U Statement on the death of Dr. Sarah Hawley

The statement below was released today by University of Utah Health:

The University of Utah mourns the tragic loss of one of our bright young family medicine residents, Sarah Hawley, MD. Dr. Hawley was a first-year resident who was focusing on continuing her studies in Family & Preventive Medicine.

“Dr. Hawley came to University of Utah Health from UC San Francisco to continue her passion of providing care to women and children in underserved communities, said Kolawole Okuyemi, MD, MPH, chair, Department of Family & Preventive Medicine. “Her adventurous spirit and love of learning will be missed by all those who knew her.”

“Our thoughts are with Dr. Hawley’s family, friends and co-workers, as well as all those in our community who are impacted by this senseless act of violence,” stated Michael Good, MD, CEO, University of Utah Health and Dean, University of Utah School of Medicine. “Her colleagues have shared Dr. Hawley always did a great job of connecting with her patients and understanding where they were coming from.  She treated the whole person, and patients were always appreciative of her approach. She was a promising young physician, and we mourn her loss and extend our deepest sympathies to her family and friends.”

Brian Vukelic, MD, who was Dr. Hawley’s residency advisor, stated, “Sarah made it a priority to stay in touch with her family, constantly talking about them and always mentioning her love of family.  At the same time, she was excited about the opportunities Utah offered to her, particularly the ability to spend time doing all the outdoor activities she loved so much. Sarah was friendly, fantastic, and hardworking. She always gave everything her all.”

Condemning Racism

Students and Colleagues:

This afternoon a banner from an organization that espouses white supremacy was posted on the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge. Earlier in the week, several stickers from a different hate group were also found on campus. The Anti-Defamation League describes both of these groups as white supremacist organizations focused on the preservation of white American culture and promoting white European identity.

Let me be clear, while our campus is an open forum where individuals may express their views, the rhetoric used by these groups does not align with or reflect the University of Utah’s values. These cowardly, faceless and non-university sanctioned tactics are designed to disrupt and frighten individuals and communities, and to garner attention for an insidious ideology that has no place on our campus or in our community.

Last week our campus celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we were reminded of the importance of a collective voice against racism, bigotry and hate. At the University of Utah, we value free speech and the diversity of ideas, but we also have an ethical obligation to call out hateful speech when we see it.

I have directed our facilities personnel, law enforcement and student affairs staff to remove these postings immediately when they are discovered and have asked the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Equity and Diversity to help the campus respond to and monitor these types of actions.

I encourage all of us to engage in respectful dialogue that will enable us to work together to learn, grow, innovate, challenge and build a better future.

President Ruth V. Watkins

One U

If you’ve heard President Ruth Watkins speak since becoming president last April, you’ve probably heard about the power of “One U.” What this means, she explains, is that we have the opportunity to work together to solve big problems in society and also optimize our campus resources. As one of a small number of research universities with a full academic medical center located side by side, we can bring people together from different fields to develop creative, innovative solutions that will improve lives. In this video, President Watkins and other leaders discuss the “One U” vision.

“When I think about ‘One University,’ I think about the fact that we have such a powerful opportunity to be more than our individual parts—to think and act as ‘One University.’”

—President Ruth Watkins

“The University of Utah is unusual among public research universities. There are only a handful of institutions in the United States that have co-located a really wonderful health science campus together with a great research campus. We’re breaking down barriers that prevent collaborations across disciplines.”

—Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Daniel A. Reed

“The exciting work—whether it’s in patient care, research, education or community engagement—actually occurs at the interfaces of the disciplines. Innovative ideas and approaches in one part of this great university are kind of spread to other parts.”

—Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Michael L. Good

“We cannot be 20 teams. We are one team, and we need to work together, share best practices, collaborate on all things. And I think that’s really what I’ve picked up from President Watkins in terms of ‘let’s collaborate, let’s work together.’”

—Athletics Director Mark Harlan

“Everywhere I go on campus—from departments in health sciences and in main campus—people are talking about the opportunities that thinking and acting as one university provides for them. ‘One U’ can really make a difference.”

—President Ruth Watkins

The Race to Promontory

One hundred and fifty years ago at Promontory Summit, Utah, the final spike was driven, the transcontinental railroad was complete and the nation was transformed.

The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West,” opening Friday at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA), brings to campus an extraordinary account of one of the greatest achievements of the 19th century through powerful images that still resonate a century and a half after their making. The exhibition also reunites—for the first time in Utah—the famous golden Nevada and Arizona spikes that were present at the “Meeting of the Rails” on May 10, 1869.

The exhibition, organized by Joslyn Art Museum and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, is a cultural centerpiece of Spike 150, the state’s yearlong celebration of the anniversary.

