Current Honorees

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Paige Holland,

​Paige Holland, wife of Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland, was raised in Provo, Utah. She is the mother of four children. She strives to teach them, and others within her sphere of influence, about the importance of getting an education. She feels that she uses the knowledge and skills she learned while obtaining her college degree on a daily basis, and she hopes to inspire other women to see how a college education will bless their lives in many ways as well. In her role at UVU, she has been instrumental in addressing the issues that make it difficult for women to graduate from college. To this end, she has helped to raise funds for more scholarships for women and expand the day care center so that young mothers can continue their education knowing that their children are well cared for.
Eliza Kirtley Royle,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

A leader in the women’s club movement, Royle founded and was the first president of the Ladies Literary Club, the first Utah women’s club affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Born in Columbia, Missouri, Royle moved in 1871 to Salt Lake City, where she remained for the next forty years. Prior to founding the Ladies Literary Club, Royle was a member of the Blue Tea – Utah’s first women’s club. Upon her death in 1910, the Salt Lake Tribune heralded Royle as “one of Utah’s most prominent pioneers and one of the most brilliant women of the West.”
Tiffany Lott Hogan,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives » Athletics/Sports

Olympic athlete representing the United States at the 2004 Summer Olympics held in Athens, Greece, where she finished 20th in the heptathlon. Prior to the Olympics, Hogan was a ten-time All-American and won the NCAA championship in the heptathlon in 1997 and 1998. She also won the gold medal in that event at the 2003 Pan American Games. Hogan has been honored with numerous awards, including Female Athlete of the Year by Track & Field Magazine, the Dale Rex Memorial Award at BYU, Female Athlete of the Year (Utah) by the Girl and Women in Sports Foundation, and Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year (Utah) by the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Hannah Blakesley Finch Morley,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Courageous pioneer woman who buried her first husband and four sons and who crossed the plains to Utah in 1848. She was also one of the few pioneer women to keep a journal. Morley eventually settled with the first group of pioneers in Manti, Utah. There, along with her second husband, Isaac Morley, she battled rattlesnakes, severe weather, and the Sanpitch Indians. Her last son, Simeon, was taken hostage as a baby by Ute Chief Walker in exchange for promised goods and supplies from Salt Lake City. The statue pictured in the Utah Women’s Walk represents the reunion of Hannah with her son.
Jane Manning James,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

One of the first black settlers in Utah. Born in Wilton, Connecticut, James joined the LDS church as a teenager and moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where she became part of the household of Joseph Smith. James finally settled in Salt Lake City with her husband Isaac James. When Isaac left Jane and their six children in 1869, Jane provided for the family by spinning, sewing, soap making, and working as a laundress. As noted by historian Henry J. Wolfinger, “[Jane Manning Jame’s] life was not one which brought financial reward or historical recognition. Rather, her achievements were personal. At a time when the racial attitudes of the larger society and the local community were becoming increasingly rigid, and their practices increasingly discriminatory, she managed the difficult task of maintaining her racial and religious identification without sacrificing a sense of personal dignity.”
Georgia Lathouris Mageras,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives » Common Roles/Uncommon Lives

Greek midwife and, according to Helen Papanikolas, "the most important member of Utah's Greek immigrant community and a symbol of the color of uniqueness of Greek immigrant life." Through the course of her life, Mageras -- or "Magerou," as she was called -- served her countrymen and other underprivileged immigrants as a nurse, matriarch, matchmaker, peacemaker, and especially as a midwife who was reputed to have never lost a mother or child during her many years of practice.
Patty Sessions,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

