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The City Journals

David Eccles School of Business Dean and Associate Dean Receive Alumni Award from Olympus High

Mar 09, 2016 12:26PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Cottonwood - Holladay - During halftime of Olympus High’s home basketball game on Jan. 29 against Skyline High School, the Olympus Foundation honored two alumni who have gone on to distinguished academic careers. Taylor Randall and Natalie Gochnour both received the Distinguished Alumni Award. Randall and Gochnour are the dean and associate dean, respectively, of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah. 

“We thought it was pretty great that two of our alumni were deans of the business school,” Betsy VanDenBerghe, a member of the Olympus Foundation, said.

According to VanDenBerghe, winners are chosen by the Olympus Foundation, a philanthropic organization that funds academic, sports, arts and other areas of Olympus High School in which students and teachers need extra funding at times. The winners receive a plaque to go on the wall of the high school and are recognized at a high school event, in this case a basketball game, with a reception preceding it for friends and family members.  

Past winners include Nadine “Deannie” Wimmer, co-anchor for KSL News, Jack Ashton, professional violinist and founder of the Young Artist Chamber Players and Sandra Merrell Covey, author and wife of the late Steven R. Covey. 

Randall has been dean of the David Eccles School of Business since 2010. In 2009, he received the Executive MBA Teaching Award. In 2007, he received the MBA Teaching Award. As a current professor in the accounting department, Randall’s research focuses on issues at interface of accounting and operations management, strategic cost management, supply chain management and product variety management. He has authored and co-authored several academic papers through the course of his research. 

“I had a great experience at Olympus High School. I made many lifelong friends and have always been grateful for the care and excellence demonstrated by our administrators and teachers,” Randall said. “I’m a proud Olympus Titan and especially honored to receive the school’s distinguished alumni award. It really means a lot.”

Gochnour has been the associate dean since 2013. From 2006 to 2013, she was the executive vice president and chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber. She’s acted as an advisor to Utah governors Bangerter, Leavitt and Walker, and served as the media spokesperson for the governor’s office during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. She also worked as a political appointee in the George W. Bush administration, serving as an associate administrator at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a deputy to the secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Aside from being associate dean, she also writes regular columns in both Utah Business magazine and the Deseret News.  

“I’m proud to be an Olympus alumna,” Gochnour said. “Togas, yearbooks, friends, state high school football playoffs, and powder puff football all bring back happy memories.”

Gochnour expressed gratitude toward her time at Olympus, citing instances where it influenced her current life.

“Looking back, I recognize many seeds were planted during my high school years. I took an interest in writing — contributing several poems to the literary journal Pegasus. Today I write for the Deseret News. Two of my favorite classes were marketing and college algebra. Now I serve as a state economist and as an associate dean at the state’s premier business school,” Gochnour said. “While I was never involved in student government, I respected my many friends who did. Their willingness to put their name on a ballot impressed me. Now I work closely with many elected officials who do the same.”