UVU is 80 years young in 2021, with programs and certificates for undergraduate and graduate levels. Photo courtesy of UVU Marketing.

2021 marks 80 years of education at Utah Valley University. 

Before becoming the university it is now, UVU began as Central Utah Vocational School in 1941, with the primary function of war production and training. Over time, the school grew and its purpose changed alongside the growth. 

During the 80’s and 90’s, educational opportunities were expanded and more property was added to the campus. In 1987, under the presidency of J. Marvin Higbee, the official name of the school was changed to Utah Valley Community College (UVCC), eventually becoming  Utah Valley State College (UVSC). 

On July 1, 2008, UVSC gained university status and became Utah Valley University.

“Since 1941, UVU has been helping students from all walks of life transform their futures. And not even a global pandemic has slowed us down,” said UVU in an official message celebrating 80 years. “We’ve been through changes and had to adapt, but we’re as resilient and innovative as we’ve ever been — and we always rise to the challenge.” 

As of 2021, UVU offers 91 bachelor’s degrees throughout 8 colleges, along with a vast range of programs and courses for students to enroll in. As the state’s largest public university, nearly 41,000 students are enrolled in classes. UVU was ranked #1 college in Utah for Alumni Earnings by GradReports, and 50th-66th in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of public universities in the West region. 

“I’ve been a Wolverine for a while now,” said Katie Solorzano, a pre-med student in her second year majoring in psychology. “I came to a summer program called UVU PREP when I was 12. I took concurrent enrollment classes here, and I have my AA here. I love the welcoming environment, I’ve always felt included, and the people here are amazing. There are many great opportunities, and I’ve made so many important connections and great friends.”  

To celebrate 80 years of UVU, Homecoming took place last week, Sept. 20 – Sept. 25. Day one of Homecoming included a sold-out show at the Noorda Center starring Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell. On Wednesday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new Center for National Security Studies, followed by a volleyball game – UVU vs. New Mexico State University –  on Thursday Night. The UVU Student association (UVUSA) hosted the yearly Emerald Ball on Friday – a 1920’s-themed event, which was a success, according to association members. 

“Tickets to [the Emerald Ball] sold out and it was so fun! There was dancing and music and everyone was dressed up in their best 1920’s get up!” said Ella Quealy, a member of UVUSA. 

Homecoming week came to a busy conclusion on Saturday with a 3-3 Alumni basketball tournament in the morning, Homecoming Fest, women’s soccer and volleyball games, and community connection events throughout the day. 

Homecoming fest took place on the Fulton Library Quad, providing music, fun and food from some of Utah’s most popular food trucks. After the fest, Wolverines and fans made their way to Clyde Field in the Inaugural March of the Wolverines to cheer on the Women’s Soccer team in the homecoming match.

Two UVU team games were held Saturday: Women’s Volleyball vs. Grand Canyon University, and the homecoming match, UVU Women’s Soccer vs. New Mexico State University. The Women’s soccer team beat NM State 2-0, bringing homecoming week to a successful end. 

Community Connection Day is an event hosted by the Center for Social Impact that “facilitates multiple service projects in Utah Valley, and allows UVU students and community members to participate in the project of their choice,” according to their website

“At UVU, we believe in human potential. Every student deserves the benefits of an affordable, flexible, high-quality education,” said president Astrid S. Tuminez, according to UVU News. “We are very young at 80! 

We celebrate the positive impact that UVU has had on the lives of students, families, and the community. We thank those who have supported us. Together, we will do even more to help others achieve their dreams.”

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