Harold Shirley recognized with Public Service Award

 By Tanisa Crosby

Orchestra of Southern Utah


Harold Shirley is being awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Public Service Award for 2017 on Nov. 16 in Salt Lake City. Only one award is given per year and this is a high honor.


As the award reads, “Civic Engagement is defined as promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. The Lieutenant Governor’s Public Service Award honors an individual who has improved his or her community through BOTH political and non-political processes. Minimum qualifications are 5 years of continuous or near continuous service.”


During his time in Cedar City, Shirley worked in the Iron County School District as an English teacher at Cedar High School.  He served as a City Council member and served as Mayor of Cedar City for 12 years.


Shirley is a current member of the Master Singers, where he has also been the assistant conductor for over 15 years, and serves as the Orchestra of Southern Utah’s President of the Board.  He was instrumental in the building of the Heritage Center when he was serving as Mayor of Cedar City, which has since become a hub for the arts.  He has shown great acts for service in teaching and in the community, always willing to serve those around him.  He also raised a family, consisting of nine children, on a teacher’s salary.  He has done small and large acts service to promote the arts and helping touch the young minds of children, exposing them to great literature and art.


“Harold Shirley was supportive of initiating a RAP tax (Recreation, Arts, and Parks) that has enabled many local arts groups to flourish and raise standards of performance and engaged participation,” said Sara Penny, a member of the Orchestra of Southern Utah and the Cedar City Arts Council Board. “The Orchestra of Southern Utah, Utah Shakespeare Festival, local choirs, dance and theater groups are in a more stable position because of this crucial funding. Community involvement in the arts continues to grow and has become an important economic driver thanks to inspired leadership from Harold Shirley and others who share his vision.”


  1. Scott Phillip wrote that Harold is a “renaissance man in the truest sense of the word.  He seeks knowledge whenever and wherever he can, so in turn he can transform that knowledge into giving back.  He is extremely well rounded and offers enlightenment to anyone who seeks it.  Harold is not afraid to be who he is, and comfortable in his own skin.”  Phillip went on to say that Harold has helped to support scouting and many other activities that have benefited the children in Cedar City and has also served on the Utah Board of Water Resources representing southwest Utah for 15 years. “He attends multiple functions each year,” said Phillip, “to support children, cultural organizations, building projects, beautification, cemetery restoration, and historic preservation …Harold is a doer and does not rely on others to carry out his dreams.”


Since his move to Cedar from Texas 50 years ago, Harold, his wife, Diane, and his entire family have truly embraced Cedar City and the State of Utah as their own. The members and board of the Orchestra of Southern Utah would like to congratulate Harold Shirley on this great honor.  He has served the community and helped to sponsor the arts in Cedar City.  His service for OSU has helped the Orchestra to be a semi-professional group and he has helped the group to receive national recognition. We applaud him for his dedicated service and wish him the best in his future endeavors. Thank you, Harold Shirley, for your continued service and support of the arts and the community and for touching the lives around you in such a positive way.


For more information on the Utah Philanthropy Day awards luncheon, contact osucedarcity@gmail.com or 435-233-8213. For more information on the sponsoring state organization: https://www.utahphilanthropyday.org/news.


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