“We’re delighted to share this remarkable exhibition with our campus audiences, which connects them with this important shared history in ways that only visual art can,” said Gretchen Dietrich, UMFA executive director. “Students, staff and faculty can explore the aesthetic considerations and challenges faced by 19th-century photographers and experience this historic moment from a variety of critical perspectives.”

The transcontinental railroad connected east and west, triggering dramatic economic, technological and cultural changes, from how fast people could travel across the country to what we eat and how we tell time. Fittingly, this transformative event was captured by the equally groundbreaking medium of photography, which not only documented the work but also captured the moment of the railroad’s completion and distributed it around the world. It was the first major news event carried “live.” Telegraph wires were attached to one of the ceremonial spikes, and as it was gently tapped with a silver maul, the “strokes” were heard across the country.

“The Race to Promontory” features more than 150 rare photographs and stereographs by Andrew Joseph Russell (1830-1902) and Alfred A. Hart (1816-1908), drawn exclusively from the Union Pacific Historical Collection at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, the world’s largest collection of original photographs documenting the construction of the railroad between 1866-1869. The UMFA exhibition also includes 31 works by 19th-century Utah photographer Charles Savage, who composed scenes of the railroad and local landscapes to boost tourism and settlement. Savage’s photographs are on loan from J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections.

These 19th-century photographers focused primarily on the engineering triumphs of the railroad, the vast resources available for an expanding nation and the region’s pictorial beauty. Interpretive materials and interactive space in the exhibition help visitors explore photography through a critical lens.

To encourage audiences to consider the railroad from a broader set of perspectives, the UMFA is hosting a series of educational programs featuring renowned historians, thinkers, and community members—including Stanford University professor Gordon Chang and Princeton University professor Martha Sandweiss, as well as U professors Paisley Rekdal, Matthew Basso and Gregory Smoak. These programs highlight historically overlooked narratives: Those of Chinese and Irish immigrants who made up the workforce, members of The Church of Latter-day Saints who worked alongside them and Native Americans, whose lives were forever changed as new migration spurred by the railroad hastened the end of the Indian Wars and the beginning of the reservation era.

Leslie Anderson, UMFA curator of European, American and regional art, said, “’The Race to Promontory’ explores how two important American photographers framed the construction of the transcontinental railroad for their audiences. Through a wide-angle lens, the exhibition’s programming will examine many narratives only alluded to in the works of Hart and Russell.”

For a complete schedule of programs, please visit umfa.utah.edu/race-to-promontory.

U students, faculty and students are admitted free to the UMFA. To schedule a class tour, please contact campus engagement coordinator Iris Moulton at iris.moulton@umfa.utah.edu.

The Race to Promontory: The Transcontinental Railroad and the American West” is on view at the UMFA through May 26. “The Race to Promontory” is traveling to three stops along the route of the transcontinental railroad: It opened in Omaha, Nebraska, at the Joslyn in fall 2018 and will travel to the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, California, after its UMFA run.

Generous support for the exhibition was provided by the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation, Zions Bank, the Hal R. and Naoma J. Tate Foundation, Union Pacific, the state of Utah, the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts and Spike 150.

Hart Chinese Camp
Alfred A. Hart (American, 1816–1908), Chinese Camp, at End of Track, 1868, albumen stereograph, courtesy Union Pacific Railroad Museum.
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The Future of Social Justice

The much anticipated annual Conference on Diverse Excellence (C.O.D.E.) hosted by ASUU will be held all day on Feb. 1, 2019, in the A. Ray Olpin Union Building. This year’s theme, “Unite For Justice,” will focus on bringing peoples of diverse backgrounds together in order to educate, uplift and support one another.

The organizers of C.O.D.E. are excited to feature author and activist Blair Imani as this year’s keynote speaker. Imani identifies as black, queer and Muslim. In addition to being a writer, public speaker and ambassador of Muslims for Progressive Values, one of the oldest progressive Muslim organizations to support the LGBTQ+ community, Imani is a published author, with her premier book “Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History.”

The purpose of this event is to create dialogue and build consciousness around systems of oppression, privilege and solidarity through a social justice lens. We use “diverse” as a noun, adjective and verb to recognize diversity work as both a process and a goal to achieve excellence.

Attendees can RSVP here in advance or register the day of the event. C.O.D.E. is a free event to the public. Attendees can look forward to free swag, free food, connecting with other student leaders, networking with faculty and staff, and partnering with allies and advocates, building upon their social justice education and knowledge in order to create change on campus and in their communities.

