Cook receives ‘statue’ award in education
SALT LAKE CITY—Bradley Cook, president of Snow College, received the top honor in education, and Snow College received medals in six education subcategories at the Best-of-State awards ceremony last week at the Salt Palace.
The Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area and Wasatch Academy received one medal each at the gala event on Thursday, May 26.
The Best of State recognizes outstanding businesses, organizations and individuals in 10 broad categories, including arts and entertainment, dining, education, science and technology, hospitality, travel and tourism, and production and manufacturing.
Within the various categories were 32 to 92 subcategories. For instance, there were 46 subcategories under “education.” A medal was awarded in each subcategory.
Significantly, in each of the 10 major categories, a panel of judges selects one medal winner to also receive a Best-of-State statue. The statues are the highest and most competitive recognitions handed out.
Cook won a medal for being the best college/university administrator as well as the statue award in the overall education category.
A citation read from the stage and included in the printed program noted that Cook attended Snow College himself. His education at Snow led to him attending other outstanding institutions and traveling throughout the world.
“President Cook aims for all students to have the same opportunities he has had, and he strives to ensure that Snow College is as significant to today’s students as it was to him,” the citation said.
Cook, who recently announced he would leave the college July 1 to become president of an American university in the Middle East, was not able to attend the ceremony, but Leslie Keisel, chairwoman of the Snow College Board of Trustees, and Carson Howell, vice president for finances and administrative services, accepted the Best-of-State medal and statue in his behalf.
Snow College was also the winner in what was probably the broadest subcategory under “education.” It won a medal for being the best educational institution in Utah.
A citation in the printed program said Snow College had become “the educational, artistic, musical and sports center of Central Utah.” The citation said the college’s high academic standards had enabled thousands of graduates to go on to colleges throughout the country or to graduate prepared for careers.
Other Snow College winners were:
Keith Steurer, instructor in engineering, for best college or university teacher. In a typical academic year, Steurer teaches Elementary Physics and six sections of Introduction to Engineering.
Brittany L. Cornelsen, academic adviser in the Snow College Student Success Center, for best education adviser. A citation in the printed program described Cornelsen as a “reserved, humble and deeply caring individual” whose demeanor has a “calming effect on both her colleagues and the students she advises.”
Annette Taylor, director of food services, for “best support personnel” at an educational institution. She is in charge of menu planning, catering, inventory and vendor relationships. A citation in the printed program said, “With her undying work ethic and cheerful attitude, Annette is an invaluable part of Snow College.”
Ironically, Taylor was unable to be present to accept the award because she had fallen and broken her leg while getting ready for the recent Snow College graduation.
Snow College vocational programs for “best vocational training at a public institution.” The printed program noted that in 2020, the Utah Legislature created the Learn-and-Work Program, a master list of 100 career young people can learn through short-term college attendance and on-the-job-training.
“The entire Snow College Community eagerly worked together to create programs that would help rural Utahns get back to work” after the pandemic, the program said.
Meanwhile, the Mormon Pioneer National Heritage Area (MPNHA) and James Nelson, owner of North Star Video, won a medal in the Arts and Entertainment category for “best documentary.”
The award recognizes “Discovery Road,” the 30-minute programs that take viewers on road trips along U.S. 89 through the six counties in the heritage area. Nelson said the shows seek to offer history, mystery, intrigue and entertainment for the whole family.
Nelson has been producing the shows since October 2012. He estimates he has shot about 50 episodes. The programs are aired on KUED-TV and on several cable channels in Utah. They are also used in Utah history courses in public schools.
Wasatch Academy, which has won numerous best-of-state recognitions over the years, won a medal in the Hospitality, Travel and Tourism category for “best historical/heritage site.”
The medal recognized Liberal Hall on Main Street in Mt. Pleasant, a modest wooden structure that was the birthplace of the school in 1875. The building was renovated between 2011 and It now serves as the school’s museum, houses school archives, and serves as a workspace and cultural center.