Raymond E. Beckham
Raymond E. Beckham Sr. was a university administrator and professor. During his career with Brigham Young University, he founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp located near the Sundance Ski Resort in Provo Canyon.
Beckham attended both the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1949 from BYU, and twenty years later he earned his master’s in communications, also from BYU. After he graduated in 1949, BYU offered him a temporary job as director of the adult education department. This temporary job developed into his career. He organized the evening school and travel study department. He was BYU’s first development director and raised funds for BYU for five years and led the construction of the LaVell Edwards football stadium, the Smith Fieldhouse, and the Marriott Center. He was the first person to hold the title of BYU Sports Information director and he co-founded the Cougar Club.
He served as the alumni director for ten years and founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp. According to the Deseret News:
- The alumni camp in the mountains above Provo was slated to be turned back to the John R. Stewart family, as demanded in a legal clause if the school quit using it for educational purposes.
- President Earnest Wilkinson favored giving the property back, but Beckham had another idea.
- Working with Stewart heirs, attorney Justin Stewart and his sister, Ida, in 1963, Ray Beckham founded the Aspen Grove Family Camp after they agreed to sell BYU more land to square off the property.
- "I had a lot of memories of Aspen Grove," Ray Beckham said. "I had been there on a lot of weekends."
- BYU didn't have the funds to develop the family camp, so Beckham went to 100 prominent people and requested $1,000 from each. Thus the camp was built — including structures, power, water and sewage — for an initial $100,000.
Beckham made a career change at BYU after more than twenty years as a university administrator by turning to teaching. He obtained a PhD in communications and taught advertising and public relations for more than twenty years.
He was a trustee and consultant for the Crandall Historical Printing Museum. He was chairman of the Utah County Red Cross for nine years and president of the Utah National Parks Council for three terms. He has received the Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” award twice, the Red Cross Clara Barton award, Provo’s “Key to the City” award, BYU Athletic Hall of Fame, and Utah County’s medal of honor.
Beckham is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He served in the church as a bishop, stake president, and regional representative of the Quorum of the Twelve. He served a Church public affairs mission and also presided over the Canada Calgary Mission from 1973 to 1976.
He married Janette Hales in 1995 while she served as general president of the Young Women. Both of them were widowed and they each had five children. They have served together in many capacities. In 1997 they were named the Reed Smoot Citizens of the Year by Provo city (Utah) and the National Sons of the Utah Pioneers “Modern Pioneer” award. They served on the Church Olympic Committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics. They were the BYU Homecoming parade grand marshals for 2013.