With this theme, participants will actively engage in workshops and panel discussions. The goal is to work towards unpacking privilege, building on support systems and confronting unseen biases. This conference aims to foster creative and pioneering social justice pedagogies at the University of Utah and hopes to have this reflected through workshops. The focus is to enrich the understanding of the community that people live in, so that people may work effectively and prosper together as a whole while retaining individual cultures and identities. C.O.D.E. aspires to welcome all and imagine limitless futures unbounded by the systems of forced realities, creating a space to nurture respect, dialogue and coalition building to educate and better our campus community.

“C.O.D.E. is a place for students to learn about topics that affect people’s daily lives that they won’t necessarily learn about in class. By attending C.O.D.E., students are able to confront firsthand the issues facing people and learn from the activists who are organizing around certain issues,” said Puneet Singh, the director of the Diversity Board for ASUU. “By doing this, not only do they learn about the issues that people are working on, but they also learn firsthand from the activists. It’s like being able to learn firsthand from Steven Spielberg about how to produce a movie.”

Previous keynote speakers have included Jessie Williams, Spike Lee and “The Three Doctors.”

Invert the Inversion

It is hard to ignore Salt Lake Valley’s poor air quality this winter unless you’ve figured out how to shut your eyes and mouth and plug your nose (or you haven’t gone outside at all). Views of our mountains, the Wasatch and Oquirrh ranges, are at times completely obscured by the smog surrounding us. That tickle in the throat could be a virus or it could be a reaction to inhaling the pollution hovering over the city. Neither are good options.

But wait, there is good news. We can reduce the particulate matter choking our healthy air by making different choices—particularly when getting from point A to point B. For the month of February, join the university’s Clear the Air Challenge team and help invert the inversion. Improve air quality (and be eligible from some cool opportunity drawing prizes from GREENbike, Cotopaxi the Campus Bike Shop and more).

Now in its 10th year of friendly competition, Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge encourages people to take fewer trips, and the U is the reigning champion. Did you know that mobile sources, including our cars, are responsible for nearly half of the fine particulate matter on our wintertime poor air quality days? By using TravelWise strategies—including walking, biking, riding transit, carpooling and more—we can cut transportation-related emissions. Through collective action, by changing the way we travel we can make a big difference.

In 2018, the challenge saved an estimated 386 tons of CO2 or the equivalent of the emissions from nearly 45 million smartphones charged. By logging your alternative transportation trips on the online dashboard or through the brand new mobile app, you can track your contribution to emissions saved, plus see your dollars saved and calories burned in comparison to driving alone.

Automate your commute trips

For the first time in its history, the Clear the Air Challenge now connects with two different apps. The first app, Commute Tracker by RideAmigos is specifically designed to work with the challenge to log a user’s commute data. Find a step-by-step guide to connecting the app with your Clear the Air Challenge account on the university’s sustainability website.

The second app is Strava, a free fitness app particularly popular with cyclists and runners. Strava connects with any GPS-enabled device and tracks and analyzes personal health information. Ginger Cannon, active transportation manager for the U, said, “I use Strava because I can track every activity I do, including my active commute to work. Strava can also help connect you to a virtual community of like-minded people–for example, there is a commuter group you can join to meet others who bike or walk to the university.”

Who can participate?

The Clear the Air Challenge is for everyone. Sincerely. Even friends and family are welcome to join the University of Utah team. There are so many different ways to engage in reducing emissions from transportation. Obvious options include riding transit and shuttles, bicycling, and walking—even if it is just walking to a nearby meeting instead of driving.  Even those who need to drive have options, including skipping trips by bringing lunch from home and trip chaining by doing multiple errands in a row to avoid vehicle cold starts.

Together we can clear the air. Join the team and let’s get started.

The university’s Clear the Air Challenge participation is managed by the Sustainability Office, with support from ASUU, Commuter Services, University of Utah Health, Real Estate Administration and University Marketing & Communications. The Clear the Air Challenge is a partnership between TravelWise, UCAIR and the Salt Lake Chamber.

Invest in U

The University of Utah has launched Invest in U, a pilot program designed to help students pay education-related costs so they can complete their degrees faster and launch their professional careers. The U is the first major university in the Western region to offer its students this type of financial assistance.

“Through Invest in U, the University of Utah is investing in our students to help them succeed, recognizing that many students start and stop their educations based on finances,” said U President Ruth Watkins.

Through the Invest in U program, the university will offer students the option of an income share agreement (ISA). This new financial aid tool addresses financial barriers that may result in a student prolonging completion of a degree or dropping out of college. Invest in U is open to students in 18 selected majors who are within one year of graduating.

Eligible students may receive up to $10,000 per fall, spring and summer academic semesters. Payments may be paused for students pursuing graduate degrees, engaged in voluntary service and working full time but earning less than $20,000 a year.

Students who receive an ISA, which is potentially less expensive than other loan options, agree to pay a set percentage of income after graduation for a fixed period. That percentage is 2.85 percent for three to 10 years, depending on major and amount received.

