Humans of the U: Lori McDonald

I was about to sign a residence hall contract for another school when my dad suggested we take a look at the University of Utah first. He drove me to campus during spring break, and in just a few minutes, I knew this was the place for me—I could just see myself here.

My grandpa Walt and I are the only ones in our family who went to the U. He played football for the U from 1929-1933, and then he played professionally until 1936. That was a special connection I had with my grandfather. He always told me stories about his time at the U. He had several jobs—one was sweeping out the Geology Lab. They would tinker with rocks, so there was a lot of sweeping to be done, and I think he made about $20 a month, and that paid for his room and board. He also did valet parking for performances at Gardner Hall and Kingsbury Hall. They parked the cars on the lawn of Presidents Circle, and then the student valets were allowed to come in and watch the shows, so he got to see a lot of vaudeville shows that way.

Before he passed away, my grandfather gave me one of his letterman sweaters. I had it in my closet for a long time, but when I became dean of students, I thought, ‘You know what, I need my Utah sweater in my office.’ It’s neat to have a piece of history connecting me to this place that I have so much history with myself.

—Lori McDonald, vice president, Student Affairs (@LoriKMcDonald)

Lori’s history with the University of Utah includes time spent as an undergraduate studying biology, as an academic advisor, career counselor, assistant dean of students for fraternity and sorority life, associate dean of students working with ASUU and student conduct, dean of students, and now vice president of student affairs.