Huntsman Post

Microsoft unveils office 2010 Beta with video featuring Huntsman student

When Microsoft unveiled Office 2010 beta earlier this year, one student from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business played a key role in the company’s efforts to promote the benefits of the new product worldwide.

Josh Denberg, left, the director of a company called The Division of Labor, works with Sterling Morris during the filming of the video.

Photo by Steve Eaton

And while Sterling Morris, a Huntsman Scholar, was willing to let Microsoft share his story, he made sure that story included the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. In addition to stories the local press did on him, a press release about Mr. Morris' role in the video and the Huntsman School of Business was picked up by more than 200 publications nationwide, including Forbes.com, Reuters and Yahoo!

In spring 2009, more than 30,000 individuals applied to beta-test Office 2010. From those 30,000, 30 were invited to join the beta-test program. Mr. Morris, a senior with a dual major in international business and economics at Utah State University, was one of them. In fact, his video was featured at a major event, the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, held in early January 2010.

The Utah State University student was sent a laptop running Office 2010 beta in July 2009, and he utilized the new applications heavily during his on-campus classes and while traveling abroad as a Huntsman Scholar. In fact, when Microsoft caught up with Mr. Morris to interview him about his experience, he was in South America. In Peru he worked with other Huntsman Scholar volunteers who staffed several eye-glass clinics for those in need. The clinics were sponsored by The Hope Alliance, a non-profit organization based in Salt Lake City, and were set up by Logan residents Richard and JoAn Criddle.

Mr. Morris’ experience was part of the reason that he was selected to be featured in a video profiling how Office 2010 beta impacts his life, according to Rachel Russell, Office 2010 consumer launch lead.

“Sterling was picked because his story was really multifaceted and compelling,” Ms. Russell said. “We were looking for college students as well as small businesses and families, and Sterling was unique in terms of his international travel and his philanthropic work. We felt he could stretch the boundaries of Office 2010 beta and share his experiences using the product in a variety of scenarios.”

Mr. Morris was quick to point out in his interviews that his work as a Huntsman Scholar has given him ample opportunities to test out the new software.

“It was easy to give them honest feedback on their software, because I had used it extensively,” he said. “I think the many opportunities I’ve had through the Huntsman School of Business made my story more intriguing to Microsoft.”

Huntsman Scholars participate in an intense academic program that emphasizes the importance of ethical leadership and innovative thinking, according to Dean Douglas Anderson. As the students travel around the world, they apply the analytical skills they’ve gained in the classroom, and many of them work with the Huntsman School’s Small Enterprise Education and Development (SEED) program that helps third-world entrepreneurs start their own businesses, he said.

“Sterling truly exemplifies what it means to be a Huntsman Scholar,” Dean Anderson said. “The Huntsman Scholars travel the world meeting directly with government, business and academic leaders as they develop the leadership skills they’ll need to be successful in a competitive global marketplace. The service work they do in Peru and around the world has changed lives. It’s rewarding to see a global firm like Microsoft recognize one of our students and the unique experience he has gained.”

Microsoft Office 2010 includes such applications as Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. The video is available on the Huntsman Web site.

A beta version of the new software is now available for a free download here.