Courtney McBeth, special assistant to the president, is directing the project. McBeth said Invest in U is funded by $6 million in donor, investor and university money. Payments made by students after they graduate will go back into the Invest in U program, creating a perpetual fund to help future students.

The University of Utah has the highest graduation rate, the lowest average debt at graduation and the highest average beginning salary for graduates of any public institution in the state—and well above the national median.

But aversion to debt, the need to work while attending school and other factors lead many students to extend their schooling or to never complete a degree, which means they delay or forgo earning potential tied to being a college graduate.

“This is a way for the university, our donors and our investor community to say, ‘We trust you. We have faith in your future. We are supporting you,’” Watkins said. “I’m really grateful to the donors and investors who are helping us fill funding gaps so more students can complete their degrees.”

The university’s new Invest in U program reflects a statewide commitment to affordable higher education.

“We are excited to see the University of Utah leading nationally in piloting this innovative, flexible financing option to help more students graduate,” said David Buhler, commissioner of the Utah System of Higher Education. “In Utah, 27 percent of people who started college never graduated. This will help many more students get their diplomas, which we know is associated with higher earnings in the future.”

The program also is attracting attention from national philanthropic organizations.

“We applaud creative, student-centered funding opportunities that promote college retention and completion for students who are too often left out,” said Terri Taylor, Lumina Foundation’s deputy director for postsecondary finance. “The University of Utah is not just relieving financial stress for these students—it’s also helping Utah develop a talented workforce to drive a healthy economy.”

The university developed its income share agreement program over the past year with help from the U’s Sorenson Impact Center and university leaders and students. It recently partnered with Vemo Education, which has worked with such higher education institutions as Purdue University, Norwich University and Messiah College to develop, implement and sustain income share agreement initiatives.

“The University of Utah has a well-earned reputation for innovation in a state known for its efforts to ensure access to affordable higher education,” said Tonio DeSorrento, founder and CEO of Vemo Education. “This new program is the next step in the university’s pioneering efforts to create pathways to opportunity that support a new generation of students.”

Studying Melanoma Survival

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. While the number of cases diagnosed is on the rise, the overall survival rate has improved, but survival is uneven across the country.

Researchers at University of Utah Health conducted a state-by-state analysis to understand the geographic disparities for patients diagnosed with melanoma. The results of their study suggest that lower survival is associated with more practicing physicians in a region and higher population of Caucasians. The results are available online in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The figure shows a) the incidence of melanoma across the country (darker color = higher incidence) b) the incidence of death by melanoma across the country (darker color = higher incidence).

“This study is a bird’s eye view of melanoma survival in the United States,” said Zachary Hopkins in Internal Medicine at U of U Health and first author on the paper. “We are interested in finding disparities in state health care systems to target specific states to improve care for people.”

The analysis showed that states with the highest incidence of melanoma (Oregon, Washington, Utah, Minnesota, Vermont and New Hampshire) have a better survival rate. Conversely, states with a lower incidence of melanoma (Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana, Illinois and Nevada) experience lower survival rates. Alaska is the only state in which survival worsened significantly during the study period (1999 to 2014).

The researchers used the mortality-to-incidence ratio (MIR) for each state to approximate survival by standardizing mortality to the incidence of disease. Their analysis identified two factors associated with an increase in the MIR–the number of physicians practicing in a region and the percent of Caucasians in the population.

“Finding a significant relationship between more physicians and mortality was certainly surprising,” Hopkins said. “We believe the sickest patients go to larger facilities with more doctors, which may also be more likely to report disease.”

Hopkins believes these results offer an opportunity for future targeted approaches through education campaigns, greater access to specialists and tuning health care systems to respond to melanoma. These efforts could reduce the number of deaths associated with the disease across the country.

The researchers obtained survival data for this study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention United States Cancer Statistics database. They compared each state-specific MIR to state-specific health care variables (number of dermatologists and primary care physicians per population, health care spending per capita, number of practicing physicians and number of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers) and sociodemographic variables (average household income, health insurance status, education level and racial distribution).

“The analysis is telling us that two people with similar melanomas could have very different outcomes based on where they live and the care they receive,” said Aaron Secrest, in the Departments of Dermatology and Population Health Sciences at U of U Health and senior author on the paper. “We can use this information to improve care to help more people survive.”

The study may be limited by the lack of information on melanoma severity as well as the accuracy of melanoma information reported. According to Hopkins, there is a question as to how well cancer and demographic databases correlate. An ideal analysis would use state-based databases and individual cases of melanoma and demographics to compare between-group differences and look at the state-level differences in survival.

