As previously announced, Dixie State will confer an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities degree to Commencement speaker Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. DSC will also award an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities to retired business leader Monte Holm. In addition, retired Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith, along with Dixie College Foundation Board members and Fire & Ice Gala organizers Dorothy Orton, Marcia Wade and Megan White, will be recognized as Distinguished Citizens for their exemplary service to the college and community.
In every life there are constants, and for Holm, those constants are faith and family. He spent his early years working on a family farm where times were often difficult. Those experiences instilled in him a strong work ethic and desire to become successful in life. Leaving home and moving to St. George at age 16, he worked various jobs in the construction industry. At 17, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and decided to serve a mission.
After completing his two-year mission in North Carolina, Holm discovered his career path – in the financial services industry – that would allow him to support his faith and his family, while achieving his goal of helping others with their financial and insurance needs. He began his career by building a successful financial services practice in Las Vegas and over the next three decades, his business expanded to include locations and associates throughout North America. As his business grew, so did his family. He and his wife Lisa have six children and six grandchildren.
In the early 1990s, Holm co-founded a financial services organization that would become World Financial Group, a company that helps families implement strategies to achieve financial independence. After successfully leading one of the company’s two sales divisions, he was named president & CEO of US and Canadian operations in 2005 and moved his family to Atlanta, Ga. During his tenure, Monte oversaw the opening of the company’s affiliated investment advisory firm and expansion into China.
Holm transitioned from day-to-day management in mid-2008, desiring a return to St. George. He remains active in his company leadership roles as an executive vice chairman and is a member of the board of directors, a foundation board, and an affiliated reinsurance company board. Holm also serves as a member of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College Foundation Board of Trustees. Most recently he co-authored (along with Hyrum Smith) the Legacy Planner, a guide to help people preserve their legacy for future generations.
Smith’s law enforcement career spanned 33 years from January 1978, when he was sworn in as a member of the Utah Highway Patrol, through this past January when he retired as sheriff. He was elected as Washington County Sheriff in 1998, where he served three terms as the county's highest-ranking law enforcement official and had responsibility for 151 employees and 450 inmates at the Purgatory Correctional Facility. During his tenure as Sheriff, he faced several high profile challenges, including the incarceration and prosecution of Warren Jeffs in 2007, the 2005 Santa Clara River flooding, and the population explosion in Washington County.
Smith enjoys sharing his law enforcement experience in the classroom. He is a Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Certified instructor at Weber State and DSC, where he has taught Emergency Vehicle Operations, Pursuit Driving, and Ethics in Law Enforcement. In addition, he has been involved at Dixie State College in many settings. He is on the advisory committee for the College’s POST program and he helped facilitate the DSC adult education program for inmates at the Purgatory Correctional Facility.
Smith has received many honors and awards including Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, Outstanding Police Officer of the Year, and Outstanding Utah Public Employee. He was awarded the Department of Public Safety Star for Valor, the Golden Beehive Award for recovering the most stolen vehicles in the state, and the Silver Beehive Award three times for recovering the most stolen vehicles in the region. He served on the Governor’s DUI Commission, Washington County Drug Court, and on the boards of the Children’s Justice Center, the Dove Center, and the Erin Kimball Foundation.
Smith and his wife, Joan, have been married 38 years and have five children and nine grandchildren.
Born and raised on the rural farmlands of Enoch, Utah, Orton has carried the mantle of her family’s generosity and modesty into her adult life. Among her many other projects and positions, she has been an instrumental part of the Dixie College Foundation Board since 2000, and was a founding co-chairman of the Fire and Ice Gala which has raised funds for needs-based scholarships since 2005. She says of the thousands of hours she has volunteered in conjunction with the Fire and Ice Gala, her reward is knowing these scholarships benefit more than just the people who receive them but generations of their family to follow.
“Education changes people’s lives,” Orton says. “We can make a difference whoever and wherever we are. I’m constantly amazed by the generosity of this community when it comes to supporting education, and the recipients are so grateful that it is a joy to be part of this amazing event.”
Additionally, Orton has served on the Washington County Fair Board, the Judicial Nominating Committee for the 5th District Court, Huntsman World Senior Games, and more times than she can count on PTA, including orchestrating epic Grad Nights for Dixie and Snow Canyon High Schools. She and her husband Ray are the parents of 5 children and have 19 grandchildren.
