Iraqi Refugees Flee to Utah: The Human Consequences of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq



On March 19, 2003, U.S. troops invaded Iraq. The initial siege lasted only 41 days, but it marked the beginning of a protracted and acrimonious struggle that would come to be referred to by military analysts as a “quagmire,” (Warnick) and by some journalists around the world as “Viet Nam-like.” (Dalleck) The comparisons were unavoidable. Urged on by U.S. President George W. Bush, who insisted “God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq,” U.S. troops invaded a country that had not made a single military strike against the U.S. (MacAskill) The Iraqi people also had not requested any humanitarian intervention. As armed U.S. troops rushed into Iraq to “bring them Freedom” (Artyukov) in what Bush called a “preventive war,” (Klein) an internal crisis and then collapse resulted, forcing nearly 2 million Iraqis from their homes and, ultimately, from their country. This event in the Middle East was about to have significant consequences for the people of the State of Utah.


Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees flooded into neighboring Jordan in 2004. (Amos) Forty percent of Iraq’s middle class fled their homes and their businesses at the rate of nearly 3,000 Iraqi refugees per day seeking safety in Jordan and Syria through December 2006. (Lockhead) In Syria alone, some 50,000 Iraqi girls and women, many of them widows, were forced into prostitution just to survive. (Hassan)

Most Utahns remained unaware of the massive upheaval occurring on the other side of the world. The Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City, Utah, first began to track the building pressure in the January 3, 2007, issue. In the editorial “Allow more Iraqis into U.S.,” the newspaper reported that, according to the New York Times, 8,100 Iraqi refugees had asked for asylum in western nations in 2006. According to the editorial, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts was preparing to take over the subcommittee for immigration, border security and refugees. The Deseret Morning News editor suggested that Kennedy focus first not on Mexico, but on the Middle East and particularly Iraq. The editorial pointed out that immigrants historically have brought diversity as well as economic benefits to the U.S.

The Deseret Morning News continued its coverage of the Iraqi refugee problem in the February 15, 2007, edition. Middle Eastern countries bordering Iraq, especially Syria and Jordan, were being overwhelmed by the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi war refugees flooding across their borders.

U.S. government and State Department officials announced on February 14 that up to 7,000 Iraqi war refugees would be allowed into the U.S. effective immediately. The U.S. decision was in response to the proposal of the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007. In an effort to stabilize the region, the United States Senate would later pass the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007 into law on June 19, 2007. The brief Deseret Morning News story, headlined “Iraqis in the U.S. cheer war-refugee clearance,” was picked up from the AP newswire and featured interviews with Iraqis in Nashville and Chicago. One paragraph, consisting of a single sentence, offered an almost prophetic glimpse: “In several cities with Iraqi communities, officials promised to welcome the newcomers.”

On April 17-18, 2007, an international conference on Iraqi displacement took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The conference approved a Strategic Framework for Humanitarian Action in Iraq. The Salt Lake Tribune had still not picked up the story when the Deseret Morning News ran its first feature-length article on the Iraqi refugee issue on May 15, 2007. The article, bylined by Elaine Jarvik, was headlined “Dozens of refugees Utah-bound in fall.” Jarvik wrote, “Several dozen of the estimated 2 million Iraqis who have fled to neighboring countries since the U.S. invasion will probably begin arriving in Utah some time next fall, according to local refugee resettlement workers.” Jarvik interviewed local refugee coordinators including Aden Batar, director of immigration and resettlement at Catholic Community Services, and Patrick Poulin, resettlement director of the International Rescue Committee. She also quoted Cassandra Champion of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services headquartered in Maryland, underscoring the local, national and international aspects of the developing story.

The Salt Lake Tribune ran its first article about the Iraqi refugee issue May 16, 2007.  In her article, “Iraq war refugees heading to Utah,” reporter Jennifer W. Sanchez wrote, “The UNHCR [United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees] also estimated that 40,000 to 50,000 Iraqis are fleeing their homes each month.” Of those, only a few dozen were expected to make their way to Utah. Sanchez interviewed Poulin and Batar. Poulin described the refugee relocation process as “very slow” and said the Iraqi refugee problem was “getting worse and worse.” He said many Middle Eastern countries that were dealing with the refugees couldn’t afford or handle the population influx. And Batar told Sanchez that his agency was going to work on informing the whole Salt Lake City community about respecting the new refugees. “We need to educate the community because we don’t need any backlash,” Batar said. “They need to start a new life here because of the Iraq war. It’s not safe for them to go back home.”

At that point, the “tipping point,” the debate began. A series of feature articles, opinion editorials and letters to the editor followed in both the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret Morning News. Many Utahns were in favor of this new group of “immigrants.” Some were cautious. A few were vehemently opposed.

As the specter of Iraqi refugees fleeing to Utah loomed, support for the war in Iraq began to wane. On November 2, 2007, the Salt Lake Tribune ran a news feature headlined: “Even in Republican Utah, support for Iraq War and Bush fading.” On November 9, the Tribune ran an article announcing: “Utah to open office to aid refugees.” Tribune writer Sheena McFarland reported, “A new Refugee Service Office will open in the Department of Workforce Services by the time the Legislature begins.” The Refugee Working Group, convened by Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr., and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, announced that the new Refugee Service Office would open by January 2008. Huntsman said refugees would continue to come to the United States and to Utah “because we are a land of opportunity and hope, and that will always attract those fleeing oppression.”

Newly appointed Utah Refugee Service Office Director Gerald Brown wrote in Refugees 101, “The Utah Refugee Service Office was created as a result of the community’s demand for better support and services for refugees resettled in Utah.” Brown pointed out that refugees are survivors who deserve our help and support. “Giving refugees assistance in the beginning of their new lives in the U.S. ensures productive, contributing citizens for the future,” Brown wrote. “The best thing that a person can do for refugees is to befriend them.” Huntsman described the office as “a clearinghouse of information for the 20,000 refugees currently living in Utah and specifically for newly arrived refugees.”


United States foreign policy resulted in nearly 2 million Iraqis being forced to flee from their homes. While at first the conflict in the Middle East did not directly affect most of the residents of Utah, over time more and more Iraqi refugees sought asylum in the United States and, in some cases, in Utah. The forward-thinking of former Huntsman and Corroon resulted in the establishment of a new Utah State government agency, the Utah Refugee Service Office, which aimed to help Iraqi war and other refugees arriving in Utah to adjust and thrive. As turmoil around the world increases, Utahns can expect that more and more refugees will find their way to Utah and seek assistance from the Utah Refugee Service Office.

Bonnie Adamsson-Vorwaller is a nontraditional student at The University of Utah. She is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis in documentary studies. Ms. Adamsson-Vorwaller has worked professionally with refugees since 1989. She worked with Christian refugees from Russia and Buddhist refugees from Cambodia and Viet Nam while living in Portland, Oregon. She worked with refugee survivors of domestic violence while living in Chicago, Illinois. And she worked with Muslim refugees from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey and Iraq while living in Austin, Texas. As a young woman, she studied International Relations at BYU for five years. Adamsson-Vorwaller has been a resident of Utah off and on since 1966. She is a widow and a single mother of an “absolutely beautiful” teenage daughter. Adamsson-Vorwaller and her daughter actively and publicly protested the Iraq War while living in Austin.



Sheena McFarland, “Utah to open office to aid refugees,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 9, 2007.

Matthew D. LaPlante, “Even in Republican Utah, support for Iraq War and Bush fading,” Salt Lake Tribune, November 2, 2007.

“530 Iraqis admitted, but pledge may fall short,” Deseret Morning News, September 5, 2007.

Richard Warnick,“Strategic Reset,”, June 25, 2007.

Nihal Hassan, “‘50,000 Iraqi refugees’ forced into prostitution: Women and girls, many alarmingly young, who fled the chaos at home are being further betrayed after reaching ‘safety’ in Syria,” The Independent, June 24, 2007.

Laura Hancock, “UVSC prof has mission in Mideast,” Deseret Morning News, June 2, 2007.

Robert Dallek, “Robert Dallek: Iraq and Vietnam: Inevitable comparisons,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 21, 2007.

“Welcoming Iraqis: Refugees deserve our compassion, help,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 17, 2007.

Jennifer W. Sanchez, “Iraq war refugees heading to Utah,” Salt Lake Tribune, May 16, 2007.

Elaine Jarvik, “Dozens of refugees Utah-bound in fall,” Deseret Morning News, May 15, 2007.

“Iraqis in the U.S. cheer war-refugee clearance,” Deseret Morning News, February 15, 2007.

Carolyn Lochhead, “Conflict in Iraq: Iraq refugee crisis exploding, 40% of middle class believed to have fled crumbling nation,” San Francisco Chronicle, January 16, 2007.

“Allow more Iraqis into U.S.,” Deseret Morning News, January 3, 2007.

Rick Klein, “Kennedy book blasts Bush, ‘preventive war,’” Boston Globe, April 5, 2006.