Lights, Camera, Science at Sundance

You may not think of Sundance as being a bastion of films that skew scientific, but there are a surprisingly large number of them each year. This did not go unnoticed by U human genetics professor Gabrielle Kardon, who immediately saw an opportunity to blend two of her passions. She and an editor with Science magazine have partnered to create Science@Sundance to review science-themed films, enlisting the help of U biology professor Michael Shapiro and a small cadre of colleagues from other institutions.

Gabrielle Kardon, professor of human genetics (right), partnered with an editor from Science magazine to create Science@Sundance to review science-themed films. Michael Shapiro, professor of biology (left), and other scientists will also become movie critics during the festival.

Their mission is to highlight movies that excel at using art and storytelling to engage their audiences in important science-related issues. The ultimate goal? To stir excitement and awareness, and encourage scientists to think about pursuing the arts as a way to get the word out about subjects that matter to them.

Look for their reviews in Science magazine in February. In the meantime, you can experience the Sundance Film Festival through scientists’ eyes on Twitter @ScienceSundance.

If you’re lucky enough to score Sundance tickets, look for these films below. Whether you’re a nerd at heart or simply sci-curious, there is something for everyone.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The inspiring story of 13-year-old William Kamkwamba, who developed his own windmill to bring electricity to his rural community in Malawi. Based on Kamkwamba’s autobiography and directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor. 2019 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Feature Film Prize winner.

Apollo 11

Featuring never-before-seen NASA audio and film footage, this documentary brings to life the Apollo 11 mission, which landed the first two people on the moon. Directed by Todd Douglas Miller.

The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley

Elizabeth Holmes arrived in Silicon Valley promising a medical revolution, but instead delivered an empty fraud. The spectacular rise and fall of Theranos is documented by director Alex Gibney.

Sea of Shadows

Vaquitas are the world’s smallest whale, but their home in the Sea of Cortez is a battleground that has brought them to the brink of extinction. The vaquitas are the collateral damage in the illegal harvest of totoaba fish, “the cocaine of the sea,” a multimillion-dollar business. This film uncovers the harrowing battle between the Mexican cartels, Chinese mafia, environmental activists, Mexican navy and undercover agents. Directed by Richard Ladkani.


Tigers have been decimated by poachers, but in Russia Pavel Fomenko and in India Kailash Sankhala lead heroic efforts to save these venerable animals. Directed by Ross Kauffman.


“Take half, but leave half to the bees.” What happens to the natural balance when nomadic beekeepers break this cardinal rule? The last female bee-hunter in Europe is left to save the bees. Directors Ljubomir and Tamara Kotevska.


**Banner image: Buzz Aldrin, part of the Apollo 11 team in 1969. Courtesy of NEON CNN Films.


A message from President Watkins condemning racism
Housing Survey: Your opinion matters
Remembering civil rights icon Archie Archuleta
Volunteers needed as U hosts National Trial Advocacy Moot Court Competition
Public Service Professor Award winners
Last recognition period of the 2018-19 academic year
PreOv wins $5,000 at U Opportunity Quest
Arts at the U: Free for furloughed

Bennion Center Faculty Awards
Distinguished Faculty Service Award
Alternative Breaks applications open
ASUU legislative applications
Student nominations for Ivory Prize
Calling student artists
Professors Off Campus competition

Sustainability Leadership Awards
Mark your calendars for Founders Day


Students and Colleagues:

This afternoon a banner from an organization that espouses white supremacy was posted on the George S. Eccles Legacy Bridge. Earlier in the week, several stickers from a different hate group were also found on campus. The Anti-Defamation League describes both of these groups as white supremacist organizations focused on the preservation of white American culture and promoting white European identity.

Let me be clear, while our campus is an open forum where individuals may express their views, the rhetoric used by these groups does not align with or reflect the University of Utah’s values. These cowardly, faceless and non-university sanctioned tactics are designed to disrupt and frighten individuals and communities, and to garner attention for an insidious ideology that has no place on our campus or in our community.

Last week our campus celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and we were reminded of the importance of a collective voice against racism, bigotry and hate. At the University of Utah, we value free speech and the diversity of ideas, but we also have an ethical obligation to call out hateful speech when we see it.

I have directed our facilities personnel, law enforcement and student affairs staff to remove these postings immediately when they are discovered and have asked the Office of the Dean of Students and the Office of Equity and Diversity to help the campus respond to and monitor these types of actions.

I encourage all of us to engage in respectful dialogue that will enable us to work together to learn, grow, innovate, challenge and build a better future.

President Ruth V. Watkins

Housing Survey: Your opinion matters

This 10-minute survey will be hitting inboxes, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

The Universities Research Park and University Student Apartment (USA) Villages are exploring solutions to a shortage of housing in and around the university campus and Research Park. Built in the 1960s and 1970s, the USA East and West Villages are becoming costlier and more difficult to maintain. USA is the only housing community on campus for U students with young families, graduate and professional students. Research Park is also looking to provide a more complete community through the potential inclusion of housing opportunities for employees of the university or other Research Park companies.

