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UVU celebrates 80 years of training and educating

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 28, 2021
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UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez leads students in the traditional Wolverine March on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.
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Students, faculty and staff join President Astrid S. Tuminez as they enjoy some anniversary cake Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.
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UVU's popular Green Men Group invites children of participating families to have some homecoming fun Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021.

In 1941, prior to the U.S. entering World War II, a new opportunity opened up for college-age students seeking vocational opportunities in Utah County. It was known then as the Central Utah Vocational School.

In 1945, the State of Utah through Senate Bill 77 took ownership of the school. For those long-time residents, it was the birth of “Trade Tech” with Wilson Sorenson at the helm.

Starting as a small vocational school with around 1,000 students in 1941 with the goal of providing war training, the school has grown through the ranks, undergone eight name iterations, become a permanent state institution, community college and now university of more than 40,000 students.

On Saturday, during homecoming festivities, Utah Valley University started a year of celebrating the 80s. Eighty years of growth, name changes and transformation from a school with a few classes at the county fairgrounds to the fastest-growing university in the state.

The anniversary celebration at the university’s homecoming events brought together students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members for the UVU milestone.

After the Sorensen dynasty came to a close in 1982, and the campus had moved from Provo to Orem, other presidents followed, including J. Marvin Higbee, Kerry D. Romesburg, William D. Sederburg, Matthew S. Holland and current President Astrid S. Tuminez, the first female in the position. However, it should be remembered that Vice President Lucille Stoddard twice took the reins as interim president.

“At UVU, we believe in human potential. Every student deserves the benefits of an affordable, flexible, high-quality education,” said Tuminez, the seventh president of the institution. “We are young at 80! We celebrate the positive impact that UVU has had on the lives of students, families and the community. We thank those who have supported us. Together, we will do even more to help others achieve their dreams.”

It was under Holland’s tutelage that the university introduced a two-pronged approach to education, offering both community vocational education as well as academic degrees, including doctoral programs.

The university became famous through its international cultural outreach programs, its dual approach to university-level learning and its popularity with students.

Through the coming year, Wolverines past and present will celebrate in a variety of ways the eight decades of the school. Area residents are welcome to join in celebrating those accomplishments and the robust vitality of the little school that could.


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