Dee Livingood is a well-known builder, but he hasn't limited his work to construction projects. He's also a builder of people and the community.

The Ogden contractor, the founder of Big-D Construction Corp. and a civic leader, and his wife, Lorraine, were honored at a dinner recently at Weber State University, where an endowed professorship has been established in their name.The endowed professorship recognizes the couple's commitment to "hard work, integrity and excellence" and is aimed at strengthening WSU faculty development.

More than $162,000 for the professorship has been collected or pledged in about five weeks by the Livingood's close friends, business and other associates.

And the funds are still coming in. Contributions that exceed a $150,000 goal will be used for student scholarships in the couple's name, said Robb Alexander, WSU Development Services director.

The idea to honor Livingood, who has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and his wife was suggested by Nick Vidalakis, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Hermes As-sociates/The Family Centers.

Others heavily involved in the effort include Homer Cutrubus, Ogden automobile dealer; Mel Kemp of Boman and Kemp Steel; and Jack Livingood, president of Big-D Construction and son of the couple; and Alexander.

Dee Livingood and his wife are both former WSU students and have supported the university, the state and community in many ways, said Weber State University President Paul H. Thompson, master of ceremonies at the dinner.

He said the endowment will benefit WSU and its students in numerous ways.

At the banquet, President Thomas S. Monson, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a close friend of Livingood, paid tribute to the couple, saying they are examples of the biblical admonition to "be doers of the word and not hearers only . . . "

President Monson said, "If there was ever a man that taught by example, it is our friend, Dee." He called attention to the contractor's strength, compassion, knowledge and fairness in business and other contacts.

"They (the couple) are truly great people. They love God, and they love their fellowmen. . .," President Monson told the audience of about 130 business, community and education leaders.

The general authority said the prayers of those gathered at the dinner and many others are with Livingood, and he stressed the importance of being optimistic and maintaining faith in God.

Vidalakis praised the strong support he and others had in raising funds for the endowment.

"What a marvelous partnership (there has been) between the free enterprise, private sector and the public educational sector," Vidalakis said in paying tribute to those who he said have shown admiration and love for the Livingoods.

"It is both a joy and a humbling experience to look back on this great event. (It's been) a brotherly and sisterly love and diversity of many individuals throughout our great state. (They) represent many industries and companies and people of diversity merging together. . .," Vidalakis said.

Jack Livingood paid tribute to his father's work ethic and philosophy.

"One thing has remained the same through the years - the values with which Dad founded Big-D Construction - values of honesty, integrity, hard work and more," Jack Livingood said.

He stressed that his father's "word is his bond," saying there is no difference between what he says and what he does. He said the atmosphere created by his father is the "engine of Big-D Construction. It captures the human spirit and makes us all want to work hard."