Wilson Sorenson knew that the time would come when the institution he helped build and preside over for so many years would become a university. That time is now, since UVU became a reality in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the steps of the new library on July 1.
Sorenson, 92, was in attendance as former UVSC presidents, civic leaders and library architects gave remarks on the transition from UVSC to UVU. Thomas S. Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, concluded the ceremony with a dedicatory prayer, and gave a few remarks of his own.
“He has shown us the way to follow,” Monson said of Sorenson, who presided over UVSC for 36 years. Monson then related a story of UVSC’s first groundbreaking in 1975, where he and other civic leaders were waiting for Sorenson to begin the ceremony. President Sorenson then rode up to the ceremony on a horse, tied it off to the bleachers, and grabbed a shovel for the groundbreaking. “I call him a pioneer,” added Monson.
Sorenson is indeed a UVU pioneer. He has seen each phase of the school: Utah Technical College, Utah Valley Community College, Utah Valley State College, and now Utah Valley University.
The ribbon cutting also signaled the official opening of the new library. Jacob Alspector, the design architect for the library added his thoughts. “We wanted a unique place of light and enlightenment. We wanted to create different places to meet the moods of students, so that they can find a place to exchange thought.”
Kerry Romesburg, a former president of UVSC, marveled at the celebration for UVU. “I am blown away by the celebration. There are banners all across town, and you’ve got concerts and fireworks,” said Romesburg. “When we became UVSC, we had a small party and a cake. It was nothing like this.”
President William Sederburg conducted the meeting and added a few remarks throughout. “The future is phenomenally bright for this institution, this region and the state of Utah.”
“Thank you to the state of Utah,” Sederburg added. “The entire public has risen up and said it is time to create Utah Valley University. On behalf of the entire campus, thank you, Utah, for making us Utah Valley University.”
Other speakers included Senators Orrin Hatch and Robert Bennett, Rep. Jim Matheson, Lt. Governor Gary R. Herbert, and John L. Valentine, president of the Utah State Senate.