Michael Okerlund Leavitt (1951–)was born in Cedar City, Utah. He graduated from Southern Utah University with a degree in business and economics. Leavitt worked for the regional insurance organization founded by his father, the Leavitt Group, rising up the ranks to become president and CEO. Leavitt also served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents.
Leavitt won the 1992 election for governor. His running mate, Olene Walker, became the first woman to serve as Utah’s lieutenant governor. During Leavitt’s administration, the state experienced its longest sustained economic expansion in its history. The 1995 Governor’s Growth Summit set the stage for statewide initiatives in improving transportation, preserving open spaces, and addressing quality of life issues. Governor Leavitt made education a priority during his three terms in office, reducing class sizes while increasing funding. During his tenure, Utah also received international recognition as host to the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.
In 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Governor Leavitt as the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Leavitt accepted the position and resigned as governor in November 2003. During President Bush’s second term, Leavitt served as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
William “Bill” Ferrin Whitaker, Jr. (1943–2018), 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 renowned Utah artist Alvin Gittins and is known for his beautiful portraits of Latter-day Saints church officials and other prominent people. He also painted Governor Walker’s portrait.