As members of the University of Utah and Research Park communities, your feedback is invaluable in shaping and developing the future lives of Research Park employees, university faculty, staff and most importantly, students. The U is evaluating the demand for future housing options for faculty, staff, students and workforce housing for those employed by the university and in Research Park. While the focus of this study is on housing, future options could also consist of a mixture of uses, including retail, dining and commercial.

The 10-minute survey focuses on participants current housing situations, housing preferences and overall interest in the potential future housing opportunities. Whether you are a current on-campus resident, a single-family homeowner or a renter we want to hear your opinion. Help the U and Research Park plan for the future.

NOTE: This study is in the planning stage and there is no guarantee that it will lead to the construction of future housing. All responses are voluntary and will be confidential. Responses will not be identified by the individual and all data will be aggregated and analyzed as a group. This survey is being conducted by a professional polling company hired by the university.  


We are deeply saddened by the loss of Utah’s civil rights icon, community leader, activist, educator, and University of Utah alum, Robert “Archie” Archuleta. Archie’s work became impactful and embedded at the U. He was a mentor to our students and student groups as he paved the way for students to become advocates of social change. He also encouraged many students to continue on in their journey as either policymakers or representatives for marginalized communities. Archie was a vital member of the U’s Diversity Community Council as he worked to connect higher education to the greater Salt Lake community. In 2018, he was recognized by the U’s Chicana/o Scholarship Fund by receiving The Outstanding Community Leadership Award.

Archie’s cheerfulness and ability to inspire our campus will be profoundly missed by our students, staff, and faculty; together, we will continue to honor his legacy and keep his work alive.

Volunteers needed as U hosts National Trial Advocacy Moot Court Competition

The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law will host the National Trial Advocacy Moot Court Competition on Feb. 7-9 and is searching for volunteers to help make the event a success.

The competition will bring law schools from across the country together to compete in a mock trial designed to provide law students a chance to develop and practice their trial advocacy skills.

Volunteers are assigned a “role” to play at the competition as witnesses and given a script to follow for a case. The opportunity is a fun and engaging way to help future lawyers practice their skills. Besides participants from the U and community, many volunteers at the competition are attorneys and judges from Utah.

The competition will take place at the Matheson Courthouse, 450 State Street in Salt Lake City. There will be free parking provided or TRAX is available. Volunteer shifts are scheduled in four-hour increments.

To sign-up for a spot contact Suzanne Faddis (suzanne.faddis@law.utah.edu)  and Karen Fuller (karen.fuller@law.utah.edu) at the College of Law.

Public Service Professor award winners

U President Ruth Watkins and Bennion Center Executive Director Dean McGovern unveiled a new digital display honoring the U’s Public Service Professors. Watkins told an audience of faculty members community-engaged teaching and research is part of the U’s commitment to exceptional education.

Applications for this year’s award are due Jan. 31.

Learn more at bennioncenter.org.

Last Recognition Period of the 2018-19 Academic Year

As of May 2018, the department of Student Leadership & Involvement recognizes, educates and supports the student organization community at the U. To qualify as a student organization, they must select their own leadership and the leaders must not be financially compensated by a university department for their involvement with the organization. Benefits to registering and being recognized include tabling at PlazaFest, free or discounted-room reservations on-campus, the ability to apply for ASUU funding, access to the involvement platform OrgSync and much more. In order to better support and train student leaders, prospective organizations gain recognition and the accompanying benefits by attending an information session and completing an application within a two-week window known as a recognition period. The last recognition period of the 2018-19 academic year is Feb. 13-15. This is the last opportunity for perspective, or new, organizations to apply for recognition this academic year. The first step in this process is attending an information session, which primarily will be hosted during the last week of January. Individuals interested in starting a new student organization will be required to attend one of these sessions in order to progress through the recognition process. For specific dates, times and locations, please see our calendar for important student organization dates.

The New Student Organization Information Sessions will provide crucial details regarding this process, such as the application, the constitution requirements, recognition benefits and university policy. It will also cover the available resources, if recognized, including support from staff in Student Leadership & Involvement and the Organization Resource Group (ORG). These sessions start promptly on their designated time. Individuals arriving more than eight minutes past the start time will not receive credit for attending. If you cannot be seated at the session within eight minutes of the start time, please select another information session. For more information about this process, please see the webpage for starting a new student organization.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Organization Resource Group (ORG) at studentorgs@utah.edu.


