2021 State of the University address recap

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This year’s State of the University address looked different than years past, but its intent was still the same; to inform students, staff and faculty of the details of another year here at UVU. 

President Astrid Tuminez spoke to the university virtually, covering everything from faculty successes to campus expansion. Additionally, Tuminez highlighted the unprecedented circumstances of the past year and how the university has fared and will move forward. 

“At UVU, we aim to educate every type of student with every type of background,” Tuminez said. 

This school met this goal well this past year according to university statistics. Tuminez claimed that the main reason she was drawn to UVU was because of the broad range of diversity here. Tuminez noted a variety of diverse groups that make up the UVU student body, including the 37% of first generation students, 19% of students of color, 30% who are 25 years or older and the 17% who support at least one child. Details of these statistics can be seen in the graph below. 

Graph from State of the University address

Tuminez also recognized the vast majority of students who work while attending school at UVU. Among the 81% of students who work while attending school at UVU, are those whose employment is in one of the many student offered jobs on campus. 

“We have not forgotten our community college approach,” Tuminez said, introducing several students from this employed population at UVU. Each student recognized by Tuminez praised UVU for its ability to allow them to work while attending school and mentioned that they would likely not be able to attend school and work in their respective capacities elsewhere. 

“UVU is a path to the American dream,” Tuminez said, “Whatever you are ready for, you can work on here and you can build on it year after year.”

This type of approach is made possible through a variety of programs, scholarships and sponsorships university-wide. Tuminez thanked all of the donors who have supported such programs noting, “you cannot simply grow and grow without support. You need that support or you will fail.” 

Such donations are also vastly responsible for recent campus expansions including the newly completed UVU Pedestrian Bridge, the Scott C. Keller business building due to complete construction in early 2022, the Estate art museum which will open in late 2021, and the Sorensen Center, which is roughly scheduled to be finished around the same time as the new business building. Tuminez also recognized the opening of the newly purchased Thanksgiving Point Property in Lehi, which expands UVU campus further north, and offers new opportunities for students and staff alike. 

“I frankly think this is a miracle,” Tuminez said of the university’s recent expansions. 

In addition to a growing physical campus, Tuminez also recognized the growth UVU has experienced otherwise. Great expansions have occurred in a variety of ways in the last year here at UVU, including the advanced offerings in the College of Engineering and Technology, Breeze Airways partnership with the UVU flight school and the broadening of formats through which classes are offered. Mental health support has increased exponentially on campus, and in conjunction with Utah State University, the Melissa Nellesen Center for Autism is in the process of introducing a special program called Wolverines Elevated. 

UVU was also recognized as the third in the nation for return on investment and is located in Orem, which was labeled among the topmost charitable states in the nation. 

Students in attendance at the virtual address also praised UVU. 

“I love our campus and watching it grow,” said UVU student Sam Hadlock. 

Employee Jody Birch praised the positive outlook UVU has. “Love this shoutout style for all the good that has happened this year despite the current global environment,” she said.  “So proud to be a part of the UVU team!”

Though this past year was unpredictable, according to Tuminez, UVU prevailed. Enrollment rates have remained steady and even spiked over the last couple of semesters. Moving forward, UVU will continue to expand in every way possible with the intention to, as Tuminez concluded, “build something that will outlast each of us.”