Why I give

By Development Office

The community is coming together to imagine more for the university with its first-ever U Giving Day, May 21-22. Faculty, staff and students take the pledge to imagine more by giving back to the areas of the U they are passionate about.

Find out more below about faculty, staff and students making a difference at the U.

Barbara Wilson
Interim Dean and Associate Professor of the College of Nursing
U employee for seven years

“I give because nursing is who I am,” said College of Nursing Interim Dean Barbara Wilson.

Wilson grew up surrounded by the nursing community. She reflected on the impact of her mother, who fueled her passion and appreciation for nursing.

“My mother and three of her four daughters are nurses,” she said. “As a young child, nursing was associated with everything good: compassion, caring, helping others and the faint smell of penicillin on my mother’s hands when she came home from her night shift.”

In addition to her loyal support over the years, on U Giving Day, Wilson is increasing her impact by giving $10 for every nursing student, faculty and staff gift to the college.

“I know that my gift, and the gift of others, will make a significant contribution to countless patients, families, and communities,” Wilson said. “Nursing touches lives, literally and figuratively.”

Whit Hollis
Director of the A. Ray Olpin University Union
U employee for 18 years

Whit Hollis’ commitment to the mission of the A. Ray Olpin Union extends beyond his formal title of director. Like the Union, which provides an environment promoting social, cultural and leadership opportunities, Hollis’ giving is diverse and reflects the Union’s priorities.

“First, I give because I think it is important to support an institution that has been so good to me,” Hollis said. “More importantly, however, is that I truly believe in the programs the university has.”

Hollis’ philanthropic spirit extends throughout campus, but three areas he is passionate about supporting include the Student Union Leadership Scholarship, Feed U Food Pantry and Union Art Endowment.

“Additionally, I support the Feed U Pantry because without food how can students study and do the best they can?” Hollis said. “No one should worry about where their next meal is coming from.”

Beyond student resources, Hollis feels it is important to support exposure to art in our everyday environments.

“I support the Union Art Endowment,” Hollis said. “I strongly believe that art should be in people’s daily lives, not just in museums. The Union purchases art from our art students as well as major Utah artists for display all over the Union. I believe art enhances people’s lives, plus makes people feel good!”

Nichole Briceno
Student Alumni Board President-elect
Social work and psychology major, pre-law track
Scholarship recipient

“Giving back means allowing other students to have an even richer experience than I have had at the University of Utah,” said Nichole Briceno, current student and president-elect of the Student Alumni Board (SAB).

Briceno’s education and student experience are thanks to scholarship funding.

“My scholarships have made it possible for me to receive a higher education,” said Briceno. “They have been the gateway to not only my career but also have pushed me to have a purpose on campus.”

Elected by peers in spring 2019, Briceno will be president of SAB for the 2019-20 academic year. Previously, she served as the committee chair for the SAB Philanthropy Committee in its first year tackling giving at the U.

“The Student Alumni Board opened up the idea of philanthropy on campus to me,” Briceno said. “With help from my advisors and board members, we were able to implement new ways of getting students to start thinking about what is possible on campus because of the support we receive.”

In her first year of implementing student philanthropy programming within the SAB, Briceno said she was able to grow more. She brought multiple events to the student body such as Notes and Floats, Missing Piece of the Cookie, Giving at the U, sign week and more. Briceno in the last academic year was able to educate thousands of peers on why giving to the U matters.

“I continue to be involved with philanthropy because I grew gratitude toward those that were philanthropic for my sake and wish to do the same for future students,” said Briceno.