Marriott Alumni Magazine

Summer 2015

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Page 29 of 51

School News New Exhibit Tells George W. Romney’s Story This year the Marriott School’s Romney Institute of Public Management is celebrating fifty years of the BYU MPA program with a new exhibit on the institute’s namesake, George W. Romney. Located on the seventh floor of the Tanner Building, the display features a selection of items, including personal photos and documents, that were recently acquired by the Harold B. Lee Library Special Collections. More than forty boxes of historical documents, including photos that haven’t been in the public domain, were donated earlier this year by two of Romney’s children, Lynn Romney Keenan and Scott Romney. The collection will help faculty and students learn more about Romney both professionally and personally. MPA program coordinator Heather Chewning says one of her favorite pieces is a letter written by Romney to his wife. “It highlighted his personality,” Chewning says. “He was very humble.” Other gems include photos of Romney with Walt Disney and correspondence with LDS Church and political leaders. The Tanner Building display was designed by MPA student Kip Smith and was constructed by MPA students. “George was a great role model, and he exemplifies the program,” says Jeffery Thompson, Romney Institute director. “We hope his legacy will help students envision where the MPA program can take them.” Ruth Ann Jefferies Honored as 2014 Wright Distinguished Alumnus The BYU Romney Institute of Public Management named Ruth Ann Jefferies, a property tax specialist at the Utah State Tax Commission, the 2014 N. Dale Wright Alumnus of the Year. The award is presented annually to an alumnus who has demonstrated extraordinary service professionally and in the community. “It was very easy for us to recognize Ruth Ann, both in terms of her successful career and her outstanding character,” says Rex Facer, associate professor of public finance and management. “I hope students can learn from her passion and her commitment to doing good.” Jefferies, who received her MPA from BYU in 1971, was voted this year’s winner by the Romney Institute Awards Committee in recognition for her work in the public sector dealing with taxes and federal funds. Jefferies has worked for the Utah State Tax Commission for more than twenty years, and for the past fifteen years she has specialized in property tax. During that time she has managed the staff that set the property-tax rate and worked with the state legislature to amend and improve property-tax statutes. Throughout her career her goal has been to protect taxpayers by creating fair policies and increasing transparency. “Property tax is complicated, and there’s a lot involved,” she says. “I work with the legislature to clarify various aspects of the tax so people can understand. It’s rewarding to explain complex things in a simple manner.” Dale Wright, the namesake of the award and one of Jefferies’s BYU professors, presented Jefferies with a painting at a luncheon held in her honor. He congratulated her for her career success and thanked her for her example. “One of the best things about teaching is to see someone like Ruth Ann accomplish so much and turn out to be such a good person who makes a difference in others’ lives,” Wright says. Jefferies received her bachelor’s degree in political science, business, and history from BYU. She began her career in the public sector at the United States Agency for International Development. Jefferies enrolled in the BYU MPA program in 1969 and was the first woman to receive an MPA from BYU. After receiving her degree she was the associate state planning coordinator in the Utah governor’s office, where she directed the

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