Qualtrics Co-Founder Scott M. Smith and Karen Smith Donate $25 Million for New Engineering Building at UVU

Qualtrics co-founder Scott M. Smith and his wife Karen Smith announced a $25 million gift to help fund Utah Valley University’s planned engineering building.


Above: A rendering of the planned Scott M. Smith Engineering and Technology Building at UVU. 

OREM, Utah — Qualtrics co-founder Scott M. Smith and his wife Karen Smith announced a $25 million gift to help fund Utah Valley University’s (UVU) planned engineering building. The building is part of UVU’s response to the state’s need for higher education to increase the number of engineers and computer scientists in Utah’s workforce.

The new building will be named the Scott M. Smith Engineering and Technology Building and the name of the college will be changed to the Smith College of Engineering and Technology.

“Karen and I are delighted to support UVU and its students in this way,” Scott Smith said. “Utah County is a special place for us. Our families settled Utah County in pioneer days, our children were raised here, and we started Qualtrics in our home in Provo. We want to give back in a way that will make an impact, honor my profession, and make Utah County a better place to live. We found the perfect match with UVU.”

The Smiths’ grant will jump-start the private fundraising campaign to raise the $40 million needed to start construction on the 180,000 square-foot, five-story building that will be located on UVU’s Orem Campus. UVU will also be seeking additional support from the state legislature for this transformational building.

“Utah Valley University is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year,” said Astrid S. Tuminez, president of Utah Valley University. “We honor those who sacrificed and worked hard to bring us to this point. We now celebrate Scott and Karen Smith and their visionary gift, which will lay the foundation for UVU’s next 80 years. Their generosity will benefit thousands of students — many yet to be born. They will change peoples’ lives and help fill a critical need to increase the number of engineers in Utah now and in the future.”

Addressing Workforce Needs with UVU Engineering Graduates

The Smiths’ announcement comes at a critical time when there is an urgent demand for more engineers and computer scientists in the state. Last year, Utah universities together produced more than 3,000 engineers and computer scientists, but there remained approximately 4,000 unfulfilled positions across Utah’s workforce.

Engineering and computer science graduates from UVU are particularly valuable in filling the demand created by technology companies in Utah County’s Silicon Slopes. According to UVU’s Institutional Research Department, UVU graduates stay and work locally. Eighty-four percent of graduates remain in Utah after graduation for at least one year and 76% are still in Utah 10 years after graduation.

Expanding UVU’s College of Engineering and Technology

There are more than 5,000 students in UVU’s College of Engineering & Technology, and that number continues to increase. Space is at a premium as hallways have been converted to student and faculty meeting places. The new building will solve the critical need for more lab and office space, classrooms, and conference rooms and will align technical infrastructure with existing and emerging technologies as the number of students grows.

Scott Smith began developing survey and statistical analysis software in the 1980s, online software in the 1990s, and founded Qualtrics in 2002 with the goal of making sophisticated research simple, accessible, and more cost effective. He is an industry expert in marketing research, having authored six books and more than 100 referred publications, many appearing in the top journals in his field. 

UVU offers nine accredited engineering or engineering-related programs that include civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, and software engineering, computer science, information systems, information technology, and construction management.

For more information about Utah Valley University’s planned engineering building, please visit the Engineering Building website.