Ewen MacAskill, “George Bush: ‘God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq,’” The Guardian, October 7, 2005.

Deborah Amos, “Flood of Iraqi Refugees Strains Jordan,” National Public Radio broadcast, July 16, 2004.

Oleg Artyukov, “George W. Bush: We Bring Freedom to the Iraqi People,” Pravda, January 4, 2003.

Gerald Brown, “Refugees 101,” Utah Refugee Services Offices, Utah Department of Workforce Services, April 10, 2012.

Rhoda Margesson, Andorra Bruno, Jeremy M. Sharp, “Iraqi Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian Crisis?” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, Report No. 7-5700, February 13, 2009.

Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2007: House Bill S.1651-IS,” June 17, 2007.

“Refugee Resettlement in Utah: 2000-2009,” Utah Refugee Services Offices, January 2010.

Status of U.S. Refugee Resettlement Processing for Iraqi Nationals,” Middle East Regional Office, United States Department of State and the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Office of Inspector General, Unclassified Report, Report Number MERO-IQO-08-02, July 2008.

2008 Global Trends: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Returnees, Internally Displaced and Stateless Persons,” United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR), Field Information and Coordination Support Section (FICSS), Division of Operational Services, Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2009.

Golden Age of Theatre at the University of Utah


In the world of performing arts, making it to the big lights of Broadway is almost an impossible goal to obtain. So when the University of Utah began its Musical Theatre Program in 1976, the program boasted some of the most successful “triple threats” to have ever walked this campus, and many of those talented singers/actors/dancers became original cast members in prominent shows such as A Chorus Line, Cats and Les Miserables.

So why did such a successful program close down after producing such amazing talent?

Keith Engar, head of the Department of Theatre and executive director of Pioneer Theatre Company, started the Musical Theatre Program in May 1976. Given an assignment to put on a full-length musical, he turned to fellow colleague Rowland Butler to train singers into dancers. The production was No No Nanette, a musical set in 1925 Atlantic City. The production was dance-heavy and needed talented dancers. Rowland was given about four months to train the newcomers and shape them into a star cast. That was the beginning of one of the most successful musical theatre programs in the University’s history. [citation needed]

Students had little time to train for No No Nannette, but with rehearsals going on for eight hours a day, it was all starting to come together. In addition they had to learn music and acting for the production. No No Nannette premiered at the U in the fall of 1973 to rave reviews. Director Keith Engar, choregrapher Rowland Butler and musical director James Prigmore were praised. The Salt Lake Tribune stated it was a “happy extravaganza … with excellent choreographic style, PMT chorus never misses a beat.” (Funk)

A few years later a BFA in musical theatre was developed. The first in the Midwest, it was the baby to an already prestigious line of arts degrees such as an MFA in arts administration, directing, playwriting, children’s theatre and a Ph.D. program in playwriting. [citation needed]

The Theatre Department worked with the Department of Dance and the School of Music to provide expert training in each field and offered BFA and MFA degrees. Various majors were offered such as dance, theatre and vocal performance, all with the options of a musical theatre emphasis. The MTP was one of two of the largest graduate programs within the Department of Theatre, the other being Child Drama. [citation needed]

The program trained students from day until night with various jazz, tap, acting, voice, theory classes among others. Many of the students auditioned throughout and would leave the program with a contract with touring musical companies. Most of the students left the program before graduation and with the success of the students the program gained recognition. [citation needed]

A total of 15 University of Utah students were in the cast of the successful Broadway musical A Chorus Line. One student, Cynthia Fleming, was in the original Broadway cast and stayed with the show until its closing in 1990. In an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune she credited the University’s Musical Theatre program for advancing her professional training and preparing her for the role. (Blake)

The success of the musical theatre program only added to the already nationally recognized College of Fine Arts Institute of the Arts for its strong programs in theater, dance, music, art and architecture. (“Arts Receive”) The MFA program in Musical Theatre and Child Drama were the largest graduate programs within the Department of Theatre. The programs worked with Pioneer Memorial Theatre’s Young People Theatre program on community outreach projects combining young theatre students, University students and community actors.

It was in 1986 that the program began to fall apart. Charles Morey, the new artistic director for Pioneer Memorial Theatre Company, was hired to replace Engar. Due to low ticket sales, Morey moved the Youth Theatre Program off the main stage and added shows to cater to adult audience. Pioneer Theatre began to produce its own high-quality shows and was drifting away from the department. The theatre became a professional theatre known for its Broadway quality productions. (“About Pioneer”)

Years following, in 1988 department chair Marilyn Holt stepped down to devote more time to acting, directing and teaching. The department struggled to pick a replacement, but eventually hired Thomas Markus. What was then proposed was a drastic downsizing of the department majors and Markus wanted to cut seven graduate programs down to only MFAs in directing and design. With the support of various tenure-track/tenured faculty the decision was made to cut the programs, among them the BFA and MFA in Musical Theatre. This cut cost the department 150 majors and student had to find expert training elsewhere. [citation needed]

Subsequently as years passed the department lost other graduate programs until it dwindled down to undergraduate studies in acting, set design, stage management and theatre studies. A huge part of the University artistic expression was lost, the nationally recognized programs the department offered vanished. [citation needed]

But in the fall of 2010 the Department of Theatre began a new Musical Theatre Program with the help of David Schmidt. Schmidt was hired as the voice teacher for the department and was asked to help build a musical theatre program. Over a few years and with the help of other administration and faculty, the musical theatre program was developed. Looking at other successful programs around the country the department established a program that focuses on classical voice foundation, pedagogy, acting, jazz, modern and tap dancing. The program participates in the National Unified Auditions, a program that allows university programs to travel to major cities to audition students from around the country. The program takes about 20 students a year and is quickly expanding. [citation needed]

The new musical theatre program is approaching its third year and is slowly but surely continuing to grow. Currently the program is working with the dance department to provide expert training to the students and is expanding its vocal training. Working the program from the ground up with be tough, but it has all the potential to reach the success of the program that existed from 1976-1988. [citation needed]


Nancy Funk, “Yes, Yes! PMT’s ‘Nanette’ Proves Just Fun,” The Salt Lake Tribune, September 27, 1973.

Rowland Butler, personal interview, April 6, 2012.

Marlyn Holt, telephone interview, April 12, 2012.

Xan Johnson, email interview, April 24, 2012.

Daisy Blake, “She’s One, Singular Sensation,” The Salt Lake Tribune, May 9, 2011.

About Pioneer Theatre Company.” Pioneer Theatre Company.

“Arts Receive Donner Grant,” The Daily Utah Chronicle, June 3, 1976.

Pi Kappa Alpha – Alpha Tau: The Prolific Chapter at the University of Utah


Greek life has been a part of American History since the 18th century. The end of the Civil War marked a shift in the definition of brotherhood and sisterhood for the youth of America. The need for unity and understanding between brothers and sisters had reached its pinnacle and thus, fraternities came to be. One of these fraternities is Pi Kappa Alpha. The official website of Pike Kappa Alpha states: Pi Kappa Alpha was founded on Sunday evening March 1, 1868, at 47 West Range at the University of Virginia. Frederick Southgate Taylor, William Alexander, Julian Edward Wood, James Benjamin Sclater, Jr., Robertson Howard, and Littleton Waller Tazewell Bradford created a secret social Greek letter society.

Pike was founded with the colors garnet and old gold, along with the Greek letter Pi, Kappa, and Alpha. Other symbols of Pike include a white horse and an oak tree. Pike has more than 220 chapters and 17 colonies throughout the United States and Canada. The fraternity’s headquarters are located in Memphis, Tennessee. Once every two years the fraternity holds a national convention similar to a political party convention where delegates and executives are elected, and fraternity business is conducted. The most recent convention was held in Austin, Texas, July 28-August 1, 2010.

First Pi Kappa Alpha House, 51 N. Wolcott St. This was the chapter’s first house. The house remained occupied by members until 1959. Courtesy of the Alpha Tau Chapter.

Since its creation more than 140 years ago, Pike has inducted more than 250,000 members. The first chapter founded was the Alpha Chapter at the University of Virginia. The next was Beta Chapter at Davidson College (now Davidson University), and so on for the next 44 years, until Pike arrived at the University of Utah. (Fraternity Life)

Greek Life first arrived at the University of Utah in 1908 with the founding of the Beta Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Chi. Hart stated that in 1912 some members of the Beta Epsilon chapter helped found the Alpha Tau Chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Both chapters are the oldest existing fraternities at the University of Utah. According to the Autumn 2011 Shield & Diamond, Alpha Tau Chapter ranks third nationally in initiations with more than 2,700.

Since its chartering, the Alpha Tau Chapter has gone through four homes. According to Garnet & Gold: The Official Handbook of The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, the first, and longest tenured home, was on 51 N. Wolcott St. near the University of Utah campus. That house saw the first 1,000 brothers initiated into the Alpha Tau Chapter and was occupied by the chapter until 1959.

