Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have long considered their prophet to be a spiritual giant.
But President Gordon B. Hinckley has now been recognized as a towering figure by secular business leaders in Utah's capital city. The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday it will honor him with its "Giant In Our City" award for his wide-ranging contributions to business, cultural and civic life.
In a press release announcing the award, the chamber noted President Hinckley is "leader of one of the nation's largest churches" and has had a "direct impact on the economic and cultural health of downtown Salt Lake City.
"He was behind the construction of the 21,000-seat Conference Center, the renovation of Hotel Utah into the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, the creation of the Brigham Young Historical Park, the Main Street Church Plaza, the Eagle Gate Towers office building, the Medals Plaza used during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, and the purchase and revitalization of Crossroads Plaza shopping mall."
Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie said President Hinckley "has an incredible ability to bring people together in our community. His love of Salt Lake City and Utah is unbounded. His positive attitude about what is possible is infectious. His call for tolerance and understanding is not just good advice; it's good business practice.
"People may disagree with him, but he is never disagreeable. He exemplifies leadership without guile."
An awards dinner, including a video tribute, will be held in President Hinckley's honor on Wednesday, Oct. 29, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. at The Grand America Hotel, 555 S. Main. Cost is $120 per person and $1,200 for a table of 10. Reservations should be made by Oct. 21 at www.saltlakechamber.org, via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 328-5077. Those interested are advised to reserve early because seating is limited. Companies interested in sponsoring this event should contact the Salt Lake Chamber at 328-5055.
Established by the Salt Lake Chamber's Board of Governors in 1969, the Giant In Our City award was created "to honor lives of exceptional and distinguished public service and extraordinary professional achievement" and is considered Salt Lake's most prestigious award. It is given periodically upon unanimous vote of the Chamber's Board of Governors.
Past winners include Clarence Bamberger, N. Eldon Tanner, John W. Gallivan, George S. Eccles, Wendell J. Ashton, Arch L. Madsen, Gov. Calvin R. Rampton, Spencer Eccles and W. Mitt Romney.