Nominated by the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Betsy Bolding and Jon Huntsman will receive honorary degrees from the UA at this spring’s ceremony.
A native Arizonan, Betsy Bolding is a well-known leader in southern Arizona. She is best known for her advocacy work and efforts in helping to improve the lives of individuals across the state.
As the consumer affairs manager for Tucson Electric Power/UNS Energy for the past 25 years, Bolding has leveraged her professional and liberal arts knowledge and experience to create engaging and effective programs and services, often in support of K-12 education and low-income communities. Bolding retired from her position in March.
Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a master's degree in English from the UA, Bolding taught high school journalism and English for 15 years. In the evening, while still teaching, she hosted a weekly television interview program, "Women's Place/Every Place," on an independent channel.
Bolding's TV stint led her to live news interviews, enabling her to become familiar with key elected officials and political figures and honing her interest in politics and public service. In 1978, after successfully co-chairing Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt's campaign in southern Arizona, she served as director of his Tucson office during his eight-year tenure.
Having made a successful impact in the educational and political spheres, Bolding turned her attention to the corporate arena.
At Tucson Electric Power/UNS Energy, Bolding continued her service to the public. During her time with the company, she was involved on the Tucson Mayor's Commission on Poverty and the board of the Arizona Community Action Association and its Home Energy Assistance Fund advisory board, a statewide effort to provide energy assistance to low-income families.
Bolding has contributed to numerous efforts at the UA to create and expand opportunities and recognition for UA-affiliated women throughout Arizona.
Serving on the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences board, Bolding has helped the college meet its goals in the areas of student engagement, community partnering and innovation. She is past president of the UA's Department of Gender and Women Studies advisory committee board and continues as secretary of the board. She is also involved with the creation of the Women's Plaza of Honor, a permanent structure at the University honoring significant contributions women have made in Arizona.
Beyond the UA, Bolding was a longtime trustee of Prescott College and is past president of the Arizona Theatre Company, the Community Food Bank and the Loft Cinema, of which she also is a founder.
Bolding's awards include the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Outstanding Community Service Award in 2011, the YWCA Iris Dewhirst Community Service Award in 2008 and Tucson's Woman of the Year Award in 2003.
Jon Huntsman Jr., who is also the UA commencement feature speaker, is the former governor of Utah, a onetime presidential candidate, and a national leader for No Labels, an organization that works across party lines to tackle large challenges.
Huntsman is a statesman who has worked at the highest levels for both Republican and Democratic presidents and currently heads a group working to end government gridlock in partnership with a broad spectrum of legislative leaders. Huntsman has been the ambassador to China for President Barack Obama; U.S. trade ambassador for President George W. Bush; and ambassador to Singapore under President George H.W. Bush. Best known as a popular two-term governor for Utah from 2005-2009 and as a 2011 Republican presidential candidate, Huntsman became a national leader in 2013 for the No Labels organization, which works across partisan lines to focus on fixing America’s most pressing problems.
No Labels bills itself as a problem-solving organization that helps people look beyond all-or-nothing political agendas to focus on solutions to large issues. It works by enlisting and encouraging legislative leaders and others to find common ground to help create 10 million new jobs, make America deficit-free and energy-secure, and put Social Security and Medicare on firm financial footing.