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Deanna Forbush

Westminster Alumna and Trustee to be Honored for Creating Scholarship for Single Moms

On October 30 Deanna Forbush (’87), a prominent attorney and college trustee, will be honored at the annual Scholarship Recognition Luncheon for her commitment to funding scholarships for single mothers enrolled at Westminster.

A descendent of one of Salt Lake City’s founding families, Deanna grew up with a pioneering spirit, but lacked direction and was not encouraged to excel in school. She dropped out of high school, got married, and within a year, had a child. The marriage ended quickly, and Deanna faced a tough reality: she was a single mom, with no high school diploma, and in need of a job.

She found work as a file clerk and loan officer at a Salt Lake City credit union. But she wanted more for her and especially her daughter, Brenda. She moved on to be collections manager for a local music company, learning on the job the small claims court system and developed a passion for law.

Deanna met a young lawyer, Joe Huggins, who encouraged her to pursue a paralegal certificate, so she jumped into the paralegal program at Westminster and earned her certificate in 1982. “I exceled in paralegal school,” she said. “It was the first scholastic experience I ever had. I thought that would be the end of it; I really achieved something.”

By this time, Joe Huggins had his own practice with Deanna working as his paralegal. He said to her, “It’s a sin that you do all the work, but can’t go to court. Do you think you’ll ever go to law school?’”

The thought of Huggins’ idea seemed impossible. Deanna needed a bachelor’s degree to attend law school, but she didn’t have a high school diploma! She contacted a counselor at Westminster who arranged for her to take the GED.

Deanna scored very well and was admitted into the college’s English program. She graduated in 1987, and four years later earned her law degree from the University of Utah.

Deanna is adamant she could not have succeeded without scholarship support. “Having the desire to do something is one thing, but if you can’t afford it, you won’t be able to achieve your goals,” she said.

As an expression of thanks, Deanna established the Deanna Forbush Endowed Scholarship in 2007 to support single mothers, especially those who want to pursue graduate school.

“You can find a way when you have to,” says Forbush, speaking from experience. “I want to reward the women who find their own way. Achievement should be rewarded.”