2020 Ivory Prize nominations open


Students currently enrolled or recently graduated (within the last five years) from the University of Utah are eligible to be nominated for the 2020 Ivory Prize for Excellence in Student Leadership. Self-nominations are welcome.

The Ivory Prize includes a $2,000 award (or $4,000 for up to two co-recipients) and $10,000 to invest in the program or efforts developed and implemented by the recipient/s. The Prize seeks to recognize and celebrate the impact of student involvement and leadership in our community.

Clark Ivory, former chair of the University of Utah Board of Trustees, established the Prize to recognize extraordinary and influential student-led projects that positively impact the campus and/or the broader community. The Prize seeks 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, Dec. 13, 2019.

Nominate yourself or someone you know today.

Past recipients of the Ivory Prize:

Kaitlin McLean, the 2019 Ivory Prize winner.


Kaitlin McLean is the founder of Bags to Beds, a nonprofit organization that works with volunteers to braid plastic bags into mats that people experiencing homelessness can use to cushion and warm their sleeping spaces. Since inception, Bags to Beds has created 84 sleeping mats, each requiring 300-500 bags and 30+ hours of labor to make. Additionally, the work done at Bags to Beds has removed over 35,000 plastic bags from the waste stream.

Johnny Le, the 2018 Ivory Prize winner.


Johnny Le, a graduate student in computer science at the University of Utah was recognized for founding Utah’s largest programming marathon, HackTheU, which cultivates 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 leading campus programs including the Medical School, Sorenson Impact Center, colleges of Engineering and Science, and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. Highlights of projects include an augmented reality application for learning to interact with autistic children and a musical space odyssey in virtual reality.

Nick Knight, the 2017 Ivory Prize winner.


The 2017 Ivory Prize recipient was Nick Knight, a third-year student at the University of Utah. Knight has gone above and beyond in his work to develop resources and solutions aimed at addressing intergenerational, systemic issues related to individual and public health, education and social justice – particularly as they pertain to food insecurity. He is the executive director of Feed U Pantry, an on-campus food pantry, and has worked with university leadership in formulating strategies to alleviate food insecurity among members of the campus community. Feed U has served more than 1,000 people with over 10,500 pounds of food to date. Knight is the embodiment of selfless leadership this world needs.

Jacob Nold, the 2016 Ivory Prize winner.


Jacob Nold became a part of his mother’s vision to connect trained service dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The nonprofit organization Labs for Liberty has a clear goal: To create a lasting impact for the better. While the roughly 3 million combat veterans is small compared to the 20 million veterans countrywide, Labs for Liberty hopes to pick up where the Department of Veterans Affairs leaves off in terms of one-on-one veteran care. Nold noted that it can be difficult at times “not to get too emotionally invested” when working so closely with the labs and veterans, however he believes it is important to build relationships that will last a lifetime.

Allyson Armstrong and Katharine Blumenthal, the 2015 Ivory Prize winners.


Allyson Armstrong and Katharine Blumenthal, co-founded the Student-Run Pro Bono Physical Therapy Clinic in November 2013. Since it opened, the Department of Physical Therapy faculty have aligned coursework with events at the clinic, including a doctoral seminar in which students reviewed and provided evidence-based critiques of care delivered by students at the clinic. The project grew to include students from the physical therapy assistant program, as well as nutrition, medicine, pharmacy and nursing and has prompted other clinics along the Wasatch Front to engage students in physical therapy clinical services.