PreOv, a student startup developing a fertility monitoring technology that helps people with family planning, won first place and the $5,000 grand prize at the 2018-2019 University of Utah Opportunity Quest business-model, executive-summary competition on Jan. 18. Ten U teams advanced to the final judging and awards event. The competition is managed by students at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah and sponsored by Zions Bank.

Other top teams included the second-place winner InSufflex ($3,000), the third-place winner NipaYe ($1,000) and the best-video winner red_ ($1,000).

“At this year’s Opportunity Quest, we had a wide range of ideas, businesses, products and concepts,” said Parker Andriese, the student chair of Opportunity Quest and related competitions at the Lassonde Institute. “It was very exciting seeing all of their efforts come together in the pitches. I am thrilled to see how our top 10 for Opportunity Quest compete against students across the state in the upcoming Utah Entrepreneur Challenge.”

PreOv is creating a wireless device that includes a low-energy-sensing, intravaginal ring to evaluate the preovulatory phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The data is received from the sensor through the ring’s Bluetooth technology and viewed on the PreOv smartphone app. This information helps couples find their optimal fertile days with plenty of time ahead.

Click here for the full story.

All university students in the state of Utah are welcome to apply now to the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide business-model competition with over $100,000 in prizes available to students. The application is open until Feb. 14. Apply online and learn more at lassonde.utah.edu/uec.

Learn more about Opportunity Quest at lassonde.utah.edu/oq.

Arts at the U: Free for furloughed

During good times and bad, many turn to the arts for solace, inspiration, levity and hope. That’s why, during this extended government shutdown, the arts entities at the University of Utah are offering furloughed federal employees free access to the arts on campus for the duration of the shutdown.

“As a community of artists, we recognize and appreciate our important role in supporting our communities and meeting them where they are,” said John W. Scheib, associate vice president for the Arts at the U and dean of the College of Fine Arts. “We hope that in our theatres, halls and galleries, our proud friends can experience the joy and creativity the arts can so uniquely and powerfully provide.”

Below are the ways federal furloughed employees can enjoy arts experiences with us for free.

School of Dance 

The School of Dance is offering four free tickets to any upcoming performance during the shutdown. See the upcoming events list here. Call 801-581-7100 or visit the Kingsbury Hall box office and identify yourself as a federal employee to receive your tickets.

School of Music 

The School of Music is offering four free tickets to any upcoming performance during the shutdown. See the upcoming events list here. Call 801-581-7100 or visit the Kingsbury Hall box office and identify yourself as a federal employee to receive your tickets.

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is offering free admission to furloughed federal employees for the duration of the shutdown. Federal workers are asked to identify themselves at the museum’s welcome desk. For museum hours, directions and more information, please click here.


Four free tickets to all furloughed employees to any remaining performance on the UtahPresents season (excluding Banff Film Festival and “At the Illusionist’s Table”). See the upcoming events list here. Call 801-581-7100 or visit the Kingsbury Hall box office and identify yourself as a federal employee to receive your tickets.

Bennion Center Faculty Awards

Public Service Professorship Award: What would you do with $7,500?

All faculty members at the University of Utah are invited to apply for the 2019-2020 Public Service Professorship award. Application deadline is Jan. 31, 2019. Sponsored by the Bennion Center, this award is designed to help a faculty member strengthen community-engaged learning experiences and opportunities tied to civic engagement, and also foster stronger partnerships with the local community. A prize of $7,500 is made possible due to the generous support of Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dan Reed. The funds may be used in any way that enables the recipient to carry out the proposed project, such as reimbursing the recipient’s department for release time, paying a research assistant, travel to conferences, and purchase of supplies or equipment.

Application information and selection criteria are located here.

Application deadline is Jan. 31, 2019.

Distinguished Faculty Service Award

Nominations are open for the Bennion Center’s Distinguished Faculty Service Award. This award honors a faculty member who has demonstrated a commitment to the campus-community connection through a life of active, unpaid community service and the integration of service with research and teaching.

Anyone at the University or in the community may nominate a faculty member. Nomination deadline is  Jan. 31, 2019. Faculty service must be based on a long-term commitment to making a positive difference on the campus and in the community, and to the educational value gained by students through community work, beyond the traditional roles of faculty.

The Bennion Center will make a gift of $1,000 in honor of the award recipient to a nonprofit or charitable organization of the winner’s choice. This gift is possible by a generous endowment gift from Dr. David M. Jabusch, professor emeritus, University of Utah Department of Communication.

Nomination deadline is  Jan. 31, 2019. For nomination information and selection criteria, click here.


Applications are open for faculty and staff interested in serving as a staff partner on an Alternative Breaks trip for Fall Break 2019 or Spring Break 2020. As a trip partner, faculty or staff members would be co-directing a trip with a Bennion Center student leader. Trip themes may include topics such as environmental restoration, immigration, urban environmentalism, homelessness, at-risk youth, and similar social justice and environmental issues. Trips are capped at 12 students and destinations are located in the western United States and Canada.

