By Maria O’Mara, director of Communications, University Marketing & Communications
The University of Utah today announced the appointment of James Lee Sorenson as a member of its Board of Trustees. Sorenson will replace the board’s outgoing chair, Michele Mattsson. Earlier this month the board elected H. David Burton as its new chair.
A globally prominent entrepreneur, Sorenson has built highly successful enterprises, in fields ranging from technology and life sciences to real estate and private equity investment, all of which have added thousands of high-quality jobs to Utah’s economy.
In his extensive philanthropic endeavors, Sorenson emphasizes self-sustaining charitable enterprises that can lift and empower people and communities and drive empowerment and self-sufficiency for traditionally underserved populations.
“As a business leader and innovator, Jim’s influence will be felt across our campus in this role,” said David W. Pershing, president of the University of Utah. “His legacy as an entrepreneur and a community servant is such a great example to our students. We’re grateful for his eagerness to serve and welcome him to the board.”
After launching his career with a number of successful business ventures while still a student at the University of Utah, Sorenson helped develop several new industry categories, including digital video compression and video relay services (VRS). These innovations culminated in the launch of Sorenson Communications.
Sorenson’s diverse real estate portfolio includes the development of many quality residential, industrial and corporate projects. In the private equity arena, Sorenson co-founded Sorenson Capital, Utah’s leading mid-market private equity firm, and provided the seed money for the University Fund, which became the world’s largest student-run educational investment fund.
A recognized leader in impact investing, Sorenson helped pioneer the industry. He provided the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah with a $13 million gift in 2013 to create the James Lee Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center, which gives students the chance to participate in investments and other service to address a broad range of deep societal challenges. Sorenson is also the chairman of Village Capital, a nonprofit organization that uses the power of peer support to build enterprises designed to change the world.
“As Utah’s flagship institution of higher learning, this great university has a major impact not only on the city and state I choose to call home, but in the nation and the world,” Sorenson said. “I am honored to serve on the Board of Trustees for my alma mater, alongside people who have truly devoted their lives to improving their communities and the lives of their fellow human beings.”
A frequent mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, Sorenson has also served on many community service boards, including Mission Markets, Art Works for Kids, Gallaudet University, the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, the Utah Sports Commission and the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Phil Clinger remains the board of trustee’s vice chair. Sorenson was nominated by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and confirmed by the Utah Senate. His term is effective immediately and will expire June 30, 2019.