Second Wolcott House (1959-1974). This house was the home of Alpha Tau until a fire destroyed everything in 1974. Courtesy of the Alpha Tau Chapter.

The second house was also on Wolcott Street near campus. Unfortunately, the second house burned down due to an electrical fire in 1974. The fire was started by the use of too many electrical cords in a room on the second floor of the house. Everything in the house burned up except for a few secret fraternity relics. The chapter did not have a chapter house again until 1979 when the third house was purchased.

Greekbook; University of Utah Fraternity/Sorority recounts that between the fire and 1979, Alpha Tau held its meetings in the student union on campus. This house was the largest, and first three-story house the chapter occupied. The house was located on 41 University St. and was the first off of the main Greek row. This house saw over 1,700 initiates, and two full renovations. This house also received a full 2,000-square-foot two-story extension in 1983. The 41 University house (as it was called) was sold in 2009 to the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.

The Alpha Tau chapter then moved back to the main Greek row for the first time since 1974. The current house is the largest at more than 6,000 square feet and four stories. The house is located on 1431 East 100 South across from the Physics building on north campus. The house is situated next to the Chi Omega sorority house and directly south of the Alpha Phi sorority house. The house became fully active in the fall of 2009 and has seen more than 100 initiates since the relocation in May of 2009.

41 University Street (1977-2009). The second-longest-tenured house saw more initiates than the first two houses combined, and was home to Alpha Tau for more than 35 years. Courtesy of the Alpha Tau Chapter.

The Alpha Tau chapter is not only known nationally for its strength in numbers, but its impact on history.  Alumni Jim Cannon said, “the Alpha Tau chapter is credited by the International Fraternity and by other houses across the country with officially challenging and successfully breaking the race barrier of fraternity membership. The first was in the spring semester of 1966 Up until that time there was a unwritten “white clause” in the International Fraternities by-laws that essentially stated no men other than white protestant were allowed membership into the Fraternity.”

The Alpha Tau Alumni Association website states: That spring, the chapter pledged an Asian-American man named Dennis Mitzamota Miya. The International Fraternity immediately revoked the charter of the Alpha Tau Chapter. The chapter lobbied against the fraternity, but was silenced for more than a year. While on suspension, the chapter operated normally as if it had a charter. It was not until the International Convention of 1968 that the Fraternity recognized Alpha Tau again. After more than a year of lobbying, the Alpha Tau chapter officially overturned the unwritten “white clause” at the International Convention of 1968.

Philanthropy is a huge part of Greek life in the United States. Every Greek letter organization has at least one charity it dedicates itself to supporting. Alpha Tau is no different. The chapter has been a partner of the Salt Lake City community, fulfilling philanthropic endeavors since its inception in 1912. The house currently is partners with two local and national charities. The local charity is Camp Hobe. Camp Hobe is a camp for children with terminal cancer located at Camp Wapiti in Settlement Canyon near Tooele, Utah. Christina Beckwith, director of the camp, says Alpha Tau’s partnership began with Camp Hobe in 1990, and has been strong ever since. Brothers of the house raise more than $15,000 annually for the camp, which equates to more than 20 percent of its budget. The main event to raise money for the camp is called the Kevin B. Kennedy Gameball Run. In the spring of 1994, the Alpha Tau chapter lost one of its members to brain cancer. Kevin B. Kennedy lived on through his brother, Cory, who created the idea of the Gameball run.

The run is the day before the annual Utah-BYU football game. The fraternity begins the run at the stadium where the game was held the year before, and finishes at the site where the game will be played. The length of the run is 71 miles. The run accounts for more than 50 percent of the chapter’s total donation to Camp Hobe annually.

100 South House (2009- Present). The current residence of Pi Kappa Alpha-Alpha Tau. The chapter celebrated its 100th anniversary on April 20, 2012. Courtesy of the Alpha Tau Chapter.

The second and official charity of the International Fraternity is Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Currently, Pi Kappa Alpha has more than 1,000 members nationally who participate as Big Brothers. The Alpha Tau Chapter currently has five members who participate. Annually, the more than 1,000 members who participate donate more than 100,000 hours toward Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

The Alpha Tau chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha has a rich and tenured history at the University of Utah campus. More than 2,700 men have been initiated into the House, including the founder of Atari, Nolan Bushnell; acclaimed author Stephen Covey; Gordon Gee, chancellor of The Ohio State University; and two International Fraternity presidents. The chapter celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City in April 2012. (“Alpha Tau Celebrates”)

David Harris graduated in May 2012.


Our Founding,” The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.

University of Utah Interfraternity Council, Fraternity Life; a Magazine of Fraternity Life at the University of Utah (1946).

Freeman H. Hart, The History of Pi Kappa Alpha, 10th ed. (Little Rock, Ark.: Democrat Printing & Litho, 1953). 

Mark Herszchel, “Pike All-Time Initiate Numbers.” Shield & Diamond (Autumn 2011): 37-39.

Garnet & Gold: The Official Handbook of The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity (Memphis: Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity, 1970).

University of Utah Student Periodicals, “Times of Your Life,” Greekbook; University of Utah Fraternity/Sorority (1979).

“Alpha Tau History with Jim Cannon,” personal interview, March 15, 2012.

Tom Dowell, “Maverick Chapter With a Halo: A brief history of the Alpa Tau chapter,” Alpha Tau Alumni Association.

Christina Beckwith, “Alpha Tau Impact on Camp Hobé,” telephone interview, March 15, 2012.

Pi Kappa Alpha, “Alpha Tau Celebrates Centennial,” The Shield & Diamond (Spring 2012): 48-50.

Willard Richards: A Man of Many Faces

by Emily R. Sylvester


The journey to the Salt Lake Valley was extensive for Mormon pioneers. Mormons were looked down upon in the East so Joseph Smith, the first Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, made plans and encouraged the members of the Church to travel to the West.

Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, John Taylor, and Willard Richards were Church leaders who were in conflict with many and were prosecuted in Nauvoo, Illinois. Soon after being jailed, a mob came to Carthage Jail and killed Joseph and Hyrum. Taylor was severely injured and Richards managed to escape unharmed. Brigham Young, who became president of the Church after Joseph Smith was murdered, went into action and arranged a large group of Mormons to head West in 1846. (Layton)


Willard Richards, who was Brigham Young’s cousin, became a convert to the Church in 1836. Richards held many roles throughout his life. At points in time he served as secretary of the government of the State of Deseret, presided over the council of the Legislative assembly, worked as postmaster of the Great Salt Lake City, was involved with the Emigrating Fund Company, served as recorder and general historian of the Church, and was the founder of the Deseret News. (Richards) He also was an influential herbal medicine doctor and held high authority positions in the Church.

Willard Richards. Photo courtesy of the Special Collections Department, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Soon after he converted to the Church, he traveled far to meet Joseph Smith. Once acquainted with Smith, Smith appointed Richards to be his private secretary. He became the Church historian and recorder in Nauvoo in 1841. (Searle) He worked very closely with Smith and kept all of his personal journals, even up to his death in Carthage Jail. “During his final hours in Carthage Jail, Joseph Smith apparently instructed Willard Richards to continue the history according to the plan and format that they had previously followed.” (Searle) Searle also noted that the history was written under the supervision of Brigham Young and that it seemed well to give Willard Richards nearly all the credit for the compilation and publication of the history of Joseph Smith. (Searle)

Willard served a mission in England from 1837-1841, and was ordained an Apostle by Brigham Young in 1840. (Quinn) Later, he left Nauvoo and traveled to Winter Quarters, Nebraska, and eventually traveled to the Salt Lake Valley with Brigham Young. (Quinn) Once he arrived to the Salt Lake Valley, he became very involved. After Joseph Smith’s death, Brigham Young became president of the Church, and Richards was then ordained by Brigham Young as 2nd counselor.

In a letter written by Richards to his sister, he expressed his feelings toward the religion saying, “I must tell you sister what it is to be a ‘Later [sic] Day Saint’ a ‘Mormon’ vulgarly. It is to believe & practice every known or revealed truth, in relation to every being & thing.” (Richards) He was a very dedicated member in his church, and continued to dedicate himself to several other commitments throughout his life, including being editor of the Deseret News, a Church-owned publication.

