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.)
This year's awards were presented during the Homecoming game on September 29, 2018.
Dr. Boyd Beck is a 1965 graduate of Snow College. He is most fondly remembered as a chemistry teacher with Badger Pride.
Boyd’s life has been a miracle in many ways. He has fought a lifelong battle with chronic nephritis and heart problems. As a child, Boyd was told he would never live beyond 20, but when he lived beyond that, he was told that he would never live beyond 30. When he lived beyond 30, he was told 40. His wife, Sandra said, “I think that because he was constantly told he wasn’t going to live he enjoyed each moment, because there was always the chance he might make it.”
Today, Boyd is thankful for each day he’s able to do the things he loves. His son played an important role in keeping Boyd alive. Following open-heart surgery in 1998, Boyd received a kidney transplant from his son.
A native of Spring City, Boyd was an honor student at Snow College and was president of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. He received his Associate of Science in 1965 and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree from Brigham Young University in 1969, and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Utah in 1973.
Boyd has served as the director of research at Albion Laboratories, Inc. and Harris Research, Inc. He has also chemical consulting experience with 11 companies. Through his career in organic chemistry, Boyd earned nine U.S. patents and numerous global patents.
Boyd and his sweetheart, Sandra, also a Snow College alum, met when they were in primary school. They grew up together and were friends when Boyd called and asked her out on a date. Boyd is happy to proclaim that they have now been married 49 years!
Boyd said it was he and Sandra’s dream to come back to the area and raise their family in Spring City. In 1977, they did just that when Boyd received a teaching position at Snow College.
Boyd said he was concerned at first when he taught at Snow because he had only worked in the industry, and hadn’t taught before. However, he said he loved teaching, and he loved the students at Snow. Sandra shared that even after Boyd had many years of teaching experience, he would still spend the time each evening to pre-prepare the next day’s lessons.
Boyd’s careful dedication to his field and his students has inspired a love of learning from many of his students. One of his students (a Snow College graduate who graduated with a medical degree at Penn State University) attributes much of his academic success to Boyd: “Dr. Beck exercised patience to ensure that all of us understood a concept before moving onward. He made himself available to students who were struggling with the coursework and spent countless hours ensuring that each student received the help that they needed. […] Dr. Beck embodies many of the reasons that I treasure my time spent at Snow College.”
Sandra recalled a recent experience when a student told her about the impact Boyd had on his life and on his daughter’s life. Boyd had taught both father and daughter –two generations – in his time at Snow College. Boyd said, “I love to see students succeed and have success; they have gone places and done well, and it’s good for me just to hear that.”
Boyd and Sandra have four children, 14 grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. All four of their children graduated from Snow College as well as all three of their sons-in-law. They currently have two grandkids at Snow.
Since retirement, Boyd and Sandra love to explore the mountains, go on a drive, or visit their children, who all live in Utah. They also love to travel. Sandra said, “We made our minds up early in our marriage to travel as much as we could early on and not wait until retirement because we didn’t know if he would make it.”
Winston Churchill once said, “What is the use of living, if it not be to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?”
It could definitely be said that Boyd and Sandra have led a life well lived. When complimented on their life and accomplishments, Sandra and Boyd are quick to give credit to Snow College. “Snow is an important part of our family. It’s a legacy,” they both affirmed.
Photo by: Austin Diamond - KUERMost people spend years figuring out what they want to do with their lives, often changing paths many times. Our first Distinguished Alumna is a rare exception. Maria Titze O’Mara found her passion for journalism and communication early, and it has been a constant throughout her life and career.