a master’s of public health from the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine at the University of Utah.
A highlight of Pugh’s career was when Brigham Young University recruited him to help decommission the school’s nuclear reactor. He later became the school’s first chemical hygiene officer and implemented safety protocols that are still used today.
Worker’s Compensation Fund (WCF) recruited Pugh from BYU to fill a position as a health and safety consultant. In that role, he worked with the State of Utah, NuSkin and even Snow College to help them implement best practices in lab management.
Now a senior vice president at WCF, Pugh says it’s his chemical safety background, which began at Snow, that helps him understand some of the data he deals with in his job.
Pugh has also served as president of the American Industrial Chapter for the State of Utah, and on institutional and curriculum review committees for the U. of U.
He currently serves on the board for Junior Achievement of Utah and volunteers with Neuroworx, a foundation providing rehabilitation to people with neural injuries.
Pugh says he and his wife, children and grandchildren enjoy outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, riding ATVs and hiking.