Advancement Board Members

The Advancement Board of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services is focused on developing relationships and increasing support among the key constituents of our college and of Utah State University—including alumni, community members, government policy makers, the media, and other philanthropic entities and friends. The board’s mission is to support the Dean and Executive Director of Development in all philanthropic and engagement activities.

Al Smith

Al Smith— Ex. Officio

Dr. Al Smith currently serves as Dean of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services, the largest college on the USU campus. The College serves more than 6000 students, and is comprised of eight academic departments, five research centers, and a laboratory school serving 350 children grades K-6. The College is the top producer of early childhood, elementary, and special education teachers among Utah’s public institutions. US News and World Report currently ranks the college #32 among graduate schools of education in the nation, with faculty generating more than $50 million in research funding annually.

Lance Beckert portrait

Lance Beckert— Ex. Officio

Before joining Dean Foley’s staff as Executive Director of Development at the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Lance G. Beckert spent three years as Director of External Business Development for the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. From 2005-2012 Lance was Director of Basketball Operations at Utah State University under Hall of Fame coach Stew Morrill. Lance graduated from Daito Bunka University in Tokyo, Japan, with a bachelor’s degree in International Economics in 1997. Lance played collegiate and professional basketball in Japan before beginning a professional career.Lance is a native of Mesa, Arizona and is married to Patricia, they have two sons; Gabriel (16), Patrick (13), and one daughter Leillah (8). Lance enjoys coaching his children in youth sports and often gives back to the community as a youth sports official.

Dave Weeshoff portrait

Dave Weeshoff — Chairman

David Weeshoff graduated from Utah State University with a degree of Bachelor of Science in experimental psychology in 1968. He subsequently worked for IBM for 35 years in marketing, systems development, and consulting on business processes.

After retiring from IBM in 2004, he became a volunteer with International Bird Rescue. At their center, he assists the veterinary staff in the care of sick, injured, orphaned, and oiled aquatic birds. Mr. Weeshoff represents the activities and goals of Bird Rescue to the public at the center and other venues to all ages. He was on the board of directors for five years and chairman for three of those years.

Dave regularly attends and participates in conferences, classes, and seminars discussing the rehabilitation of avian wildlife and the conservation and environmental issues that affect their health and wellbeing. He is a member of the International Bird Rescue Oil Spill Response Team. He occasionally performs volunteer work at other avian rehabilitation centers in California and Alaska. 

He is a past president of the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society, is now their conservation chair, and is a frequent speaker, to all ages, regarding birds and environmental issues for Audubon: Heal the Bay (an organization concerned with improving the water quality of the Southern California coast), and 5 Gyres (concerned with causes and consequences of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans). He is member of the Climate Reality Project and speaks and writes on the impact of climate change on birds and their habitats.

Dave travels extensively, including the High Arctic, Antarctic, Alaska, Galapagos, Iceland, Greenland, Midway Atoll, Chilean Patagonia, Madagascar, Easter Island, and Baja, Mexico, in search of aquatic birds to protect and enjoy. He is a member of the USU Old Main Society.

Mark Stoddard portrait

Mark Stoddard — Vice Chairman

Mark Stoddard serves as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents. He is the president and CEO of Central Valley Medical Center in Nephi, chairman of Rural Health Group, and chairman of the Rural Health Care Foundation. Regent Stoddard graduated from Snow College in 1978 with an associate degree in business management, followed by a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Utah State University, and an MBA from Brigham Young University. With a desire to give back, Mark served as the Snow College Alumni president from 1988–1992. He was a member of the Snow College Board of Trustees from 1989–2001 and Chairman of the Snow College Foundation from 2002–2009.

In leading Central Valley Medical Center for more than 35 years, Mark has been dedicated to advancing medical resources in rural areas. During this time, he has promoted and coordinated the construction of a state-of-the-art hospital and a medical clinic, and the recruitment of physicians to provide care for patients in Nephi, an underserved area in central Utah. 

As a strong voice for education, Mark has been instrumental in establishing nursing education programs in rural Utah. A Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) Program is now based in both Nephi and Richfield with the eventual goal of offering registered nursing (RN) programs.

The Utah Hospital Association presented Mark with the Distinguished Healthcare Executive Award in 1998. UHA also honored Mark in 2017 with the Distinguished Service to Healthcare Award. Both awards recognized Mark’s extraordinary efforts and diligence as an advocate for improving health care at local, state, and national levels.

Sara Menlove Doutre portrait

Sara Menlove Doutre

Sara Menlove Doutre works at WestEd as a senior program associate for the Center for Prevention and Early Intervention. She provides expertise to the National Center for Systemic Improvement and the Center for IDEA Fiscal Reporting. 

Sara has bachelor’s degrees from Utah State University in both elementary and special education and taught special education prior to working as an education program specialist at the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Sara started a private consulting business where she held contracts with multiple states and organizations to build capacity of state and local agencies responsible for special education and early intervention to develop, implement, and evaluate systems for general supervision, data reporting, and ensuring fiscal support for programs.

