Thursday, September 17, 2009

Governors: Michael Okerlund Leavitt

Michael Okerlund Leavitt was born in Cedar City, Utah in 1951. He graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in business and economics. Leavitt joined the Leavitt Group, a regional insurance organization founded by his father, and later became president and chief executive officer of the company. Leavitt also served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents.

Leavitt won the 1992 election for governor with running mate Olene Walker, who became the first woman to serve as Utah’s Lieutenant Governor. During Leavitt’s administration, independent public policy analysts ranked Utah among the best-managed states in the nation. Also during Leavitt’s administration, the state experienced its longest sustained economic expansion in its history. Governor Leavitt made education a priority during his three terms in office and saw education become the highest funding priority of the state government during his 11-year tenure.

In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Governor Leavitt to the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Leavitt accepted the position and resigned as governor in November 2003. In January 2005, Leavitt was nominated and confirmed as the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services.


William “Bill” Ferrin Whitaker, Jr. (1943– ), son of painter William Whitaker, Sr., grew up surrounded by art. He earned his degree from the University of Utah and later taught at Brigham Young University. Whitaker studied under the famous Utah artist Alvin Gittins and is known for his beautiful portraits of Mormon church officials and other prominent people. He also painted Governor Walker’s portrait.

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