UVU President Holland reflects on 75th anniversary, pushes to prepare for even better centennial anniversary


UVU President Matthew Holland address UVU’s future at the annual State of the University speech in the Science Building Auditorium on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah on Tuesday Feb. 7, 2017. (Photo by August Miller/UVU Marketing)

Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland wrapped up the school’s 75th anniversary year-long celebration on Tuesday and pointed students, staff and alumni to preparing for an even better centennial celebration in 25 years as part of his State of the University address.

“Before us rests and enormous and a exhilarating moment,” Holland said. “If I put it so boldly, we face nothing less than the chance to stand as the nation’s very best open admission platform for student success. There is still much to do to make this happen and ready ourselves for a centennial celebration far grander than anything we’ve experienced.”

Reflecting on the past

Holland began his address by reflecting on the past year’s celebrations and accomplishments. In 2016, UVU broke ground on three major buildings: Cole Nellesen Autism Building, NUVI Basketball Practice Facility and Noorda Performing Arts Center.

Tom Holman poses for a portrait in the Holdman Studios the Roots of Knowledge panels on the Utah Valley University campus in Lehi, Utah Wednesday, July 27, 2016. Holdman and six panels of the work traveled to Manhattan in October. (Photo courtesy of UVU)

On an academic level, Holland recognized student success in national competitions, including winning the 2016 SkillsUSA National Championship for the third year in a row. He also recognized the athletic teams for their conference championships.

Then Holland spent time recognizing the new Roots of Knowledge display at the Fulton Library. The 80-panel, 60,000-piece stained glass display that tells the history of knowledge was unveiled in its permanent home at UVU after touring New York and England. Holland says the piece will inspire students and be used for instruction in the years to come.

Looking to the future

After reflecting on UVU’s accomplishments and celebrations, Holland moved on to projects in the works and the future of the university.

“The path to 2041 starts right here in 2017,” Holland said. “In the coming years, we are faced, as we always are, with tremendous opportunities to seize and challenges to address in order to carry out our vital mission. It was like that in 1941. It was like that when I started in 2009. It is like that today. And I am quite sure it will still be like that in 2041.”

Holland outlined his legislative priorities for Utah’s 2017 session, which include requests for $4.6 million in merit-based compensation adjustment, $1 million in new student growth funding, support for starting and expanding programs to meet market demand and workforce needs, a new business building, and a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 15 connecting UVU’s west and east campuses. However, Holland knows UVU’s chances are small this year.

“The fact of the matter is this year we will be receiving the second part of our funding for the Noorda Performing Arts Center as established last legislative session,” Holland said. “So our chances this year for support of this building are very slim, but slimness of our chances does not diminish the enormity of our need.”

UVU’s top priority is the Woodbury School of Business, which is the largest business school in the state.

Over the next 40 or 50 years, Holland said UVU would roll out its master plan for campus growth.

“The path to 2041 starts right here in 2017,” Holland said. “In the coming years, we are faced, as we always are, with tremendous opportunities to seize and challenges to address in order to carry out our vital mission” — UVU President Matthew Holland

“Whereas we thought we were landlocked and were facing our limits, we’ve got room to grow on this campus,” Holland said.

The master plan includes details about the Vineyard campus, which is the Geneva land the campus purchased in 2014. Holland said that advisory boards decided academics should be kept on the main campus in Orem. While there will be a few specialty programs homed at the Vineyard campus, the Geneva land will primarily be used for athletics, including the already existing intramural fields, track and field, sports stadium, and eventually a new basketball arena and baseball fields.

Besides school development, Holland also shared projections for the number of students at UVU. Currently, there are about 35,000 students enrolled at UVU. In 2041, Holland projects there will be 65,000 students enrolled.

“Schools like Utah Valley University are the future of higher education where one institution or one education can address the full needs of the city, state, workforce with multiple resources for education,” Holland said. “We are the future of higher education.”

Watch the full State of the University address below.


Rebecca Lane

While her first language is sarcasm, Rebecca dabbles in English and Russian to achieve her lifelong dream of being a journalist. A BYU sports fan, reading enthusiast and wannabe world traveler, Rebecca is a Colorado transplant that is convinced Colorado's mountains are much larger than the many Utah County peaks. Rebecca manages UtahValley360.com for Bennett Communications. Follow her on Twitter @rebeccalane.

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