Sara has a master’s degree in education policy studies from George Washington University and is completing a PhD in sociobehavioral epidemiology in the Psychology Department at Utah State University. Her dissertation is a multistate study of early detection and intervention programs for young children with hearing loss. Sara’s daughter is deaf because of congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV). Sara serves as a parent on Utah’s Interagency Coordinating Council and has chaired the board of the Utah Parent Center. She is the chair of the Community Advisory Council for Utah State's Center for Persons with Disabilities and co-founded the National CMV Foundation to help women learn how they can prevent disabilities by preventing CMV infections during pregnancy.

Sara and her husband, Will, live in Logan, with their three children, Liam, Daisy, and Bonnie. They love to travel together, both near and far.

Pete Kranz portrait

Pete Kranz

Dr. Peter Kranz graduated from Utah State University with a PhD in child psychology. Committed to educating students on race relations, his teaching career took him to Florida, Utah, and then to Texas, where he is an education psychology professor at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. He has delivered many presentations about race relations, group dynamics, and psychodrama at numerous psychology conferences and universities around the world, including those in Mexico, Russia, and India. He has also served as a visiting professor in those countries, as well as many more, including China, Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam, Morocco, and Thailand.

During his career, he has received awards for his teaching on race relations and has garnered national media attention—Dr. Kranz has been featured by several national news outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, “All Things Considered” on National Public Radio, and on PBS’s “The Lehrer News Hour.” Dr. Kranz’s race relations class is the subject of a book, authored by Terry Clarke, soon to be offered by Amazon.

Dr. Kranz is a member of the Old Main Society and a Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association. He has sponsored a scholarship for psychology graduate students and has received an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Bernice McCowin portrait

Bernice McCowin

Bernice and her husband, Ty McCowin, received bachelor’s degrees from Utah State Agricultural College in 1949. Bernice earned a master’s degree from USU in 1996 and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Education degree in 2005. She has enjoyed over seven busy decades of community, university, and church volunteer service for which, she says, she has been amply rewarded. She has been employed as a teacher and business manager and currently works as a Utah court-rostered mediator as well as serving on community and USU boards.

The McCowins have lived in various parts of the country and raised eight children while Ty practiced family medicine and orthopedic surgery until his death in 1992. With numerous teachers among both progenitors and posterity, Bernice established a scholarship at USU in 1993 for prospective teachers.

Her current interests include continuing education, homemaking activities, travel, enjoying season tickets for USU games, visiting Teton Peaks Lodge (a family vacation home in Wyoming), and living in Cache Valley with all of its natural beauty and numerous cultural and creative activities.

Ross Peterson portrait

Ross Peterson

Dr. Ross Peterson is a native of Montpelier, Idaho, and was president of Deep Springs College from July 2004 to July 2007. He earned a PhD in American Studies from Washington State University in 1968. Prior to going to Deep Springs, he served as professor of history at Utah State University for 33 years with a teaching specialty in Recent American History and an emphasis on the Civil Rights Movement. In 2007, he returned to USU as Vice President for Advancement and helped conduct the university’s first comprehensive campaign that raised over $500 million dollars.

During his career, he has served on many volunteer boards and chaired the Utah Humanities Council. In 1998, Governor Michael Leavitt and the Utah Humanities Council presented Dr. Peterson with the Governor’s Outstanding Humanist Award for the state of Utah. He has published numerous books on Western American topics, but his great love is teaching. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from Utah State University. He received a Fulbright lectureship to Victoria University in New Zealand and in 2015 was named the Wayne Aspinall Chair in Western History at Colorado Mesa University,

Ross and his wife, Kay, are the parents of three married sons and they have eleven grandchildren.

Harriet Rasmussen portrait

Harriet Rasmussen

Harriet Richards Rasmussen was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Farmington, Utah. As both of her parents were University of Utah graduates, she was expected to follow their lead. However, a week spent at Utah State University in 1961 as a delegate to Girl’s State left her knowing she wanted to be an Aggie! She graduated in 1967 from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in child development/elementary education. 

Harriet determined from her early childhood education classes at USU that her future goal was to be a full-time wife and mother; thus her professional teaching career lasted but one year. She then gratefully implemented her education in the rearing of four Rasmussen children, two daughters and two sons. She is married to Waldemar E. Rasmussen who was employed by Exxon Mobil Corporation. The family has lived in Houston, Texas, then in Huntington, West Virginia, then in Houston, Texas, then in Aurora, Colorado, and then again in Houston, Texas, (in that order) during the span of thirty-seven years. Following her husband’s retirement in August 2009, they returned to Utah.

Over those years, Harriet was actively involved in the schools her children attended and serving on PTO boards as president, treasurer, and chairman of a booster club as well as an officer of a school district’s parent’s council. She also was an officer of a local civic association. Harriet has served in many positions in her church including Family History Center Director and Regional Public Affairs Council, and she has fulfilled many leadership and teaching callings. She is a proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. Harriet’s love of this great country has kept her very active in the political process, volunteering in many capacities with women’s political organizations in Texas. 

