Friends and coworkers pay tribute to Gary Kiger, former USU dean

It’s a time of change at Utah State University. Freshman have entered campus, a new school year has started and fresh ideas are being taught. What was once the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (HASS) was split into two colleges: the Caine College of the Arts and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. But perhaps what might be the most emotional change was a simple change of name. The HASS Hour was renamed the Kiger Hour in honor of former Dean of HASS Gary kiger who died of brain cancer in 2008. Both the split of HASS and the christening of Kiger Hour were celebrated Thursday evening at the first Kiger Hour, taking place at Hamilton’s Steak and Seafood. HASS Hour was started by Kiger and his assistant dean at the time, Christine Hult. They wanted to bring together not only members of the campus community, but also involve the local community in a social atmosphere. Kiger had gone to a similar event at the University of Utah, Hult said, and was inspired. Instead of long speeches, however, Kiger and Hult decided the messages given should be short. The speeches became known as TimePieces. Every HASS Hour involved food, socializing and a short lecture from someone from the university. Kiger joined the USU faculty in 1983, staying for 25 years, and died on August 11, 2008, after a six-month battle with brain cancer. Hult said he had a contagious smile and more energy than 10 other people combined. “Case and point, it takes two deans to replace him,” Hult said with a smile toward the two new deans of the reorganized HASS colleges. Kiger’s impacted students, faculty, staff and far beyond Utah State University, Hult said. Taking it upon himself to get to know everyone, he was constantly asking about his staff’s families and celebrating their successes. He believed in living balanced between work an home. Startiing this year, each time piece presenter will receive a small Kiger clock as a thank you. “The memory of this great man now burns in our hearts,” said Craig Jessop, dean of the Caine College of the Arts.

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