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Founders day banquet

Celebrating the university and honoring alumni and supporters.

To commemorate the founding of the University of Utah on Feb. 28, 1850, the U Alumni Association will celebrate four outstanding alumni, one honorary alumnus and one student scholar at the annual Founders Day banquet, Friday, March 3, at the Little America Hotel, beginning with a reception at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.

This year’s Distinguished Alumnus/a Award recipients are Pamela Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association; David Jorgensen, philanthropist and Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneur; Miriah Meyer, associate professor of Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute; Alan Sullivan, preeminent attorney and partner of Snell and Wilmer. This year’s Honorary Alumnus is Bruce Bastian, cofounder of WordPerfect and a major philanthropist toward LGBTQ equality. The Founders Day traditions at the U date back as far as 1899, when the Utah State Legislature voted to relocate the university to its permanent campus on Salt Lake City’s east bench. The vote coincided with the U’s Feb. 28 founding date and inspired a major celebration that continued with the school’s 50th anniversary in 1900. Over the years the date has seen; moments of silence, elaborate galas, oratory and writing contests and it’s been a weeklong extravaganza complete with a student queen. Today, the essence of Founders Day remains: It is a time to celebrate the university’s place in the community and to honor its outstanding alumni and supporters.

For more information and reservations, visit the Founders Day website.

Distinguished Alumnus/a Awards:

Pamela Cipriano Ph.D. ’92
Cipriano currently a research associate professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing since 2000, and also recently served as senior director for health care management consulting at Galloway Advisory by iVantage. Cipriano was the inaugural editor-in-chief of the journal American Nurse Today and served a year as the Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-residence at the Institute of Medicine. She was named one of the top 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare in 2015 and has been recognized with prior honors including the Distinguished Member Award from the American Nurses Association (ANA).

David Jorgensen B.S. ’61
After the U, Jorgensen entered the engineer development program at Boeing, which sent him to the University of Washington for an MBA, where he discovered an aptitude for business. Later, while at the Stanford Research Institute, he studied engineering in the graduate program. He went on to become CEO of Dataquest, a high-tech market research company where he cofounded the copier/printer supply company Katun. Since then, he has served as president of the David and Annette Jorgensen Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic foundation whose work has included supporting more than 40 promising U engineering students with scholarships for up to five years of funding at nearly full tuition.

Miriah Meyer Ph.D. ’08
Meyer’s work focuses on the design of visualization systems that help researchers make sense of complex data. She is the recipient of an NSF CAREER grant, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, and a NSF/CRA Computing Innovation Fellow award. She has been named both a TED Fellow and a PopTech Science Fellow, as well as included on an MIT Technology Review list of top young innovators and a Fast Company list of the 100 most creative people in business.

Alan Sullivan J.D. ’74
Sullivan, currently a partner with Snell and Wilmer, is a fellow (and past state chair) of the American College of Trial Lawyers and a past chair of the Utah Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Civil Procedure. He is on the board of trustees for the American Inns of Court and has chaired the And Justice For All campaign to establish ongoing private funding for Utah Legal Service, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake, and Disability Law Center, and co-chaired the campaign that resulted in the purchase of a building to house those entities. He also served eight years on the board of the Rocky Mountain Innocence Center, actively raising money for the organization.

Honorary Alumnus Award: 

Bruce Bastian (B.A. and M.A., Brigham Young University)
Bastian, cofounded WordPerfect, which revolutionized word processing and document-generating features still relied upon today in any word processing or email application. He founded the B.W. Bastian Foundation, which focuses its gifts on diversity, the underserved, and the arts in education. To the U alone, he has given 55 Steinway pianos, a major contribution for renovations to Kingsbury Hall, annual support to the university’s LGBT Resource Center and U Pride, and thousands of dollars to other areas, including a College of Social Work social justice speaker series.

Founders Day Scholar:

Sydney Chan
Chan is a second-year nursing student, is the 2017 Founders Day Scholarship recipient. A child of African-American and Chinese parents, she is proud of her culture. But for many years, racial comments about her mixed heritage affected her confidence. Hurt and frustrated, she “snapped out of it” when she remembered all the beautiful teachings her culture has given her. The experience left her newly committed to helping others who might have experienced similar hardships — including her future patients.

The full-tuition Founders Day scholarship recognizes the contributions to the U and community of an outstanding student who has overcome difficult circumstances or challenges. For 2017-18, the Alumni Association expects to award $600,000 in scholarships to deserving students.