Faculty and staff travel at no cost to themselves and are not required to take vacation days to participate.

Apply online here.


A $2,000 award (or $4,000 for two co-recipients) and $10,000 to invest in the program being recognized—that is what the Ivory Prize for Excellence in Student Leadership is offering to recognize and encourage student involvement and leadership.

Clark Ivory, former chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, established this prestigious award to recognize extraordinary and influential student-led projects that positively impact the campus and/or the broader community. The prize is an effort to enhance the undergraduate experience and encourage student involvement and leadership. It recognizes one to two students for demonstrating a positive influence on student success and/or fostering efforts that have enabled meaningful change.

Nominations are due Friday, Feb. 22, 2019.

You are eligible for this award if you have graduated from the U since 2013, as well as those currently enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominate yourself or someone you know today.

Here are some of the past recipients of the Ivory Prize:

Johnny Le, a graduate student in computer science at the University of Utah was recognized for founding Utah’s largest programming marathon, HackTheU, which cultivated creative problem solving among hundreds of participants from across the country. The annual HackTheU event was inspired by similar programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Oxford and Stanford universities. To launch the program, Le brought together campus partners from the Medical School, Sorenson Impact Center, colleges of Engineering and Science, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Auxiliary Business Development and more. Highlights of projects include an augmented reality application for learning to interact with autistic children and a musical space odyssey in virtual reality.


The University of Utah’s Housing and & Residential Education (HRE) is seeking artists for pieces that will be used for the South Campus Housing and Dining community. There will be a stipend of $500 for any selected pieces. Artists may submit any or all of the pieces being requested. HRE is excited to solicit entries for five pieces of art for the new building.

Submissions will be open until Jan. 31, 2019, 10 a.m. Students may submit art entries by dropping off a flash drive containing the art piece to:

Rachel Aho
HRE office, Benchmark Plaza, Building 822, 5 Heritage Center

Students may also upload submissions here.

For more information about the format, important details and additional information, visit housing.utah.edu/student-art-solicitation/.

Professors Off Campus competition

The Tanner Humanities Center is proud to announce its next Professors Off Campus competition. This program seeks to link university and community by encouraging scholars to go on-site into the community and develop research and service projects in schools, churches, government offices and public interest groups. The program will facilitate projects during the fall or spring semester for the academic year 2019-20.

The goals of the program are to create meaningful public service programs based on university faculty expertise to benefit groups and individuals throughout the community, foster an appreciation of service work by academics and to create relationships and connections based on tolerance and understanding.

Funds up to $8,000 will be used to “buy” a professor out of one university semester-long class to allow the creation of a community-sited project. Additional funding up to $1,500 will be provided to the selected professor to facilitate project development and $1,000 to the community agency that is partnering in the project.

Please submit to the Tanner Humanities Center (bob.goldberg@utah.edu) a two-page proposal that outlines the project and the agency involved. Projects may, for example, focus on literacy, art and music education, history, health, economic development and environmental concerns. Please attach a proposed budget for your project. In addition, include a copy of your curriculum vitae and letters of support from your department chair and the agency in which your project will be sited. A sample proposal and budget can be found on the Tanner Center’s website.

Project proposals should be submitted by Feb. 15, 2019.


Celebrate sustainability leadership on campus by nominating yourself or a colleague for a Sustainability Leadership Award. These awards recognize excellence in four categories: sustainability education, research, community partnership and the use of our campus as a living lab. Thanks to a generous partnership with Alta Ski Resort, an award of $2500 will be given to each recipient. All students, faculty, and staff are eligible to participate.

Submit the nomination form by Jan. 28, 2019.


Founders Day 2019
Tuesday, February 26, 6 p.m.
Little America Hotel Grand Ballroom, Salt Lake City

Make your reservation for Founders Day 2019 today!

We invite all campus partners to join us for the 2019 Founders Day banquet, the annual event where the Alumni Association recognizes alumni and honorary alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally, served local and national communities, and supported the U in its mission. It’s a wonderful way to celebrate and show your support for individuals who have raised the profile of the university through their accomplishments and generosity.

This year’s honorees are:

Distinguished Alumnus/a

  • Lana Dalton MSW’13
  • Lily Eskelsen García BS’80 MEd’86
  • Robert Grow BS’73
  • Raymond Price, MD BS’83

Honorary Alumna

  • Gail Miller

$150 per person; $1,500 for a table of 10; $2,500 for a patron table. You can make a reservation here.

To purchase a patron table, please contact Mary Thiriot at 801-581-3716 or mary.thiriot@alumni.utah.edu.