UVU’s Digital Media Celebrates the Bachelor’s Program 20th Anniversary

UVU’s Digital Media Celebrates the Bachelor’s Program 20th Anniversary

By: Jenna Berndt

Utah Valley University’s (UVU) Digital Media bachelors program turned 20 last year—in honor of the program’s accomplishments over the past two decades, the Digital Media Department celebrated with a 20th anniversary held at the Utah Valley Convention Center on March 31.

The event was nothing short of epic as nearly 750 people attended the event at the Utah Valley Convention Center. Hundreds of alumni, retirees, faculty, and current and former students came to partake in the festivities. Several alumni also participated as presenters, panelists, and portfolio reviewers.

"The overarching goal of the event was to bridge the gap between our alumni and current students,” said Digital Media Professor, Mike Harper. “By bringing them closer together through this event, we hoped to set in motion numerous activities across the four degrees that would provide opportunities for growth and community building. Having alumni prepare the majority of the panel discussions, workshops, and networking sessions was a step in that direction."

The day commenced with a talk from keynote speaker, Tom McFarland. McFarland was one of the major contributing factors to the foundation on which the bachelor’s program was built. Not only did he introduce the idea of a multimedia-focused degree, but he became the first department chair of the Multimedia Communication Technology program (presently known as Digital Media) and later the Dean of the College of Computer Science.

In the afternoon, students attended activities designed specifically for their degrees, each of which was led by industry experts—many of whom are DGM alumni. During these activities attendees had a unique opportunity to participate in hands-on workshops, panel discussions, and harness the benefits of portfolio development sessions. In addition, students were able to hear about alumni’s respective careers within the industry.

"I had a lot of fun at the conference,” said Yulissa Gil, a Web Design and Development student. “I got to network with a lot of great people and listen to their stories and it really left an impact on me.”

Before the evening events kicked off, students were offered a special screening of the Sundance debut, Aliens Abducted My Parents And Now I Feel Kinda Left Out directed by DGM alumnus, Jake Van Wagoner. The screening was then followed by a Q&A session, where students were able to interact with Van Wagoner and two of his producers: Jeremy Russo and Micah Merrill.

Later, a mixer was arranged for attendees where they were treated to live music from students and alumni from the Digital Audio program. Students were also given the opportunity to network with a variety of professionals within the industry. This allowed for students to ask questions regarding the inner workings of the field and meet with many alumni offering one-on-one mentoring. Moreover, attendees took this time to socialize with others from the DGM program as well as in-person portfolio reviews.

“The event was so much more than we anticipated,” Brown said. “Throughout the entire day there was great energy in the room, people were happy to be there and network.”

The 20th anniversary celebration wouldn’t have been made possible if it weren’t for Mike Harper’s vision and his team’s incredibly hard work. Hundreds of hours went into planning this event, from countless meetings with faculty pulling together resources to even student volunteers rallying together. It was truly a huge collaborative effort. "The DGM 20th Anniversary event was a blast!” stated student volunteer Alex Strasburg “It was exciting to work with our amazing faculty and staff in planning the conference.”

This year’s celebration was just the beginning; a blueprint for many more engaging and insightful conferences to help grow our students and the future generations of digital media.


To learn more about UVU’s Digital Media Program please visit:


And for more information on the History of UVU’s Digital Media Program:


20th Anniversary Event Photos

Professor Michael Harper with Tom McFarland     Student listening to a speaker     Students waiting to in line for registration

Professor Jenny Mackenzie with Speaker    Students at the Photo Booth    Guests at the Registration Booth

People at the 20th Anniversary Event     Professor Alex Nibley     Lanyards

Students getting pizza    Networking Activity    VR Demonstration


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