Supporting higher education has been part of Harriet’s life over these many years so she is pleased to now associate herself with Utah State University in this new capacity on the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Advancement Board.

Melanie Rice-Moffatt portrait

Melanie Rice-Moffat

Melanie Rice Moffat earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Utah State University, and a master’s degree in special education at the University of Utah. She taught in private and public schools. In 1990 she launched Educational Advantage Inc., which became a full-service tutoring center, providing students with individual instruction to meet their specific needs. Currently, she is a teacher in Utah at Park City High School and enjoys working with special needs and first-generation students.

Melanie has served on the Park City Education Foundation Board and Park City Soccer Club Board. She enjoys playing and watching most sports, especially watching the Aggies. As a second-generation Aggie she is proud to be followed by her son who is a third-generation Aggie. Melanie is married to Mark R. Moffat and they have two sons and a daughter who are currently all in college. During their free time they enjoy skiing, biking, and hiking with their dogs. 

Dennis Sessions portrait

Dennis L. Sessions

Dennis grew up in Driggs, Idaho, and graduated from Teton High School. He attended one year at Utah State University and then served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Scotland. After returning home, he reenrolled in studies at USU and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and then completed an MBA.

He and Lynn Gillette Sessions began dating in high school and after they were married they both attended USU. They are the parents of six children. Dennis was self-employed and owned and operated two separate businesses during his 39 working years. Lynn also worked with him in between her years of teaching school. Following retirement, they served a church mission working with student leadership at BYU-Hawaii. 

They are members of the Old Main Society, Aggies Unlimited Blue A Society, and have established an endowment scholarship fund for graduates of Teton High School. Now they enjoy spending time at Bear Lake, boating with their family in the summer, and snowmobiling in the winter.

Lynn Sessions portrait

Lynn Gillette Sessions

Lynn was born in Victor, Idaho, in 1947 as the last of six children. It was a great life growing up on the west side of the Grand Tetons. Her older sisters attended Utah State University and, in the summer, Lynn came to Logan and lived with them while she took workshops in dance. She loved the university and Logan and that is where she wanted to attend college. She and Dennis L. Sessions married when he returned from a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They both enrolled at USU, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with minors in business, physical education, and music. During that time she was a member of the Aggie Marching Band.

After graduation, she worked with Dennis in their businesses, taught school, and was the advisor for the Fabulous Featherettes, the drill team at Teton High School. Dennis and Lynn have six children—four girls and two boys—and they now have eleven grandchildren, two of whom attend USU. In their retirement, they love supporting the Aggies, attending football and basketball games and other programs. They are members of the Old Main Society, Aggies Unlimited Blue A Society, and have established an endowment scholarship fund for graduates of Teton High School.

They are members of the Old Main Society, Aggies Unlimited Blue A Society, and have established an endowment scholarship fund for graduates of Teton High School. Now they enjoy spending time at Bear Lake, boating with their family in the summer, and snowmobiling in the winter.

Judy Silker portrait

Judy Silker

A California native, Judy Silker graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s degree in special education in 1974. Her training in teaching and advocating for disabled children and adults took her to Idaho, California, and Nevada for a 32-year career. She has volunteered for several cultural, youth, and community service organizations during her career and in retirement. Judy is a 40-year member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a women’s honorary society for teachers, and she served as Nevada State President for the organization from 2009–2011. 

Judy is a founding member of the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services Dean's Advancement Board, a member of the Old Main Society, and a lifetime member of the Alumni Association. Judy’s love of photography has been lifelong, and her photos have been shared with international women's organizations as well as displayed in local galleries and in juried art shows. In retirement, Judy enjoys traveling, crafting, reading, writing, and ALL things Aggie.

Suzie Stones portrait

Suzie Stones

Suzane (Suzie) Stones is a retired health science educator. She earned a bachelor’s degree in medical technology from the University of Utah, and then a master’s degree in economics from Utah State University. She was formerly employed as an academic advisor at Utah State University Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department and as a health science instructor at both Bridgerland Technical College. and Weber State University Extension. She was also involved in the career advisement and training of healthcare professionals throughout Cache Valley.

All during her lifetime, she has been involved in many church and community organizations, including the Logan Regional Hospital Board of Trustees, the Intermountain Homecare Board, the Hospice Advisory Board, the Utah Medical Association Alliance (where she served as state president), and the Hebgen Lake Zoning Advisory Committee. Suzie, along with her husband, received a USU Founder’s Day Distinguished Service Award and is a member of the Old Main Society, and The Aggies Unlimited Blue A Society. She appreciates the opportunity to remain associated with Utah State University.

Suzie is married to Michael J. Stones, MD. They have three married daughters and eight grandchildren. She especially enjoys being a grandma and spending time with her family, as well as traveling, working at her home-based jewelry business, and summer-living at the family home in Montana.