Huntsman Alumni Magazine

Spring 2013

USU to Award Honorary Degrees to Nike President Denson and Bangkok University President Santiwat

Utah State University will honor two Huntsman School alumni with honorary degrees at the 126th commencement on May 4, 2013.

Charlie Denson, ‘78, business administration, president of Nike Brand, will receive an honorary degree and will also serve as the commencement speaker. As president of Nike Brand, Mr. Denson is responsible for leading the strategy of one of the world’s most distinctive companies in sports. He oversees Nike’s major global categories, including action sports, basketball, football (soccer), men’s training, women’s training, running, and sportswear, as well as the Jordan Brand and Nike Golf.

“Charlie serves at the pinnacle of brand and mar- keting, for arguably one of the best known brands in the world,” said Dean Douglas D. Anderson. “He is such an inspiration to our students looking to create similar careers of their own.”

Mr. Denson began his career with Nike in 1979, starting as an assistant retail manager at Nike’s first retail store in Portland, Oregon, where he learned the business from the ground up and the impor- tance of creating and maintaining a strong connec- tion with consumers. After more than three decades, he has developed a deep expertise in the athletic consumer products industry and has been instru- mental in leading Nike to become one of the world’s biggest brands.

He also has been engaged with his alma mater, helping students interested in marketing careers as well as leading a 15-month rebranding campaign that resulted in USU’s unveiling of its new athletic logo in the spring of 2012.

USU will also honor Dr. Mathana Santiwat, ‘73, accounting, with an honorary degree. Dr. Santiwat will address graduates during the Huntsman School convocation following the university’s commencement activities. Since her graduation from USU, Dr. Santiwat has worked in a variety of positions at Bangkok University, starting as a junior lecturer in accounting and moving on to dean of the school of accounting, and then vice president of academic affairs, a position she held for 19 years. Since 2007, she has served as the president of Bangkok University. Besides her active work with the university, President Santiwat is also engaged in several Thai government-related committees, including her position as a National Quality Assessor for Thai Higher Education Institutions and as the president of the Association of Private Higher Education Institutions of Thailand. She is a longtime supporter of the rights of Thai women and is a member of the executive board of the Thai Women Watch. President Santiwat is a loyal Aggie who remembers her time studying accounting at USU under Larzette Hale and living in Merrill Hall. She served as the president of the alumni chapter in Thailand for several years and gets together at least once a year with the more than 200 Aggies in Thailand.

“I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Mathana two years ago in Bangkok when she hosted a dinner for Aggie alumni,” Dean Anderson said. “ She remains a loyal Aggie despite the thousands of miles between us, and I am honored that she will provide the convocation at our graduation.”