Adapted from remarks by President Ruth Watkins at a donor celebration on Sept. 3, 2019.
Work is well under way on what will be a signature project for the U—a new housing village composed of three residential towers, each named after a remarkable and generous woman in our state.
Thanks to Heather Kahlert and the Kahlert Foundation, this new housing complex will be known as Kahlert Village.
Kahlert Village is the single-largest building project in the U’s history and will provide state-of-the-art housing for nearly 1,000 students to live, learn, socialize and flourish as they pursue their intellectual passions.
We know that spending just a year living on campus increases successful degree completion by 12 percent and this project will boost those odds for many more students. Living on campus, particularly during their first year, allows students to have the best start possible and to become rooted in their educational experiences.
The Gail Miller Community Engagement Tower
The Gail Miller Community Engagement Tower will serve students who are passionate about making a difference in their communities — just as Gail and her family have done throughout Utah. It will ensure more students have access to a higher education, one in which they contribute to and benefit from a culturally and intellectually diverse learning environment.
Envisioned in part as a home for cohorts of Miller Scholars, this residential tower will promote intellectual excellence, a lifelong ethic of service and foster deep, lasting friendships. The students who will live here will explore what it means to make a positive change in their communities and how to elevate the public discourse around important issues. In other words, they will be following in Gail’s footsteps.
The Patricia W. Child Health and Wellness Tower
The Patricia W. Child Health and Wellness Tower will be home to students who will have the opportunity to explore a variety of health careers, thanks to a collaboration with University of Utah Health. These fields include pre-medicine, health, pre-pharmacy, nursing, pre-dentistry, occupational health, physical therapy, nutrition, social work and others.
Students who reside here will learn about comprehensive health care, which is so important to Pat, including a focus on healthy living and wellness.
Pat was an early graduate of the medical technology program in the U’s School of Medicine. She attended school during the day, then studied at night while working at various jobs. She understands firsthand what many of today’s students go through to get a higher education. Pat’s vision will allow these students to be at the center of innovation and advancement in health care and healthy living.
The Heather Kahlert STEM Tower
The Heather Kahlert STEM Tower will make technology and STEM education accessible to more people in Utah, including women, students from diverse backgrounds and athletes. Kahlert, a U alumna and the executive vice president of the Kahlert Foundation, was our first partner in this project, giving us an enthusiastic “yes” as soon as she heard what we had in mind.
The foundation’s mission is to provide support to improve the quality of life and well-being of our community in the areas of health care, youth programs, education, veterans’ organizations and human services.
This is an amazing moment for our university, to have three outstanding women stand behind this big idea, this big vision, and be willing to make such a lasting, life-changing difference for our students. These women are not just a dream team; they are dream makers who will shape the lives of thousands of students for years to come.