Just three years after several Mormons had settled in the Salt Lake Valley, Richards founded the Deseret News. The first issue was written by Richards on June 15, 1850. The Deseret News’ first issue included the prospectus and stated:

“We propose to publish a small weekly sheet, as large as our local circumstances will permit, to be called ‘Deseret News,’ designed originally to record the passing events of our State, and in conexion [sic], refer to the arts and sciences, embracing general education, medicine, law, divinity, domestic and political economy, and everything that may fall under our observation, which may tend to promote the best interest, welfare, pleasure and amusement of our fellow citizens.” (Richards, 1850)

In that first issue, he also discussed the importance of keeping copies and a record of the publication, and encouraged people to take care of their copies so that “their children’s children may read the doings of their fathers, which otherwise might have been forgotten; ages to come.” (Richards) In a dissertation written by Monte B. McLaws, it discusses that since editors of the Deseret News were mostly in the Church hierarchy, the paper did not need close supervision because Brigham Young felt comfortable trusting many of the decisions made by Richards, and other editors close to the Church. (McLaws) The Deseret News was powerful among Mormons in Utah, and practically replaced all other reading materials. (McLaws)

Searle states that, “As a boy, Richards eagerly sought education and demonstrated both an affinity and an aptitude for learning.” (Searle) Searle notes that he became influenced by Dr. Samuel Thomson’s Practice of Medicine to become an herbal doctor. A few Mormons were impressed by Dr. Thomson. He discovered a plant, lobelia, which became the foundation of his medical system. (Divett) Thomson said, “I had the curiosity to pick some of the pods and chew them; the taste and operation produced was so remarkable that I never forgot it. I afterwards used to induce other boys to chew it, merely by way of sport, to see them vomit.” (Divett) He described it as an “Emitic [sic] Herb.” (Divett) Richards was inspired by this and became a dentist and doctor of herbs. (Markers: Willard Richards) He also organized a group called the “Society of Health” but for a period of time, members of the Mormon Church were hesitant to be supportive of medical practitioners. (Divett)

Conclusion: In a journal entry written about a sketch of Willard Richards, it states, “It would be difficult to name any one of the original band of Utah pioneers who filled a more active life than the subject of this sketch. The duties he performed and the offices he held from the time he embraced Mormonism until the date of his death, were so numerous that it is a matter of wonderment how one man could have sustained them all.” Willard Richards fulfilled many roles in his life as a religious leader, and within his community. In an oration given by Richards, he said, “Men cannot fight truth, life or salvation without a medium of communication.” (Richards) He influenced news writing, medicine, and the Mormon religion.

Emily Sylvester is a senior at The University of Utah. She is majoring in mass communication.


Willard Richards and Thomas Bullock, History, 1838-1856, The Joseph Smith Papers.

Willard Richards, Deseret News, accessible at Utah Digital Newspapers.

Willard Richards, Matthew Frederick and Claire Wilcox Noall, Box 8, Folder 13, 1805-1979. Manuscripts Division, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Willard Richards, Matthew Frederick and Claire Wilcox Noall, Box 9, Folder 10, 1805-1979. Manuscripts Division, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Willard Richards, “Oration,” Millenial Star, November 15, 1850.

“Willard Richards Called First And Only Apostle Ever Ordained In England,” Deseret News, August 9, 1958, 20.

About Us,” Deseret News.

Robert T. Divett, “Medicine and the Mormons,” Bulletin of the Medical Library Association 51, no. 1 (January 1963): 1-15.

H. Dean Garrett, “History of Willard Richards,”

Stan Layton, “The Mormon Trail: A Photographic Exhibit,” Utah History to Go, State of Utah.

“Markers and Monuments Database: Willard Richards,” Utah State History, State of Utah.

“Markers and Monuments Database: This is the Place Monument,” Utah State History, State of Utah.

Monte McLaws, Spokesman for the Kingdom: Early Mormon Journalism and the Deseret News (Provo: Brigham Young University of Missouri, 1977).

Claire Noall, Intimate Disciple, A Portrait of Willard Richards (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah, 1957).

D. Michael Quinn, “They Served: The Richards Legacy in the Church,” Ensign (January 1980).

Howard C. Searle, “Willard Richards as a Historian,” BYU Studies 31, no. 2 (1991): 41-62.

A History of the Sundance Film Festival


The Sundance Film Festival has brought not only fame to Utah, but also a sense of culture and better knowledge of the film industry. Marked as one of the biggest independent film festivals the US has to offer, Sundance brings millions of people from around the world to Utah every January. The festival showcases upcoming productions written and directed by filmmakers throughout the world.

Originally called the Utah/US Film Festival, Sundance was founded by Sterling Van Wagenen and John Earle as an attempt to bring filmmakers to Utah. Van Wagenen, a Brigham Young University film school graduate, and Earle, a Utah State Film Commissioner, believed Utah was the place to bring a film festival. Their reasoning? The two partners wanted to bring something different to audiences that wasn’t the Hollywood flashy lights; they desired a bigger audience and films that weren’t usually shown. (Smith)

Like any successful organization, a board of directors was needed. Van Wagenen turned to his cousin’s husband and Utah resident Robert Redford. Redford held the title of the board’s inaugural chairman while Earle provided the funding through the Utah Film Commission. Funding was also provided through donations from wealthy acquaintances and industry sponsors.

In September 1978 the first festival premiered in Salt Lake City. As Redford had already established a name in the industry, his association with the festival led to big-name companies’ interest with the festival. Despite some shows that harvested huge crowds, the festival left the team $40,000 in debt. As debt is seen as negative, the team turned it positive as it influenced them to keep the festival running in order to make money. (Gaydos)

The entrepreneurs made plans for festivals to come but little could be done if their patterns of falling into debt didn’t change.

It wasn’t until planning for the Utah/US Film Festival, set for March 1980, that director and board of directors member Sydney Pollack spoke out with a what-would-be-monumental suggestion. Pollack suggested the team “ought to move the festival to Park City and set it in the wintertime.” He knew it would be “the only film festival in the world held in a ski resort during ski season, and Hollywood would beat down the door to attend.” (Craig)

With that the decision was made; the event would move to Park City and mark the start of a worldwide tradition.

Because of the move, the festival rescheduled its 1980 event for the third week of January 1981. Taking place during this time of year would become permanent. [citation needed]

The 1981 festival proved the word “setback” only applied to the date of its event. The third annual festival had its largest programs of independent films and greatest turnout. Not only came change in location but change in its name. The once Utah/US Film Festival would become known as United States Film and Video Festival. [citation needed]

Throughout the years the festival only progressed. The program established several different sections for various categories including documentary, short films, video art and movies made for television. Box-office numbers were up and the debt only continued to lessen; the men had stamped their place into the culture of film. “Each year Sundance became more crowded, more frantic, more Hollywood. Suddenly, everyone had cell phones glued to their ears.” (Biskind)

With the amount of success it seemed as if things were fine to stay where they were, until a meeting in 1985 called for change that would imprint permanency. In a meeting with members of the Sundance Institute and the festival’s board (made up of initial members Van Wagenen and Earle), discussion of new festival ownership was brought to the table. Festival program director Lory Smith came up with the idea of the Sundance Institute taking ownership. With clean convincing, it was turned over to the Institute. (de Valck)

The two entrepreneurs’ decision yielded to be wise yet again. The 1985 festival contained over 80 features that included an international film section. By the end of the 1980s the event was receiving great publicity through the press and growing in great demand. Films that would later be considered as classics were presented. Two hundred films such as Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, Tim Hunter’s River’s Edge and Robin William’s Seize the Day were screened for audiences. (Smith)

The end of the 1980s not only brought groundbreaking films to the screen but also a new name for the festival- the Sundance Film Festival.

As society grew into the 1990s it also grew more interested in independent films. Because of this Sundance’s popularity grew as well. Films that were being screened continued to exceed the public’s expectations. Quentin Tarantino’s famous Reservoir Dogs was screened in 1992 while 1993 brought Robert Rodriguez’s award-winning El Mariachi. (Smith)

It seemed as if year after year brought new record attendances. By 1997 it was reported that Park City was making over $20 million a year, thanks to the event. (Craig)

Throughout the years the Sundance Film Festival has gone from a small-budget festival into a huge media extravaganza. The festival has transformed Utah into one of the major destinations for people to go to from around the world.

The 20th century brought independent films that would be talked about not so independently; films such as Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock and Napoleon Dynamite would hit the screens. More big-name actors and actresses would appear in these Sundance films, such as Keira Knightley and award-winning Adrien Brody, because the festival had become so respected. (Turan)

Today Sundance is known not only for its movie screenings, but also for its parties, concerts and big names that make appearances. Sundance has become a culture that has helped make Park City thrive. Once small and on the verge of failing, the Sundance Film Festival has marked its name as one of the most important and demanding independent film festivals in the world.

Melanie Holbrook is a senior at The University of Utah majoring in mass communication-journalism and minoring in business.



Lory Smith, Party in a Box: The Story of the Sundance Film Festival (Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith, 1999).

Steven Gaydos, The Variety Guide to Film Festivals: The Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Film Festivals Around the World (New York: Berkley Books, 1998).

Benjamin Craig, “History of the Sundance Film Festival,”

Peter Biskind, Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004).

Marijke de Valck, Film Festivals: From European Geopolitics to Global Cinephilia (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2007).

Kenneth Turan, Sundance to Sarajevo: Film Festivals and the World They Made (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 2003).

From New Orleans Jazz to Utah Jazz


Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward shoots free throws during the game against the Denver Nuggets on Friday, March 23, 2012, at the EnergySolutions Arena. Photo by Mike Barrus.