Wade was born in Richfield, Utah, as the fourth of five children. Her formative years were spent in Monroe, Utah and Mesa, Ariz., enjoying small town freedoms and strong family traditions. Her parents taught their children the value of hard work and family fun. She received a bachelor’s degree in education from Brigham Young University in 1968. While there she had an experience that made her want to “pay it forward.” She worked while attending college to pay for her education, but having a job was not allowed while student teaching. Wade was going to quit student teaching and go back home to work full time for a semester, but a member of the community came forward and offered to pay for her schooling. His comment to her was, “You can pay me back by doing the same for someone else when you see a need.”
Soon after her graduation she married her sweetheart, Stephen Wade, and the couple lived in the Salt Lake area, where she taught school in Jordan School District for a few years. She then chose to be a stay-at-home mom as the couple’s five children came along. During the children’s school years, she had a chance to be involved in PTA, tutoring programs, and mentoring programs.
Business brought the Wades to St. George in 1993, but the people are the reason they stayed. Both she and Stephen have their hearts in Dixie, and it is the love of the area that opened opportunities for her to serve the community. Among the various boards and committees she has served on includes being chair of the 1995-1996 “Lights for Life” for Dixie Regional Medical Center, the Dove Center Board, the DSC Art Board, and the St. George Art Museum Board, as well as gala chair for the Jubilee of Trees. Wade’s varied interests have given her a chance to reach out. She enjoyed working with the Woodward School Restoration, the American Cancer Society and the St. George Musical Theater. She is proud to serve on the Board of The Wade Family Foundation – employees and family working together with the community to help provide solutions for needs.
Family and faith come first in her life and Wade feels these two elements have created her value system and priorities. She and Stephen have been married for 38 years and are the parents of five children and have 13 grandchildren. She has served on the Dixie College Foundation Board since 1995, and has loved participating in the growth of Dixie State College.
Seven years ago the Dixie College Foundation held their first annual “Fire & Ice” Gala. Through “Fire and Ice,” businesses and individuals in the community work together, providing needs-based scholarships and making dreams a reality for so many. Wade knows from her own experience in college, that one person reaching out does make a difference. This is an opportunity to help, where there is a need. Being a part of “Fire and Ice” is her chance to “pay it forward.”
A native of New Harmony, White has always called southern Utah home. Upon graduating from Cedar High School, she attended the University of Utah before deciding to attend school to become a hairdresser. In 1996, she met her husband Nate and the couple made their home in Kanab for the next nine years, where he worked for Stampin’ Up!, and she owned a salon.
During this time the couple was blessed with four children, and in 2004, the family moved to St. George so her husband could complete his bachelor’s degree at DSC.
Prior to relocating to St. George, she was asked to join the Dixie College Foundation Board. In her early involvement, she presented an idea that the Foundation host a gala fund raising event. This idea had come from attending a similar event with another foundation with which she serves. For the next five years, White served as the chair of the annual Fire & Ice fundraiser; working tirelessly to organize every aspect of the event and ensure its success - although she’ll be the first to admit that the event would not be successful without the hard work of others who are equally as committed.
When the White family moved to northern Utah five years ago, she continued her commitment despite the long distance. Even though she does not live as close as she once did, she cannot imagine not being involved with the Foundation Board and DSC. The work the Board does, in providing needs-based scholarships, is both rewarding and fulfilling. White is deeply touched every time she hears the stories of those who receive the scholarships and feels very grateful for the opportunity to be involved in doing something that makes such a significant difference in their lives.
White is committed to serving others and has devoted countless hours to the community, PTA, and schools where her children attend. She has also served as president and member of the Sterling and Shelli Gardner Family Foundation. Deeply touched by the reports she heard from earthquake-stricken Haiti, she spent a week helping to build an orphanage there last year. She is always looking for ways to reach out to others.
That’s the thing White loves about Dixie - the way the college and community support each other. She paraphrases the local saying, “Once you get a little of that red, Dixie dirt in your shoes you never get rid of it.” No matter where she lives, she will always be a Dixie girl at heart and she feels honored to be a part of the Dixie State College family.
For more DSC Commencement information, please visit www.dixie.edu/commencement.