On March 4, 2009, the Center and the family of Wayne C. Durham hosted a recognition dinner in honor of Professor W. Cole Durham, Jr.’s receiving the International First Freedom Award from the First Freedom Center in Richmond, Virginia. Professor Durham joins former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President of the Czech Republic Václav Havel, and then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in receiving this prestigious award. “This event was intended to thank all of those who have contributed so significantly to the success of the Center. It is altogether fitting that in addition to honoring W. Cole Durham, Jr. for his tireless efforts on behalf of international religious freedom, others should also be recognized for their significant contributions, including Cole’s ever-supportive wife, Louise, the faculty and administration at BYU, and the International Advisory Council which has generously supported the efforts of the Center and the Center staff,” said Robert Smith, Managing Director of the Center. Professor Durham thanked his colleagues, his friends, and those who have supported both him and the mission of the Center over the years, stating “I am extremely honored and humbled to be recognized in this extraordinary manner. I wish to express my deepest gratitude for the great privilege it is to work with wonderful people on behalf of so great a cause, the cause of religious freedom. This has been the work of a lifetime, and I look forward to continuing this effort.”
The recognition dinner was attended by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Elder Wayne C. Hancock, Emeritus Member of the First Quorum of Seventy and his wife Connie; and many Brigham Young University dignitaries including John S. Tanner, Academic Vice President; Sandra Rogers, International Vice President; and Kevin Worthen, Advancement Vice President. Also in attendance were J. Reuben Clark Law School leaders including James D. Gordon, III, Interim Dean; Scott Cameron, Associate Dean; Mary S. Hoagland, Assistant Dean; Professor Reese Hansen; and Professor Stephen Wood. Business leaders in attendance included Joe Cannon, Editor of the Deseret News, and Ellis Ivory, Chairman of the Deseret News Publishing Company Board of Directors. The Center was represented by numerous members of the International Advisory Council: Gary and Lynn Anderson, William F. and Laura Atkin, Angus and Jenny Belliston, David and Mary Christensen, David and Julie Colton, John P. (Phil) and Barbara Colton, Mark and Janette Cressler, Kevin Duncan, Richard and Christena Durham, Allan and Carla Erb, Scott and Eva Isaacson, Duane L. and Erlyn G. Madsen, Arie Noot, Jr., Hans and Margriet Noot, Kelly and Tamra Reeves, and Bryce Wade. Those in attendance from the Center staff included Robert T. Smith, Managing Director; Elizabeth A. Sewell, Associate Director; Brett G. Scharffs, Associate Director; David M. Kirkham, Senior Fellow for Comparative Law and International Policy; Scott E. Isaacson, Executive Director for Latin America; Deborah W. Wright, Administrative Assistant; Suzanne Disparte, Casebook Manager; Shallie Ehlers, Secretary; April Peterson, Secretary; Joel Tay, Accountant. Recognized, although not in attendance, were Holly Rasmussen, Website Managing Editor, and Christine G. Scott, Director of Publications. Speakers at the dinner included Kevin Worthen, Jim Gordon, Duane and Evelyn Madsen, Richard Durham, W. Cole Durham, Jr., and Bill Atkin.