Utah Valley University's entrance sign

Utah Valley University’s entrance sign is pictured before Utah Valley University’s 76th Commencement Ceremony on May 4, 2017, in Orem.

Instead of fundraising for campaigns or candidates, Gov. Gary Herbert held an annual gala event Friday evening to collect funds to build a new public policy center at Utah Valley University.

Hundreds of guests attended the black-tie dinner and event at the Salt Palace Convention Center where university president Astrid Tuminez formally announced plans to build the center.

“It is my honor and pleasure to announce that we will be building the Gary R. Herbert Center for Public Policy at Utah Valley University,” she said. “This is going to be an amazing partnership.”

Few details were released at the event although Herbert expressed his hope the center will inspire future students like those studying to become entrepreneurs, engineers, healthcare professionals and policy makers.

He briefly explained his political views that a national government often fails to connect with ordinary people in the way a state government can.

“Simply put, states are the best at solving people’s problems as laboratories of democracy and as pilot programs they create and promote,” he said. “We learn from each other. We learn from successes and failures and improve in the process. That’s the story Utah has.”

The center will be housed in the future Gateway Administration Building on the south side of campus, said UVU spokesperson Scott Trotter. 

The building will connect to another planned building and will lecture halls as well as office space for the university president and administration officials. The policy center will also house some of Herbert's personal keepsakes and memorabilia from his career and public service, the university said in a statement.

Further details about the building are still in development, Trotter said.

Ashley Stilson covers crime, courts and breaking news for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at 801-344-2556 or astilson@heraldextra.com.

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