It was the year 1998 and game six of the NBA finals between the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls. The score was 87-86 for the Bulls. With five seconds left on the clock, the ball was quickly passed to John Stockton who then took a few steps and launched up a three-point shot at the buzzer. It seemed like minutes as the ball floated through the air until it hit the rim and bounced off. That was the closest that the Utah Jazz has ever come to winning an NBA championship. [citation needed]

The New Orleans Jazz was formed on March 7, 1974, and became the 18th team of the NBA. Hall of Famer “Pistol Pete” Maravich was the first player drafted to the team. New Orleans ended the 1974-75 season with a losing record of 23-59 and finished last in their division. Unfortunately, the Jazz never had a winning season while in New Orleans; they continued to struggle year after year. Sam Battisone, the founding owner of the Jazz, decided at the end of the 1978-79 season that the New Orleans Jazz would make the move to Salt Lake City, to become the Utah Jazz. Dave Blackwell stated that after trading several star players to earn a little extra cash and in return gaining older veteran players, the Jazz became a worse team. (“Utah Jazz”)

The Jazz fans in New Orleans were not very happy about the move of their team and a lot of them still feel that way today. KUTV News reported in 1979 that the mayor of New Orleans was not in support of the Jazz leaving New Orleans; he said he had no idea that the Jazz owners were unhappy enough to leave his city. The mayor mounted a campaign to try to keep the team, but that obviously did not have too great of an impact to keep the Jazz there.

An article from the New Orleans Times-Picayune published June 8, 2011, shows that even some of the players on the team were unhappy about the move. In the article, it quotes “Pistol” Pete Maravich when he said, “If, in fact, this team does anything, if I’m in a situation like Seattle and Washington for the championship, anything I do, I’ll do for the city of New Orleans. Whether the team’s in Salt Lake or not, I’ll do it personally for the city of New Orleans.”

A 1979 article in the Times-Picayune noted that the move was the second time that the city of New Orleans had lost a professional basketball team within ten years and the fans could not have been more devastated. There were many recent comments from fans in response to the Times-Picayune article, the majority of which were negative comments about the Jazz being in Utah. Some fans even went to the extremes to say that the Utah Jazz are cursed for not changing the name of the team and will be until they return the name to New Orleans. Perhaps there is some voodoo magic that cursed the Utah Jazz by coming so close to winning an NBA championship, but leaving them with just a taste.

As the New Orleans fans were devastated that the Jazz left, the Utah fans had mixed feelings about the Jazz coming to Salt Lake. A Deseret News article published October 16, 1979, expressed the disappointment of Jazz management in the lack of interest for the season opener. The Jazz managing partner, Larry Hatfield, estimated an attendance of 9,000 people. To his disappointment only a mere 7,721 people showed up to watch the game. Despite the disappointment of the Jazz management, the fans seemed to be more optimistic. KUTV News sent out a reporter around Salt Lake City who asked people if they were excited about the Jazz coming to Utah. All of those who were interviewed were thrilled about the move. Many people said that they would purchase tickets to the games and some fans already had season tickets.

Four years later, the Jazz finally had their first winning season, finishing at 45-37. According to an article by Doug Robinson with the Deseret News, there was a group of people who were interested in buying the franchise and moving it to Minnesota, which would make it the third home for the Jazz. Larry H Miller was a co-owner and wanted to avoid losing his team. However, he could gain $14 million if he sold the franchise. The article quoted Miller, who wrestled with the decision: “Thoughts were racing through my head like, what would I do with that much money? What does it mean to me? What would Salt Lake City be without the Jazz? How could I face the fans who would be upset by this?” It was then that he made the biggest decision in his life when he took a gamble and decided to buy the remaining 50 percent of the franchise to keep the Jazz in Utah. The gamble paid off and the Miller family still owns the team today. Had Larry H Miller not decided to purchase the franchise, who knows where the Jazz would be?

Now, 33 years later, the Jazz fans in Utah have been very pleased with their team after appearing in the NBA finals two years in a row. Fans are also proud of all of the great players who have made the Utah Jazz what they are today, including the legends John Stockton and Karl Malone. On the other end of the court, the fans from New Orleans still have bitter feelings towards the Jazz, even after all of these years. According to those in New Orleans, the team will be forever cursed so long as they keep the name “the Jazz.” Perhaps one day the Utah Jazz will overcome the voodoo curse and get rid of the bitter taste of only being second best.

Mike Barrus is a senior at The University of Utah. He is majoring in communication and minoring in Spanish.


Dave Blackwell, “Jazz hunt becomes Bucks only,” Deseret News, October 16, 1979.

1979: New Orleans basketball fans lose the Jazz to Utah,” New Orleans, LA, Times-Picayune, December 22, 2011.

KUTV News audio-visual collection A0303, Special Collections and Archives, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Jimmy Smith, “Unhappy anniversary, the day the NBA voted to move the New Orleans Jazz to Utah,” Times-Picayune, June 8, 2011.

Justin Davies, personal interview, February 25, 2012.

Utah Jazz,” CBS

Fleming, Frank. “Utah Jazz (1979-Present).” The Sports E-Cyclopedia-The Ultimate Sports Resource. Web. 25 Feb. 2012.

Doug Robinson, “Late Jazz Owner Larry Miller spurned huge payday to keep team in Utah,” Salt Lake City, UT, Deseret News, May 6, 2010.

Jazz Basketball Investors,

Dave Blackwell, “Lively Jazz seek Warriors repeat,” Deseret News, December 10, 1979.

Daniel Rascher and Heather Rascher, “NBA Expansion and Relocation,” Journal of Sport Management 18 (2004): 274-95.

Dave Blackwell, “Utah Jazz,” Utah History to Go, State of Utah.

Running of the St. George Marathon


Running has been a favorite pastime of many people. The St. George Marathon is one of the many races that quench people’s thirst for the sport. It began in November 1977, and grew quickly.

Sherm Miller was the first person to organize the race. He had recently run a race in Salt Lake City called the Deseret News Marathon, which was the first marathon held in Utah. He was a resident of the southern city of St. George and wanted a race in Southern Utah. He worked for the office of Parks & Recreation in St. George at the time. He was able to organize the race in a quick and timely manner. [citation needed]

The first year the race had only 43 runners, of whom only 38 finished the race. (Murray) In 1979, the entries grew to more than 600. In 1980 it brought in more than 950 runners. (Murray) The St. George Marathon that was held in 1981 was the biggest race in the state of Utah. It had 1,516 runners. In 1983, only six short years after the first race, entries had grown to over 2,000 people, but only about 1,500 finished because of the wind, rain and cold temperatures. (Vilbiss) The number did dwindle in the 8th annual race in 1984 to approximately 1,900, The Spectrum stated on October 5, 1984. Of the 1,900 that year only about 1,700 ended up finishing. (Stoddard) The 14th year of the race was in 1990, about 2,308 people ran in the race with approximately 2,009 finishing. In 1995, approximately 3,900 runners competed. (Ferguson)

The race now has an entry cap of 7,400. The organizers initially adopted the entry cap in 1995 with 3,600 runners, and then raised it to 3,908. Race organizers realized they had to increase it in order to keep this a well known race, and to accommodate the runners who were eager to participate. (Ferguson) In 2011 the St. George Marathon had its 100,000th runner cross the finish line. (Jenkins) The St. George Marathon Committee now uses a lottery system to select runners, because the race has so many entries. If a runner is not selected two years in a row, he or she is automatically chosen to participate in the next marathon. Also, residents of Washington County are automatically admitted for the run. Since the marathon has grown over the years, it is now causing traffic to be diverted or halted, and minimal road openings begin at 9:00 a.m. (Mims)

The race begins in Pine Valley, Utah. It begins at an elevation of 5,240 feet. The entire race is downhill. It ends in Vernon Worthen Park in the heart of St. George. The ending elevation is 2,680 feet. (Powell) It is deemed one of the “Fastest Races.” (Adams) It begins at 6:45 a.m. and is typically between 38-40 degrees Fahrenheit. By the end of the 26.2-mile journey temperatures can be between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit. In 2006 the St. George Marathon coordinators changed the route of the course. (Johnson) The race also has a wheelchair section of the race to accommodate people who may not be able to run. In 1983 Jim Peterson beat the wheelchair race record for the race by going nearly 40 mph down the wet road. He finished in 1:57:44. His record held until 2006, when Vance Anderson completed the event in 1:46:20.

