Nicholas Gibbs, BS’82, Mathematics, grew up close to the U. His family’s home was just two blocks north of campus, and summer days were spent riding bicycles between classroom buildings and construction sites that would later be University landmarks.
“The Natural History Museum was on the [Presidents] Circle in those days and I loved going there,” recalls Gibbs. “My friends and I would ride our bikes to the museum and then head over to the ‘big hole in the ground.’ That big construction crater later became the Huntsman Center for basketball.”
In addition, Nick’s father, Peter Gibbs, was a popular and rigorous physics professor at the U from 1957 to 1993.
“As you can imagine, education was a high priority in our family, particularly physics and more generally, science,” says Gibbs. “My dad was an early riser and that was my time to be alone with him and get help with homework or just talk. He taught me how to think. How to set up and solve problems and he insisted on me being able to explain a solution rather than simply write it out.”
In addition to physics and general education classes, Nicholas continued taking math courses. “I had a string of excellent math professors: Gustafson, Mason, Rossi, Brooks and Coles. Brooks really sealed the deal for me and Gustafson inspired me greatly,” says Gibbs.
In his sophomore year, Gibbs declared a math major and never looked back. “I was a student who worked hard to get my degree. It didn't come easily. I relied on lessons I learned in athletics to stick with it,” says Gibbs.
Nicholas had attended East High School and was a three-time Utah springboard diving champion and a High School All-American. He had several athletic scholarship offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Tennessee, BYU and Utah.
He accepted the Utah scholarship and was a student athlete from 1977 to 1980. It required a minimum four hour per day commitment for morning and evening workouts. It also included travel and competition in swim meets during fall and winter quarter.
In 1979, Nicholas met his wife, Courtney, on campus. “We met at the Tim Weisberg concert on the lawn below OSH in the spring of our sophomore year. Been together ever since,” says Gibbs.
Courtney completed a degree in Nursing in 1982. Their two sons, Colin and Connor, are both U alumni as well.
The family remains close to the U.
“The University encourages diversity of thought, culture, race, and arts. It brings awareness and accolades to Utah but more importantly it is a knowledge engine, provoking thought and dialogue in our community,” says Gibbs.
Today, Nicholas is the Vice President and General Manager of the Simulation and Training Solutions (STS) business of Rockwell Collins, Inc.
The STS division designs, builds, services and sells human-in-the-loop interactive simulation and training systems and products for use in commercial airlines and military simulation and training applications. This includes training solutions ranging from full flight simulators to dismounted infantry training and support products such as image generators, synthetic environments or virtual worlds, projectors, display solutions as well as advanced optics used for space exploration.