As sunlight streamed through the windows of the Library Lakeview Room, nearly 80 UVU officials, faculty and students shook the hands of University of Utah President David W. Pershing and Higher Education Commissioner David L. Buhler to welcome both men to their new positions on Wednesday, Aug. 29.
UVU President Matthew Holland invited both Pershing and Buhler to an informal reception held on their behalf. The event gave the community an opportunity to meet and speak with the men about their new roles in Utah higher education and their connection to UVU.
“We all at the end of the day have a common goal of educating the students of Utah,” Holland said. “There are so many more things we can accomplish if we work together in cooperation, collaboration, that we could have never accomplished if we just stay in our own world and do our own thing.”
Buhler said that graduates from UVU play a major role in the state’s economy and whether residents will prosper in the coming years.
“We have a statewide goal, which the governor has agreed, along with the Board of Regents, to have 66 percent of our adult population with a degree or certificate by the year 2020, and UVU is a big part of that,” Buhler said. “UVU is a big producer of students and is going to produce more and more degrees or certificates, either one, and that’s really for the prosperity of our state.”
Pershing, who wore a red tie in support of the University of Utah, also stressed the importance of UVU in higher education and said that he wants both schools to collaborate in the best interest of two-year and four-year students.
“In two years, if students decide they want to stay here, that’s great, I’m totally supportive of that,” Pershing said. “For students that come here and decide that their program is maybe at the U, we want to make that easy to transfer. We will be welcoming. For all your students, we want to be a place that you look at for graduate school.”
After speaking to Buhler at the reception, UVUSA Executive Vice President Jared Roberts was impressed by Buhler’s familiarity with student government leadership within Utah’s universities and their overall goals.
“I talked to him about the Utah Student Association meetings-that’s a meeting where all the student body presidents in the state get together-but the Commissioner was talking about those meetings and things we want to get done this year,” Roberts said. “He’s very aware of what the students are up to, that UVUSA does exist and we’re working on initiatives. It sounds like he’s definitely a big part of that, which is exciting.”
Roberts also spoke with Pershing about his interest in pursuing a medical degree after UVU, possibly at the University of Utah.
“I was telling him I want to go to medical school, and immediately he said that was something they’re trying to push in the legislature, helping out the medical program at the U. It’s a very mutualistic relationship I think we’ve got.”