The St. George Marathon has received many great titles. In 1985, the 9th annual St George Marathon was rated one of the top-20 marathons in the nation. (Murray, 2) In the year 1995 it was the 14th largest marathon in the United States. (Ferguson) In 2010 Runners Magazine named it the “Most Organized Marathon in the US.” (Hamilton) St. George has received the name of “The Fitness City” in 1995. (Hafen)

The race is the first Saturday of October each year. Since it is later in the year, colder temperatures and higher altitudes make it a chilly start. If necessary, volunteers set up bonfires at the beginning of the race to keep the runners warm. The race coordinators set up about 70 bonfires around the starting line, and in 1983 provided garbage bags when it began raining to keep the runners dry. (Vilbiss) There are about 70 massage therapists at the end of the race who are there to help relieve tension from the runner’s legs in Vernon Worthen Park. (Hamilton) The race is the 15th largest race in the USA, and the largest marathon in the state of Utah. (Cowart) This race is unique to Utah because it can be run as a Boston Marathon qualifier. (Adams)

The St. George Marathon has a 10- and 20-year club for individuals who have completed the race 10 or 20 consecutive years. Sixty percent of the race is male, while approximately 40 percent is female on a typical year. In 1995 every state in the U.S was represented in the marathon except North Dakota. (Ferguson) There are over a dozen countries have runners that have participated in the race. About 80 percent of entrants complete the race in the time allotted. ( In 2011, about 60 percent of the runners were from Utah and the other 40 percent were from 48 states, and 12 countries. California has the second-highest number of racers. In 1985 a survey showed that the amount of money spent by runners was about $300,000, and family members and friends of the runners spent nearly $2.1 million. (Rusk) The race generated about $4 million in revenue for the city of St. George in 2011. (Dallof) Because of the injuries that can occur during the race, the Army Reserve’s 172nd Medical Logistics unit waits at the finish line to help people with their injuries. (Passey)

The race organizers believe that during the race nearly 4,200 gallons of water are consumed. On top of that, nearly 1,900 gallons of Gatorade are consumed. Nearly 200,000 cups are used at 15 aid stations to hold all of that water and Gatorade for the 7,200 runners involved in the race. ( That is a dramatic difference from the mere 42,000 cups that were used in 1990, and 20,000 cups that were used in 1985. (Fox, Messerly)

At Vernon Worthen Park there are nearly 32 divisions in which the runner can win a medal. They run eight deep in each division. Of the titles and awards the race has received, it has also received the “Best Marathon to build a vacation around.” (Hamilton) It is also no. 4 out of 26 best marathons in the United States. It falls just behind the very famous New York and Boston Marathons.

The St. George Marathon has grown from only 57 runners 35 years ago, to a cap of 7,200 runners. It has received numerous awards along the way and continues to triumph other marathons. It has given other marathons a template of how to structure theirs and make it work. The St. George Marathon continues to dominate Utah as the largest marathon in the state.

Mandy Crosman is a junior at The University of Utah.  She is majoring in strategic communication and minoring in business. 


Jon Ferguson, “St. George marathon runners eyeing Boston,” St. George, Utah, Spectrum, June 10, 1995.

Doug Fox, “Marathon’s history, but numbers remain,” Spectrum, July 10 1990.

Michelle Hamilton, Runner’s World, January 2010: 67-73.

Lynn Hafen, Total Health, October 1995, 60.

Kevin Jenkins, Kevin, “Marathon celebrates 100,000 finisher,” Spectrum, February 10, 2011.

Scott David Johnson, “Marathon runners come our for ‘perfect’ weather,” Spectrum, August 10, 2006.

Bob Mims, “Road Travel Restrictions planned for St. George,” Salt Lake Tribune, September 29, 2011.

Kristine Messerly, “SG Marathon: ‘It’s like organizing a small war.'” Spectrum, April 10, 1985.

Stan Murray, “Peterson sets the wheelchair race record,” Spectrum, February 10, 1985.

Stan Murray, “Swift, slow converges on Dixie,” Spectrum, April 10, 1985.

Brian Passey, “Joy, pain mixture at the finish line,” Spectrum, March 10, 2004.

Jeanette Rusk, “‘Hawk’ captures Dixie Marathon,” Spectrum, July 10, 1984.

Jeanette Rusk, “Marathon impacts local economy,” Spectrum, April 10, 1985.

Janelle Stoddard, “Crowds buoy runners through last miles,” Spectrum, July 10, 1985.

John Vilbiss and Staff Writers, “Winners with 2:20 Time,” Spectrum, February 10, 1983.

Lori Adams, “Marathon Guide 2007,” Runners World, August 12, 2006.

Best Road Races in North America: St. George Marathon,” UjENA Fit Club.

Kim Cowart, “St. George Marathon lives up to the hype,” Deseret News, October 5, 2011.

Sarah Dallof, “St. George Marathon grows, boosts local economy,, October 1, 2011.

Allan Kent Powell, The Utah Guide (Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2003), 273.

St. George Marathon,

The Good, The Bad, The 2002 Olympics



Hosting the Olympics is one of the most, if not the most, exciting things that can happen in any city on the entire planet. For around 14 days, one city turns into the headquarters of a worldwide celebration of friendly competition. Every two years, thousands of athletes from countries all over the world come together to compete for the gold and see who is the best athlete at a particular sport. The Olympics rotate between the Summer Games and the Winter Games. Each season of games occurs every four years, the two then offset with each other so that either the Winter Games or the Summer Games occur every two years. [citation needed]

The Olympic Games date to 776 BC, but some speculate these were not the first games. Instead, these were known to be the first games that began an era of the occurrence every four years. At the beginning there was only one event known as the Stadium. It consisted of a 200-yard dash, which at that time was the length of the stadium. As the years went on, more and more events were added up until 393 AD, when the Christian Byzantine Emperor Theodosius eliminated the games entirely. Then, on March 24, 896, the modern Summer Games were brought to life. (Nostos)

In the first versions of the Olympics, the Winter Games were not included. It wasn’t until 1948 that the Winter Olympics were instigated and even then, the Summer and Winter Games were held in the same year. Starting in 1992, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to have the games alternate every two years. [citation needed]

In 1995, Sion, Switzerland, Quebec City, Canada, Ostersund, Sweden and Salt Lake City were selected to be candidates to host the 2002 winter games with Salt Lake City emerging the victor.  The Beehive State became the fourth state in the United States to be a host of the Winter Olympics.  Somewhere around 2,400 people from 77 different nations competed in 78 different events.  However, in 1998, a controversy was raised stating that the IOC, took bribes from the Salt Lake Organizing Committee to bring the Olympics to Salt Lake. (McDonald)

In February 1999, CNN U.S. reported that in the previous month, 14 IOC members had received cash or favors from the Salt Lake Bid committee, and 10 more had been accused. After these members got word that they were to be under heavy investigation, many resigned their positions, perhaps fearing that they would be discovered.  This caused the controversy to blow up into something more. Plans to enclose the $29-million speed skating oval were under way before the contract to host the Olympics was given out, which could be seen as an attempt in bribery. Also, one of the members of the IOC owned a ski area venue and had put $13.8 million into building a new hotel that members of the IOC could reside in during the games. (LaMotte)

The Olympic cauldron on the campus of The University of Utah. Photo by Landon Freter.

Not everything about the 2002 Winter Olympics was full of controversy. In fact, hosting the Olympic Games had a major impact on not just the city of  Salt Lake, but the entire state of Utah as a whole. It gave the chance for many people from around the world to see what the state is all about. Hosting the Olympics brought many different cultures together for some great friendly competitive action. They also brought in over 250,000 visitors to Utah, along with 2.1 billion viewers in 160 different countries and had a worldwide audience for 17 days straight. (Haws) “Even before the games started, the impact was very real. 35,000 jobs appeared in Utah from 1996-2003 thanks to the $1.3 billion dollar injection into the local economy.” (Haws) This count shows that indeed, while the Olympics were happening in 2002, Salt Lake City was one of the best places to be, whether it was the location of residence, or if one was traveling to see the festivities. (Billings)

Records were broken, history was made and it was all done on the state-of-the-art facilities that were built specifically for the arrival of the Olympics. The sites stretched all across northern Utah as millions of dollars were put into constructing these buildings to be the top quality for these athletes. Even after the Olympics, these monumental buildings,  such as the Ogden Ice Sheet and the Energy Solutions Arena (formerly known as the Delta Center) are still in use today. For a small fee, patrons may skate on the ice, shoot the luge, and even snowboard in the half pipe as all the famous athletes did in 2002. (McDonald)

Now that the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games has come and gone, The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there has been chatter between the government and large business regarding the feasibility of joining forces to begin a multimillion-dollar campaign to bring the Olympics back to Salt Lake City in 2022. (Gorell) There is a lot of worry that things might happen the way they did in 2002 with all the controversy. Many people agree that Salt Lake is better suited to host the Olympics now than it was in 2002. A few main arguments are the fact that there will be light-rail trains that will give patrons quick access to downtown to and from the airport as well as surrounding areas. Another reason is the new City Creek mall that recently opened up in downtown Salt Lake City, which is attracting thousands every day. All we can hope for is that this is enough to bring back the once-in-a-lifetime experience.


