Stan Clawson spent the majority of his Hillcrest days immersing himself in every form of art, including drama and video production. He participated in several high school plays and musicals, with roles that included operatic fathers, police officers and conservative lawyers. In addition to theater, Stan was a cartoonist for the school newspaper and also produced several short films for HTV, the school television program. During his senior year, Stan served as the student body president and enjoyed working with his fellow officers to create a community and culture of school spirit.
Following high school, Stan was paralyzed in a rock climbing accident, an event that would forever change his life and set in motion his passion for promoting disability awareness and inclusion.
After graduating from the University of Utah with a degree in broadcasting, Stan helped form a small video production company and began making small commercials for local companies. He also worked for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee During the 2002 Winter Olympics and Paralympics as an ADA and disability support specialist. This eventually led to a job in public relations for the National Ability Center, an organization that specializes in recreation for individuals with disabilities.
In 2004, Stan began working as the supervisor for Campus Video Services at the University of Utah. During this time, Stan directed and edited the short film “Continue” for the Paralyzed Veterans of America. This short film showcases recreation and sports for individuals, like Stan, who have spinal cord injuries. The film is now incorporated into the rehab program of all major hospitals throughout the United States.
During is time at the University of Utah, Stan also began teaching video production as an adjunct instructor. He continues to teach beginning filmmaking at Salt Lake Community College and is passionate about sharing his love and knowledge of film to new and emerging filmmakers.
Since 2012, Stan has worked as a local independent filmmaker. He continues to produce, direct, shoot and edit documentary and marketing content for clients that include the University of Utah, Utah Arts Alliance and Burning Man.
Stan has served on the boards for many disability related programs, such as TRAILS Adaptive and the Christopher Reeve Foundation’s Utah Chapter. He also continues to volunteer as a peer mentor for the patients with spinal cord injuries; as well as an access specialist for organizations looking to improve their ADA accessibility.
Stan believes that disability awareness is something that elevates the quality of life for all communities. From architecture and art, to careers and education, individuals with disabilities have the potential to create a landscape that champions innovation and inclusion. Stan continues to dedicate is life to challenging the stereotypes that are often associated with disability, by being an example and demonstrating that a life changing disability can be an extraordinary opportunity for growth and success.
I am humbled and full of gratitude for this incredible honor. Looking back on my time as a Husky, I am reminded of how pivotal the high school experience was to my life. High School was a time of great personal growth. It was there that I learned how much I enjoy all different types of individuals. From my fellow thespians to the goths and the jocks. I always felt a kinship with everyone and never felt like I identified with just one group or ideology. This idea of acceptance and openness is a major part of who I am and I continue to incorporate it into all of my relationships.
High School also furthered my passion for the arts. And I’m forever grateful to all of my instructors and mentors who championed my artistic endeavors.
My advice to all students is simple: Dig in and take full advantage of your high school years. The love, the loss, the extracurricular activities, the classes you love… the classes you hate. Use your time to discover and pursue your interests. Whether from a textbook or your own personal experiences, life is about continually learning and growing; and high school is the bedrock of what will become a life full of never-ending discovery.
Again, thank you to the Hillcrest High Alumni Association for this award. I am truly grateful for this honor.