Stop where you’re standing and take a look around you. What do you see? Let me tell you. A type of majestic beauty only found in the educational, progressive, and structured home of all races, genders and queer costumed parties. The older generation tells me that there was a time when it wasn’t as vibrant or breathtaking. They also tell me that it still isn’t breathtaking.
Utah Valley University, found on the sloping landscapes of the Utah Valley, had humble beginnings. But maybe the older generation is right — have we really changed all that much?
Here’s a shout-out to all you soldiers in the war on war, you’re being educated by a WWII Veteran. The year was 1941 and the Country was alive with war fever. So it came as no surprise when four school districts in the Utah County pitched in funds to purchase property for a soon-to-be-built war production training facility named Central Utah Vocational School. Classes began in September of that year.
In 1963, the name was changed to Utah Trade Technical Institute to emphasize the change from war production to it’s growing role in technical training. No more than four years passed before the name change to Utah Technical College at Provo. With this name change came the authority to award the associate of applied science degree.
By 1977 the Utah Technical College decided that in order to be a blooming, respectable school, it would need to tear away from the shadow of BYU. Provo was clearly cramping their style so they moved their campus to Orem. This drastic change brought the beautiful 185-acre lot you see today. Many historians feel that BYU is still bitter. But like a 36 year-old World of Warcraft player who finally gets a girlfriend and moves from his parents basement, UVC had a bright future and needed to move on.
Aging and maturing, as most things do, brought the demand for more degrees and programs. Accommodations came in 1987 with the addition of the associate of arts degree. Again another name change was in order. Without hesitation UVC evolved into Utah Valley Community College. The extra ‘C’ made all the difference among locals. UVCC was now something worthy of admission. Grandmothers began to stop heckling their grandchildren about not attending BYU because UVCC had joined the list of “Good Education” schools that your parents and high school guidance counselors always talk about.
This is where our generation steps in. I’m sure you’re aware of how the story goes. In no more than 19 years and 15 million dollars, UVCC became UVSC and then last year, Utah Valley University. Think back on the last 19 years of your life. What have you accomplished? With the exception of growing a few feet and putting on a few pounds, you’re a rather dull character and your weightiest accomplishment still remains getting a Reflections award in the third grade. But things are different now. You’re attending a University with a noble history and even though you haven’t changed that much, it has.