Through all the highs and lows that came out of Salt Lake City hosting the 2002 Olympic games, nobody can deny that it will be an event to be remembered forever. From the disappointing scandals to the triumph atop the podiums, Salt Lake will be eternally engraved with the fact that it put on one of the most successful and stressful Winter Games in the history of the Olympics.

Landon Freter is a senior at the University of Utah. He is majoring in mass communication with an emphasis on journalism and plans to graduate in May 2012.


A.C. Billings and S. Eastman, “Framing Identities: Gender, Ethnic and National Parity in Network Announcing of the 2002 Winter Olympics,” Journal of Communication 53 (2003): 569-86.

Scott Haws, “Legacy of the Olympics lives on in Utah’s economy,” KSL, February 20, 2012.

CNN U.S., “New Salt Lake Olympic Leader Vows Clean Games,” February 11, 1999.

Nanette McDonald, Salt Lake City: Site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Game (Salt Lake City: Great Mountain West Supply, 1998).

Mike Gorrell, “Salt Lake City in the hunt for 2022 Olympics?” The Salt Lake Tribune, January 13,2012.

Nostos Helenic Information Society (UK), “Brief History of the Olympic Games.”

George Q. Cannon, Tireless Mormon


Apostle, revered statesman, federal prisoner, missionary, newspaper editor: George Q. Cannon was a man with a mission. And although Cannon was never president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is said that aside from Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, no one surpassed him as a “leader, shaper and defender of nineteenth-century Mormonism.” (Bitton, ix) From a humble beginning, the path to achieve even minimal amounts of success, let alone greatness in life, looked bleak. Having been presented with poverty-stricken conditions as a child, dropping out of school at the age of 13, and being orphaned at a young age, Cannon had a fire within him to turn the tables. (Evans, 85) Taking into account the less-than-favorable situation in which Cannon grew up, he would defy logic, while establishing a name for himself and helping Utah achieve the greatness that it now enjoys. Cannon would not sit idly.

George Q. Cannon was born in Liverpool, England, on January 11, 1827. Without a great deal of promise in his homeland, Cannon was fortunate to have been born with an intrepid spirit. From a very young age, George demonstrated a great deal of tenacity. At the age of 13, against the wishes of his parents, he left school to work in the shipyard, insisting that, “learning was not a matter of going to school; it was the result of an inner hunger.” (Evans, 86) This stubborn but compelling pride stuck with him throughout his life, choosing twice to be sentenced to prison, rather than compromise his convictions.

Cannon was baptized in 1840. For two years he worked, offering where he could. His money, combined with the efforts of his mother Ann, who had set up a private savings account, paid for passage on the ship, Sidney, destined for the New Orleans Harbor. After arriving stateside, the Cannon family would endure five months of harsh winter before eventually meeting up with the early Latter-day Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois. (Grant Cannon, 339)

At age 16, under the tutelage of his uncle, John Taylor, Cannon began to develop a voice and understanding of the media, spending much of his time focused on disabusing public thought relative to the Mormon faith. (Bitton, 44) It was in these critical teenage years that Cannon would hone his skills as a public and powerful defendant in the fight for Mormonism. Bitter hatred stirred and came to a head on June 27, 1844, when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were murdered in cold blood. Also present and subsequently wounded was Cannon’s uncle. In 1845, due to the now widespread, increasing hostility amongst Mormon enemies, early Latter-day Saints succumbed to the demands to leave Nauvoo and headed for the Rocky Mountains.

The Latter-day Saints arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. Two years later, Cannon was asked by Brigham Young to serve a “gold mission” in California to help with the dire straights in which the people were positioned. Cannon, many years later, would say, “there was no place that I would not rather have gone to at this point than California. I heartily despised the work of digging gold. I thought it very poor business for men to be running over the country for gold.” (Bitton, 61) Nevertheless, he went, as he always met his callings with a degree of humility and willingness.

It was in the fall of 1850 that Cannon was released from his California assignment and upon returning to Salt Lake, was met with another calling. Cannon was called to serve a mission in the Sandwich Islands (now the Hawaiian Islands) and would arrive on December 12, 1850. This was no simple task. Due in part to illness and an inability to communicate effectively, many early Missionaries to the islands packed up and went home. Cannon, also faced with these difficulties, made it a goal to immerse himself with the Native speakers to become a “master” of the foreign tongue. Cannon, indeed, mastered the language. So well did he speak, that he would eventually translate The Book of Mormon into the Hawaiian language; hard to believe for someone who had dropped out of school when he was 13. (Bitton, 2-9)

Within two weeks of his return to the Salt Lake Valley on November 28, 1854, Cannon was married to his first wife. Expecting to be called back to serve among the Hawaiian people, Cannon was instead sent to California in 1855 for reasons twofold: publishing The Book of Mormon in Hawaiian and publishing a newspaper, the Western Standard, a weekly newspaper whose purpose, along with current news stories, was to provide “correct information about the Church” in the wake of widespread falsehoods. (Bitton) Operating under the slogan, “To Correct Mis-Represention We Provide Self Presentation,” Cannon fought hard at his new position to debunk the plaguing rumors. (Western Standard)

Meanwhile in Salt Lake, as government intervention was heading west due to the practice of Polygamy, Brigham Young ordered Cannon to sell the press and “return to Zion.” (Grant Cannon, 342) So in 1858, Cannon returned to Salt Lake City and after working for just a few months as a “wood rustler,” he was called as an adjutant general of the militia during the Utah War. While fulfilling this duty and given his extensive knowledge of the press, Cannon was given the assignment as a printer for the Deseret News. However, this had to be done in exile in Fillmore, a “safe location.” (Bitton, 90)

Several months passed. Government intensity eased, so Cannon headed back to Salt Lake, only to be met 60 miles outside of the city by a messenger from Brigham Young, informing him that he should head up the Eastern States Mission. (Grant Cannon, 344) And just like that, he was off again.

At the age of 33, while serving in the eastern states, Cannon was called to the office of Apostle. It wasn’t long before he was then called back to his native land, England, where he would head the British mission efforts and take charge of the Church’s newspaper there, The Millennial Star. One of the tasks afforded him was arranging ships to assist converts on their first leg of the trek to the states. Charles Dickens, present at one of the departures, made note of Cannon in The Uncommercial Traveler, describing him as “a compactly-made handsome man in black, rather short, with rich brown hair and beard, and clear bright eyes. From his speech, I should set him down as American. Probably, a man who had ‘knocked about the world’ pretty much. A man with a frank open manner, and unshrinking look; withal a man of great quickness.” (Grant Cannon, 344)

In 1862, Cannon was elected to the United States Senate. Cannon, now around 37 years of age, left England for Washington, D.C., fighting incessantly for statehood. Congress, however, was overwhelmed with the rebellious secession of southern states to offer much thought in granting rights to what would become Utah, so Cannon returned to England to finish his mission. Upon returning to Salt Lake, he would take charge of the Deseret News. As editor, he took the paper from a semi-weekly publication to a daily newspaper. (Grant Cannon, 345)

Cannon maintained this idea of “no rest till the work is done” throughout his life.  He became increasingly active with overseeing the LDS Church, as well as politically active. In 1872, he was elected to Congress as a vote-less Territorial Delegate, a position “he likened to that of a Eunuch in a brothel.” (Grant Cannon, 347)

On April 8, 1873, he was called to the church’s First Presidency. He was eventually driven underground as a fugitive, along with other church officials involved in the practice of polygamy. In 1888, he turned himself in and was sentenced to 175 days in the state penitentiary.

Orson F. Whitney, an Apostle for the LDS Church, said about Cannon, “No man in Utah, after the passing of President Brigham Young, wielded with all classes so great an influence as President George Q. Cannon, and that influence was felt up to the very close of his life.” He was said to have, in many ways, carried the church.  (Street, 706)

Some might say Cannon was a man with a mission, but in fact, he was a man with many missions. One can’t speak about Utah’s early beginnings without mentioning Cannon. He is synonymous with Utah. Apostle, revered statesman, federal prisoner, missionary, and newspaper editor: George Q. Cannon’s life was a life well lived.

Chet Cannon is a senior at The University of Utah. He is majoring in mass communication and is the great-great-great grandson of George Q. Cannon


George Q. Cannon, San Francisco, California, Western Standard.

Arthur I. Street, “The Mormon Richelieu,” Ainslee’s Magazine, January 1900, 699-706.

Davis Bitton, George Q. Cannon: A Biography (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co., 1999).

“George Q. Cannon,” David J. Buerger papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Grant Cannon, Prophet, Pioneer, Politician, Prisoner. 1957. MS. University of Utah.

Charles Dickens, The Uncommercial Traveler ; No Thoroughfare. New York: P.F. Collier, [18-. Print.

Beatrice Cannon Evans and Janath Russell Cannon, Cannon Family Historical Treasury, 2d ed. (Salt Lake City, UT: George Cannon Family Association, 1995).

