Donor and Associate Dean: Why Keith Mulbery Gives

“UVU students are here because they’re preparing to do profound things,” Associate Dean Mulbery said. “I see that in my interactions with them every day."

When Keith Mulbery, Utah Valley University (UVU) College of Engineering and Technology associate dean of academic affairs first forged a relationship with student Greg Vandagriff in 2013, he felt an instant connection. The two got to know each other when Mulbery served as a professor of information systems in Vandagriff’s class. Mulbery admired his student’s work ethic and dedication to continuing his education while working full-time.

Despite Vandagriff’s positive attitude, Professor Mulbery noticed he often looked tired and stressed. When Professor Mulbery asked if everything was okay, he learned that the student was struggling to afford tuition. His salary was notenough, and he had taken out several student loans. His employer wanted him to finish school on schedule, but it did not seem possible.

Professor Mulbery encouraged Vandagriff to apply for the Keith R. Mulbery Endowed Scholarship for Information Systems – a scholarship Mulbery established at UVU. He created the endowment with the intent of helping students.

 

“Because the information systems discipline is in demand by employers, I wanted to provide a scholarship for students to complete their degrees so they enter the workforce and contribute significantly to the field,” Professor Mulbery said.

Even though Vandagriff’s GPA was not the highest among his peers, Professor Mulbery believed his student had other talents and qualifications that would help his application stand out. When the awards were distributed, Vandagriff was shocked to receive a notice that he had been selected by the department scholarship committee to receive the award. “GPA was only one consideration,” the award letter noted. “Financial need and leadership in information systems classes contributed greatly to the decision.”

“At that point, UVU went from being just another school, to a life-changing institution staffed by teachers and faculty who genuinely care about the success of their students,” Vandagriff said.

Photo of Keith Mulbery

Since its inception in 2013, 13 students have received the scholarship to help them pursue degrees in information systems.

Professor Mulbery was inspired to donate to UVU because of the support he received from donors when he was working to earn his bachelor’s degree. The scholarships he received as a student helped pay for tuition and books, and he wanted to pay the gift forward. He is hopeful that by giving, he can show students that he cares about their education.

“UVU students are here because they’re preparing to do profound things,” Associate Dean Mulbery said. “I see that in my interactions with them every day. These scholarships truly make a difference in students’ lives.”

Mulbery has been at UVU for 27 years – and his support for his students never stops growing. “I wanted as many students to benefit from a scholarship as possible, and the best way to do that is to set up an endowed fund.”

As a lifelong educator, Mulbery encourages other faculty and staff to donate.

“When we as faculty, staff, and community members can help provide financial assistance to students, it signifies that we care about these individuals outside of the classroom,” he said. “Giving back to the university helps them see that level of support from their faculty.”

 

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