Honors College Alumnus of the Year: Nick T. Spark

University Relations - Communications and the Alumni Association
Nov. 3, 2014

Leading up to the UA's 100th Homecoming, we are highlighting UA alumni who are being honored by their colleges with alumni of the year awards.

Nick T. Spark enrolled at the UA as a Flinn Scholar.

In 1990, while pursuing a creative writing degree as an Honors College student, he received an undergraduate research grant and made a documentary short film about Tucson folk artist William Holzman, "Just Puttering Around." The film won a student Emmy Award in 1992. Since then, Spark has received two more Emmys.

While working on a master's degree in film production at the University of Southern California, he was recognized for "Upholding the Promise." Also, his film "The Legend of Pancho Barnes and the Happy Bottom Riding Club," the profile of a 1920s Pasadena society girl who became an adventurer and aviator, won an Emmy in 2009. The film continues to air on public television.

Spark's current project "Right Footed" profiles UA alumna Jessica Cox, who was born without arms. Cox learned to type, drive a car and fly an airplane — all with her feet.

"When I think of the UA, I think of the people who made a difference in my life, and that I never really got to thank them," Spark said. "My friends were always willing to explore the unknown, taking 20 or more units a semester, hefting heavy backpacks. Those academic all-stars challenged me to work harder, sleep less and lift with my legs."

Adding to his portfolio, Spark was a contributing editor to Wings and Airpower magazines, and he has had articles published in the Annals of Improbable Research, Naval History and the Journal of the American Aviation Historical Society. He has appeared on National Public Radio and the PBS program "History Detectives." Recently, he adapted his article "Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong" into a short book, "A History of Murphy's Law."

After the UA, Spark earned an M.F.A. in film production from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. 

Spark has been named the Honors College's Alumnus of the Year.

Other UA alumni being honored are:


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