From Street Cars to Shooting Spree: a History of Utah’s Trolley Square


It was a typical Monday night in Salt Lake City, Utah, until gunshots echoed off the one hundred-year-old floors at Trolley Square Shopping Center. Six people were killed including the rampaging shooter, and four were injured; nothing would be the same for people everywhere. This tragedy would become part of the history of Trolley Square, Utah, and the nation.

The Salt Lake Tribune article, “Trolley Square: A Brief History,” gives a summary of Trolley Square: “It is in a historic area of Salt Lake City that Brigham Young in 1847 designated as the 10th Ward when he was gridding the city into neighborhoods.” The area also served as territorial fairgrounds until 1908 when Union Pacific Railroad executive E.H. Harriman made it the base for his new trolley car system. Harriman would invest $3.5 million (roughly $88 million in 2012 dollars) to build the complex including a carbarn building to house the trolley cars, a repair shop, and a paint shop.

The Utah Light and Railway Company was formed and author Jack Goodman noted, The company grew from a merged trio of streetcar companies whose rails once laced the city. One of those antecedent companies had used horsecars at its birth.” (Goodman, 146) The Salt Lake Tribune reported on February 17, 2007: “At one time, more than 144 trolleys operated from mission-style car barns erected at the site.” The new company and street cars went all over Salt Lake and beyond with 146 miles of track. They served the public until they were shut down in 1945.

After the decommissioning of the streetcars, the buildings were used for various purposes. According to “Trolley Square: A Brief History,” “Trolley persisted as a decaying garage for Utah Transit Authority buses and Utah Power maintenance vehicles and the historic block was littered with junk vehicles, old tires and trash contained within barbed wire.” The site became decrepit and was close to being torn down until developer Wallace A. Wright, Jr., was inspired to completely renovate the buildings into a shopping mall with boutique stores. Utah Stories Magazine describes the work:

“The renovations included removing the yellow paint to restore the original brick exterior, adding a second floor to the main building to utilize its height, and decorating the mall with scavenged parts from various locations. These parts included the doors from the Gardo House, balustrades from the ZCMI building, an old elevator from East High School, and a stained-glass dome from the Long Beach First Methodist Church. Perhaps the most unusual second-hand part was a conveyer trestle from an oxide mill east of Tooele, which became the skywalk spanning 600 South. The total cost of renovations was $10 -12 million.” (Razavi)

The renovations transformed a dirty car barn in an old lot to a beautiful shopping destination.

News outlet KSL noted that the 97-foot-tall, 50,000-gallon water tower was changed into a landmark and is now used to indicate the local weather forecast. Goodman noted that Trolley Square Mall had one of Utah’s first skybridges that spanned 600 South to get pedestrians safely from the parking lot, across the busy street, and to the complex. (Goodman, 146) In 1973, after the renovation, Trolley Square was added to the register of historical sites by the state of Utah. It was later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. Four years ago, in 2008, the mall celebrated its centennial anniversary. The Square quickly became and remains one of the state’s most popular attractions, offering unique shopping, dining and entertainment in a charming, historic atmosphere. KSL reported, “Trolley Square welcomes over 3 million customers each year. Approximately 30% are tourists, making Trolley Square the second most visited tourist site in the city.” With two major malls/shopping districts being constructed since that article was written, that number has surely decreased, but Trolley Square is still a special shopping destination with stores found nowhere else.

Various stores changed throughout the years and specialty shops moved in. Every day was business as usual for Trolley Square Mall, which was why no one expected Sulejman Talovic, an 18-year-old Bosnian refugee, to walk in and open fire with a shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver. On February 12, 2007, at roughly 6:45 p.m., “Talovic parked his car in the west parking lot and walked into the mall, encountering two people, whom he shot. He then walked further into the mall and shot a woman,” Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank told The Salt Lake Tribune in the article “Killer identified as 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic.”

This was the first part of this horrible crime. Talovic, it was discovered, killed a father and wounded a son in the parking lot and then ten steps into the mall shot at a man, a young woman and an unarmed security guard. As he roamed the mall, he then killed a young woman, according to the official Salt Lake City Police Department report. The shooter continued through the mall firing his guns and reloading constantly. People ran and hid in fear hearing shots, breaking glass and screams. In “Trolley Square: Emotionless killer gunned down victims randomly,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported, “The gunman made his way down the hallway, where he opened fire once again, this time into a gift shop with several people inside. Gunshots shattered the storefront glass, striking and killing at least three people.” Patrons of the mall fled in fear as the gunshots continued to roar throughout the building.

After the massacre in the gift shop Talovic came across an off-duty police officer and his wife. The Deseret News reported on February 18, 2007, that his wife “called 911 and explained to dispatchers that her husband was a police officer, giving them a description of what he was wearing.” Once the police officer was engaged, the standoff began. The officer ordered Talovic to drop his weapon, but he refused. Multiple shots were fired between the police officer and the shooter.

During this time, the Salt Lake Police were in action with officers en route and one already at Trolley Square. The solo officer entered the building, witnessed the standoff and came to the aid of the off-duty police officer. The shooter took cover in a nearby store while the officers hid behind posts. Occasional shots were exchanged between the officers and the gunman. Orders were given and ignored by Talovic.

Finally SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) officers entered from behind the shooter and witnessed him shoot at the other policemen. They opened fire and ended Talovic’s killing spree. Pat Reavy of the Deseret News reported on February 18, 2007, that “it was just seven minutes from the time the first person was shot in the west terrace parking lot to the time the gunman was killed, the district attorney’s office said.” In that brief seven minutes, six people, including a 15-year-old teenager, were dead, and four people were hospitalized with serious injuries.

The Deseret News article, “Mall Massacre,” reported, “Police officers in full SWAT gear went through the mall, discovering more and more frightened people huddling in back rooms, dressing rooms, closets, bathrooms and anywhere else they could hide. One group of people locked themselves in a freezer to stay safe.”

Forensic teams closed off the entire four-block area and started piecing the puzzle together. Police investigators did not have leads as to what Sulejman Talovic’s motives were. The Deseret News reported, “Detectives as of Friday had found no evidence that violent video games may have influenced Talovic. In fact, Talovic did not even own a computer or a video-game system…. Investigators also had not ‘found anything that has religious or political motivation’ or shown that Talovic’s ethnicity was a factor.” (Reavy) His family was deeply saddened by his actions and could not understand why he committed the crime. KSL reported on March 3, 2007, “The family of Sulejman Talovic buried him in his native Bosnia” that same day.

The community was shocked and outraged, but joined together and held candlelight vigils, placed flowers, and raised funds for the victims. Members of the community stood united and mourned together. The victims were honored by the government, by flying flags at half-staff and opening the Senate’s floor session by remembering the victims, as reported on by the Deseret News February 16, 2007. Mall owners eventually opened their doors and people gradually began to shop and dine again at Trolley Square. Attendance and business increased as citizens showed their support.

Recently the incident has been studied extensively and is now being used as an example of police procedure. The Salt Lake Tribune reported on March 20, 2012, “The way Salt Lake City officers and one off-duty Ogden officer responded as Sulejman Talovic shot shoppers and patrons has been considered such a good example of intercepting what police call an ‘active shooter’ that it’s been taught across the country.”

Stores have changed, consumer business has fluctuated and Trolley Square was even sold to new owners, but things are looking up. The new owners are investing more money and have since remodeled and built a massive new parking garage. A large anchor store has also moved in and a popular local bookstore has relocated to Trolley Square. The dark day will always remain in the history of Salt Lake but the future looks brighter for the residents and business owners in the area. Trolley Square will continue as a fixture in Salt Lake City.

Kyle K. Leete is a junior at The University of Utah studying mass communication with a new media emphasis.


Nate Carlisle, “Police around the nation learn from Trolley Square shootings,” The Salt Lake Tribune, March 20, 2012, 1.

Zacharia Razavi, “Trolley Square—A Salt Lake City Icon,” Utah Stories Magazine, November 6, 2008.

Pat Reavy, “Police, DA give further details in Trolley shooting,” The Deseret News, February 18, 2007, 2.

Pat Reavy, Linda Thomson and Joe Bauman, “More details emerging on Trolley Square gunman and victims: State officials, business owners, clergy extend sympathies, offer help,” The Deseret News, February 16, 2007, 5.

Ben Winslow, Pat Reavy and Wendy Leonard, “Mall massacre: Gunman at Trolley Square kills 5, wounds others before he’s slain,” The Deseret News, February 16, 2007, 3.

“Killer identified as 18-year-old Sulejman Talovic,” The Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 2007, 1.

“Trolley Square: A Brief History,” The Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 2007, 1.

John Goodman, As You Pass By: Architectural Musings on Salt Lake City: a Collection of Columns and Sketches from the Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1995).

KSL 5 Eyewitness Weather Tower at Trolley Square,” KSL News.

Trolley Shooter Laid to Rest Today,” KSL News, March 3, 2007.

Trolley Square Shooting Incident Investigative Summary,” Salt Lake City Police Department.