Distinguished Alumnus Award

An annual honor given to a graduate of Snow College who inspires excellence in others by serving as a role model and has demonstrated significant commitment, career contributions, and community impact. This article can be found in the Alumni Magazine – Fall.

Nominate your fellow classmates for the Snow College Distinguished Alumnus Award. Do you know someone you feel is a good candidate?  Nominate someone today! (Deadline is April 30th of each year.)

Last year's awards were presented during the Homecoming game on October 15, 2016.

arrow Distinguished Alumnus Award Nomination Form
arrow Distinguished Alumnus Award Criteria

arrow List of previous Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients

2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients

Justin Osmond ('99)

Justin Osmond

Sharing Determination and Inspiration for All to Hear

Throughout his life, Justin A. Osmond ('99) has learned that persistence pays off, family support makes a difference, and nothing is impossible. Despite living with a 90 percent hearing loss that put him a couple of years behind his peers academically, Justin pressed forward. It is his tenacity and cheerful demeanor that makes him extraordinary. Because he has overcome difficult challenges, he can speak to those who struggle in a way that is truly inspirational.

Justin's hearing challenges have been turned into a strength of character that is evidenced by every aspect of his life. One example is music. Imagine being born into a very musical family (Justin is the second son of Merrill Osmond, lead singer of the world-renowned Osmond Family) and being told by teachers and professionals that you would never play a musical instrument. Justin proved the experts wrong by learning to play the violin, viola, piano, and drums, and by receiving the prestigious Sterling Scholar award, an award given to outstanding Utah high school seniors, in music.

After high school, Justin enrolled at Snow College. He shared a poignant moment he experienced at Snow College that had a profound impact on his life:

"I had a musical and academic scholarship while I attended [Snow College]. I played the viola in the Snow College orchestra. ... I went into one of the practice rooms of the old musical building where each room was separated by heavy curtains. In the room next door, there were lots of brass instruments playing and it was so loud that I couldn't hear myself practice. So a thought came to mind. I took my hearing aids out! That got rid of the loud brass sounds and it was nice and quiet.

"Then, I experienced and discovered something that forever changed my life. 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 the low frequencies. From that day on, I realized that I could play the violin and viola by feeling the musical notes. ... It was so neat to be able to shut out all the outside noise and be able to focus and laser in on my own musical talent and abilities."

After graduating from Snow College, Justin earned a bachelor's degree from Utah State University, and an MBA in marketing and public relations from Western Governors University. He has dedicated his time and talents to speaking for those who cannot hear. At the age of 39, Justin is CEO/founder of Olive Osmond Hearing Fund; president of O2 Events & Productions; author of the inspirational book, Hearing with my Heart; a motivational speaker; founder of The Hearing Fund UK, and a former board member and spokesperson for Starkey Hearing Foundation outreach program, which is the largest outreach program in providing hearing help to children worldwide. Justin has hosted many fundraisers in the form of talent shows, live musical productions, gala events, school fundraisers, fire-work celebrations, marathons, and other running events -- raising enough money to help thousands of children around the world have better hearing.

Justin is also a family man who resides with his wife, Kristi, in the mountains of Ephraim. He loves four-wheeling with his family and friends, camping, hunting, and spending time in the outdoors. Justin lives every day by his personal motto,

"I may have a hearing loss, but that hearing loss does not have me."

He tells people: "You may have a particular challenge that you are trying to overcome, and that is perfectly okay, but don't let those challenges have you. We are in control of our own dreams and aspirations in life. Our challenges don't define us; it is just the other way around. We define our challenges and who we really are and what we become."

In recognition of his determination and service to others, the Snow College Alumni Association has selected Justin to be a recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award. He will be honored during Homecoming, October 14-15.


Charles Pugh ('85)

Charles Pugh

Paying it Forward

Small towns continually turn out people of high caliber and character, like Charles Edward Pugh ('85). Born in Cedar City, he spent his youth on the islands of Tonga and in Blanding, Utah, where his father was an educator. He earned awards such as Sterling Scholar, senior class president, and National Honor Society president. He served an LDS mission in Pennsylvania, where he served as assistant to the president.
In 1984, Cless Young, who later worked in Snow College's counseling office and as an associate professor, arranged for Charles to receive an academic/leadership scholarship to Snow College, where he had the opportunity to serve as an Inter-Club Council member. Charles also earned the Outstanding Chemistry Student award and was listed in Who's Who Among Students in American Junior Colleges while attending Snow.
Snow College is where Charles met the love of his life, Jolene Beazer ('86). They met in the L.D. Singers group. He learned that she was taking a chemistry class, so he joined the class half-way through the year, and the rest is history. "When you get an Ephraim girl, you are pretty lucky!" Charles mused as he remembered dancing at the old Institute building.
When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, Charles replied: "My father was an educator, so I considered that. I also studied finance and accounting. But, when I attended Snow College, Professor Boyd Beck gave me a taste of chemistry. He is a great educator. He's brilliant! At that point, I went from business and accounting to earning a pre-med degree in biology ... and ended up going into chemical safety."
While reminiscing about his time at Snow, Charles recollected, "Everyone at Snow College, and in Ephraim in general, made you feel like you were home, not just there to get an education." Of all the many mathematics and chemistry classes he has taken, Charles points to the classes he took at Snow College as the best, and added that he definitely patterned his teaching style at Brigham Young University after Paul Fore and Boyd Beck. They had the gift of making complicated topics understandable; they were funny and to-the-point.
Having learned the value of education from his father, Charles did not stop at earning an associate degree in chemistry and business from Snow College. He earned bachelor's degrees in both biology and industrial hygiene/public health from Utah State University, and a Master of Science in Public Health from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicing at the University of Utah.
After BYU recruited Charles to help decommission their nuclear test reactor, he became their chemical hygiene officer and oversaw chemical safety for the entire university. As BYU's first chemical hygiene officer, Charles implemented many safety protocols that are still in place. I addition to teaching as an adjunct professor while at the"Y," he also taught at the National Safety Council and was a guest lecturer at the University of Utah's Rocky Mountain Center for Occupational and Environmental Health. Charles was also privileged to serve as a risk manager and safety officer in the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Twenty years ago, Charles was recruited from BYU to the safety and health department at Worker's Compensation Fund Insurance (WCF) in Sandy, where he had the opportunity to consult with significant companies in best practices and lab management. Among them are O.C. Tanner, the State of Utah, NuSkin, and even Snow College. Charles is currently senior vice president of claims at WCF. Charles points to his chemical safety background, which began at Snow, as being very helpful in understanding underlying issues, analytics, and other highly data-driven reports.
Charles and Jolene live in Spanish Fork and have one daughter, four sons, and seven grandsons. They love being together as a family, and they enjoy outdoor activities, such as sporting events, camping, fishing, riding ATVs, and hiking. Charles also enjoys woodworking, building, and working in his yard.
Charles loves to serve and be involved in the community. He has worked for many years with youth groups and served in leadership positions in his church. He has served as president of the American Industrial Chapter for the State of Utah, and on institutional and curriculum review committees for the University of Utah and BYU. He also serves on the board for Junior Achievement of Utah and volunteers with Neuroworx -- a foundation that provides rehabilitation for those with spinal and brain injuries. He is full of positivity and feels very blessed. This is easy to see in his life's motto:

"If it is to be, it is up to me!"

The Snow College Alumni Association recognizes Charles' ability to rise to the top of every situation he has found himself in. He has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award and will be honored during Homecoming, October 14-15.