Faces of UVU: David Larsen

David Larsen with fire truck in background

Major: Emergency Services/ Management

Graduated:  May 2017

As a young man, David Larsen began his college experience as a criminal justice major at Utah Valley University, but because of family responsibilities dropped out of school to work. Twenty years later, he went back to finish what he started. He earned an associate degree in emergency services as a fire officer, and then his bachelor’s in emergency services management from UVU.


Returning to school had its challenges. Larsen had a firefighting career to balance, and the schedule was anything but typical. Firefighters work 48 hours on and 96 hours off — and the schedule rotates, which made it important for him to find a university with a program to fit his schedule.


UVU’s online classes were perfect. Larsen was able to complete 100 percent of his courses using the internet from home and work. 


The highlight of Larsen’s UVU experience was participating in an international emergency services study abroad program that took him to seven countries in the Balkans region of Europe, where he was able to visit and teach in seven countries. His assignment had two components: work with university students, and work with local public safety and local government officials. 


While at the universities, he was able to teach the intricacies of setting up a community emergency response team, allowing him to interact with local officials, agencies, and departments similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).


He worked with local public safety professionals, including the Macedonia Rescue and Protection Directorate, the Kosovo Academy for Public Safety, and the Ministry of Security in Bosnia and Herzegovina. UVU was able to foster a relationship with the governments with the intent to do future student exchanges and share programs. 


Since graduating, Larsen has become chairman of the Utah Joint Council of Fire Service Organizations. In this position, he reviews all legislation regarding fire service in Utah and provides education and support to Utah legislators.


“The emergency services program at UVU does an excellent job at making it easily accessible and available to working professionals,” Larsen said. “The program has been very well designed to accommodate these people.”