75 Years Strong

Utah Valley University’s 75th anniversary year was filled with successes and celebrations.

President Holland, Sheldon Holgreen, and other cut the ribbon for the new Veteran Success Center.

In January UVU cut the ribbon on its Veteran Success Center, which provides a wide range of services to veterans pursuing higher education. We also cut the ribbon on the Norma Tucker Anderson Dance Complex — spacious dance studios and faculty offices for UVU’s programs in ballroom, ballet, and modern dance.


In February our 75-Hour Giving Challenge exceeded its $10,000 goal, raising more than $11,000 in 75 hours to support the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts. Then in March, we unveiled the UVU Dowdle Puzzle, featuring a painting by renowned folk artist Eric Dowdle. Look closely and you’ll find dozens of UVU traditions, people, and places woven into the image. We also invited all of UVU’s past presidents back for the annual Donor Appreciation Banquet and presented them with honorary degrees.

A crowd of people sit and listen outdoors to President Holland speaking during the Cole Nellesen Building groundbreaking.

In April we broke ground on the Cole Nellesen Building for autism initiatives, which will welcome the autism community to our campus. At our 75th Commencement, we graduated more than 5,000 students, with words of wisdom from commencement speaker John Quiñones, a seven-time Emmy Award-winning ABC news anchor.

Vintage cars and hot rods, shined to perfection are lined up on display at the Auto Expo.

In May the 29th annual UVU Auto Expo and Swap Meet returned to the Orem campus. The street rod and classic car exhibition shines a light on UVU’s Automotive Technology program, which remains a strong and vital part of the University, educating about 400 students each year. 

A backhoe digs next to the UCCU Center to prepare the site for the NUVI basketball center.

In June we broke ground on the NUVI Basketball Center, which will enhance UVU’s recruiting and training programs. The center will provide a full-size practice court, weight facilities, and many other features to maximize the potential of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. 

In August the “75 Years of Campus Life” exhibition in the Woodbury Art Museum displayed more than 100 artifacts from UVU’s journey since its inception as Central Utah Vocational School in 1941. The 75th-anniversary edition of UVU Magazine looked at our institution’s remarkable progress over the years since our founding and highlighted some of the individuals who have helped to make us great as well as some of our diverse alumni. 

A UVU soccer player kicks the ball away from a rival player.

In September UVU’s 75 Years Strong Homecoming Week ramped up the celebration with The Electric Maze, a multi-sensory light show and maze. The UVUphoria concert, with Jason Derulo, American Authors, and Rachel Platten, was followed by a fireworks show. 

Natalie Hewitson, a scholarship recipient, speaks at the UVU Scholarship Ball

In October the President’s Scholarship Ball raised a record $203,000 through sponsorships and ticket sales. The ball celebrated the 873 students who have received the support of the Presidential Scholarship over the past 26 years.

A solar system filled with swirling colors and made out of stained glass is lit from behind by the sun.

In November we unveiled the Roots of Knowledge, a 200-foot stained-glass window installation depicting the history of human knowledge. At the same time, we named the Marc C. and Deborah H. Bingham Gallery, where the Roots of Knowledge is displayed, and the library was named the Ira A. and Mary Lou Fulton Library. 

President Holland and several others break ground on the Performing Arts Building and reveal green dirt.

In December we broke ground on the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, a beautiful new venue for the University’s award-winning arts programs. The center will also provide the first and only performance hall for the Utah Symphony in Utah County. A new book about UVU, “75 Years Strong: A History of Utah Valley University,” was released in December.