$25 million donated to new engineering building from Qualtrics co-founder

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Qualtrics co-founder Scott M. Smith and his wife Karen Smith announced a $25 million donation to aid in the funding of the new engineering building to be constructed on campus. The building will be named the Scott M. Smith Engineering and Technology Building and the college will now officially be the Smith College of Engineering and Technology. This donation is the largest in the history of the university, according to UVU spokesperson Scott Trotter.

In 2019, the university began fundraising for a new engineering building to meet the increasing enrollment demand. The new building is projected to cost roughly $88 million and will be funded by private donors as well as the State of Utah. 

“This is a transformational gift that will elevate obviously the college of engineering in so many ways,” said Mark Arstein, UVU’s vice president of institutional advancement, in an interview with the Daily Herald. “The first step is the building, but it’s what’s going to happen inside that building. It’s going to create the space that’s necessary to fill the gap.”

Smith started Qualtrics in Provo, and shared the significance of this donation in a recent press release. “Karen and I are delighted to support UVU and its students in this way,” Smith said. “Utah County is a special place for us. Our families settled Utah County in pioneer days, our children were raised here, and we started Qualtrics in our home in Provo. We want to give back in a way that will make an impact, honor my profession, and make Utah County a better place to live. We found the perfect match with UVU.”

According to the official university press release, “The Smiths’ donation will help to jumpstart the private fundraising campaign to raise the remaining amount needed to start construction on the 180,000 square-foot, five-story building that will be located on UVU’s Orem Campus. 

UVU will also be seeking additional support from the state legislature for this transformational building.”

Engineering students are delighted to see the university working to expand resources for their career field. “This is a step in the right direction,” said Riyana Chhabra, a junior studying mechanical engineering. “Seeing that UVU is looking to give future students brand new state-of-the-art technology will also inspire the younger generation to follow in their footsteps.”

Chhabra is not the only one who commented on the recent push to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists. Kevin Huyn, a senior studying computer engineering said “[By] working to make this new building a reality, I think that UVU will totally become a more competitive school that is comparable to others that are well known for what they offer. Also, the [new] building will help to flow through more students in the engineering pathway because it will be a flagship part of our school.”

For an official statement about the new engineering building, visit the university press release here. State-of-the-art features that this building has to offer are listed on the building’s website and more information can be found on the College of Engineering and Technology’s website here.

With a critical shortage of engineers, computer scientists and technologists, Utah Valley University is rapidly working to meet industry demands. As UVU is growing and these careers are in higher demand, the College of Engineering and Technology (CET) has outgrown its current facilities. 

According to the CET website, “As of fall 2020, CET has 4,512 students … The number of students pursuing these degrees continues to grow and we are in desperate need of a new building to accommodate this growth.” 

Those enrolled in engineering and technology courses are currently educated in the Computer Science Building, which was completed in 2001. At that time, the university only had 20,000 students enrolled. Today UVU has over 40,000 students and is projected to have more than 55,000 by 2028.