Alumna, M.S. Special Education
Carmen Boyden Pingree received her bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Utah, in History and Special Education/Political Science respectively. Her master's degree thesis was the Identification of Previously-Unidentified Individuals with Autism in Utah. She was a consultant in Autism Genetic Studies for UCLA, Stanford University, Utah State University, and the University of Utah Autism Research Program. She has numerous national publications on the topic of autism.
Carmen is the parent of a child with autism, and in the late 1970's spearheaded a movement to get funding for a pre-school for children with autism in Utah. The program, which opened in 1980, is administered through Valley Mental Health and provides many services for the families as well as the children. In November of 2002, a beautiful new building for the program opened near campus and was named the Carmen B. Pingree Center for Children with Autism. The center has classes for children with autism – preschool through elementary school – and includes 175 children with autism plus typical students in its accredited preschool classrooms that provide on-site opportunities for generalization. The focus is on teaching children with autism the skills needed to participate successfully in the public schools, and assisting family members in gaining the skills and information needed to support that process.
Carmen has served on the boards of several University of Utah organizations, including KUED TV, Red Butte Gardens, the Alumni Board, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, and the College of Education. She has also served on the Intermountain Heathcare Board of Trustees and as Chair of the Primary Children's Medical Center Board of Trustees. In 2004, Carmen was the recipient of the University's highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Alumnus/a Award. At graduation in 2007, she was presented with an Honorary Doctorate in Education.