An unsung Mormon woman of the nineteenth century. Shortly after her marriage, Sessions stepped in, untrained, to help her sick mother-in-law deliver a baby – the first of 3,997 babies she would deliver over her lifetime. Sessions converted to Mormonism in 1834 and moved to Nauvoo, where she experienced a multitude of challenges, including polygamy. Despite these challenges, Sessions was known as a woman of great faith, power, and independence. She drove her own team to Salt Lake City only two months after the vanguard company in 1847. Once in Utah, Sessions moved to Bountiful, where she spent the last three decades of her life as a widow. Later she was elected president of the Indian Relief Societies, an organization devoted to helping impoverished Native Americans, and she established the Patty Sessions Academy, a free school for the community.
©Image used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved.
Ann Takasaki,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Elizabeth Ann Inouye Takasaki has given a life of service, starting from her humble beginnings in Gunnison, Utah where she learned from her parents how to work and serve, to her on-going civic and church service throughout her lifetime. Ann has served in various organizations and committees including Intermountain Healthcare Women’s Advisory Board, Community Health Connect Board, American Mother’s Association, and chair of American Medical Association Alliance. Ann also served on the LDS Young Women General Board. She acknowledges her beloved heritage of family, being taught by their strength, sacrifice, and service to others. Her strong work ethic and spirit of generosity is reflected in her conviction that, “No matter what you have, you always have enough to give.”
Anne Leavitt,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Historian and writer, Anne Leavitt authored Southern Utah University: The First 100 Years, and three Leavitt family histories: From Hingham to Hatley, From Hatley to Home, and Those Who Bade Goodbye. Mother to six sons, including Mike Leavitt former Utah Governor, and grandparent to 38 grandchildren Anne places strong emphasis on family and the wonderful opportunity and blessing of grand parenting. Anne has an extensive history in public service including convener to establish, and later chair, the Utah Endowment for the Humanities, and being part of a task force to investigate drug addiction in Utah. Her church service has blessed the lives of many young women. In 1984, she served with her husband, Dixie, while he presided over the England Leeds Mission.
Beatrice Gray Christensen,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Beatrice Gray Christensen was a pioneer in the era of electricity. She demonstrated the electric stove for Utah Power and Light and helped care for the crews as they installed power stations across the state.
Camilla Kimball,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Camilla Kimball (1894-1987) is respectfully remembered as a highly intelligent, independent thinking woman with an eager mind for learning and a passion for life. Wife of LDS Prophet, President Spencer W. Kimball, she served alongside him, and was an influence for good to many. Committed to excellence Sister Kimball viewed living up to your responsibilities as the most direct opportunity for personal growth.
Camilla Kimball image by unknown, © By Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Dora Lopez,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Dora Lopez is a mother who sacrificed much in order to cross the U.S. border to improve her life and the lives of her posterity.
Ellen James,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Ellen James volunteered for many organizations including Timponogos Storytelling Festival and the 2002 Winter Olympics. She also worked for Senator Mike Lee's campaign and currently serves in his Washington  D.C. office.
Doris Judd,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Doris Judd lives a life of sacrifice and service with an attitude of optimism and humor. Turning the challenge of needing to continually uproot her growing family from one remote location to another into an ongoing adventure for her children, she was able to support her husband’s Air Force career in a positive way. Doris has chosen to live her life believing that unavoidable change provides opportunities for growth. Her capacity to love extends beyond her family circle, enabling her to touch the lives of others in positive and supportive ways, both in her travels and in her various church-related assignments.
Hedvig Marie Olsen Jenson,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Hedvig Marie Olsen Jenson (1823-1914) was born in Denmark and with great sacrifice immigrated to Utah in 1863. She married Hans Christian Jensen in 1846 and together they had eight children.She loved music and played the violin to the delight of her family.
Helen Smith,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Helen Smith, raised during the Great Depression, learned at an early age the value of personal responsibility and hard work. She benefited from the example of her mother and other women in her community who were models of resilience and resourcefulness. Helen is a gifted singer and loves directing music. She belonged to the American Fork Civic Chorus and was a charter member from its inception, has directed music for over 50 years, and has sung at 130 funerals. Helen is the mother of three daughters, and is now a great-great- grandmother.
Irene Ellison,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Irene Ellison was born in 1923. As a young adult during World War II she learned certain characteristics that have guided her throughout her life. She acquired a sense of resourcefulness attributed to her "strong pioneer heritage" and her mother, who lived during the Great Depression. She also developed a musical talent. She plays the piano, organ, violin and French horn. Besides a gift for playing instruments, her musical capabilities include singing.
Jan Chamberlin,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Jan Chamberlin has her private voice degree from BYU where she studied with acclaimed dramatic opera tenor, the late Ray Arbizu. She teaches in both musical theater and classical styles, and has over 30 years of voice teaching experience. Jan has performed in venues for recitals, house concerts, and musical theater productions in the state of Utah, including The Assembly Hall on Temple Square, and Springville Art Museum Recital Series. She sang and recorded with the audition choirs of BYU, Salt Lake Vocal Ensemble, Cathedral of the Madeleine, Canti con Brio (BYU Alumni Choir), and Eastman School of Music. Jan sings soprano with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the weekly broadcasts of Music and the Spoken Word. She is an active member of NATS, MTNA, Festival, and AIM.
Jaynann Morgan Payne,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Jaynann Payne was named Mrs. Utah in 1968 and the second runner up for Mrs America. As a motivational speaker, mother of 12 children, and a delagate in 1977 for the International Women's Year, she has spent her life in the service of others.
Julia Caswell,
Common Roles/Uncommon Lives »

Julia Caswell was born under the oppressive environment of communist Bulgaria. However, her family was able to leave when her father was transferred to Algeria for a 2-year work assignment. Not wanting to return to Bulgaria at the end of that period, the family, through a series of miraculous events, managed to escape to France. Remarkably, years later in 1989, Julie was assigned to be the broadcaster (working for Voice of America) who would announce to the Bulgarian population, the end of communist rule. Julie’s multilingual capacities (speaking Bulgarian, English, Russian, and French) has proved valuable as she and her children moved around the world to various assignments connected to her husband’s career in the State Department, and her own professional work as teacher, translator, writer, and broadcaster.
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