UVU Alum Thomas Dilworth Brings Hoops Team to Visit UVU and Utah Jazz

Utah Valley University has a seat for all its students during and after graduation. And through making connections with UVU alumni, you just might score premium seats at a Utah Jazz game.


Utah Valley University (UVU) has a seat for all its students during and after graduation. And through making connections with UVU alumni, you just might score premium seats at a Utah Jazz game.

UVU hosted alumnus and Big Sandy Organics owner Thomas Dilworth and his young men's varsity basketball team from Big Sandy High School, Montana for a tour on March 28. Farah Sanders, professor of public relations and strategic communication and Dilworth’s former teacher, said she was willing to help. She introduced Dilworth to her past student Chris Bailey, senior vice president of business development and premium seating at the Utah Jazz. He then secured VIP treatment at a Utah Jazz basketball game for Dilworth’s team. 

Big Sandy, the players’ hometown, is small compared to Utah County, and many of the players had never left the state of Montana. Dilworth, a former public relations student, thought it a stellar chance  to provide an educational and networking opportunity for the team, and UVU was key in helping make that a reality.

As part of their UVU tour, they ate lunch on campus and visited everywhere from the sport courts to the Roots of Knowledge exhibit.  Dilworth said that spending time on campus piqued the boys’ interest in UVU. One boy on the team with autism and his parents even learned about the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism on campus. 

It was valuable for the boys, Dilworth said, to be exposed to new things they’d never seen before, experience a new place, and realize what types of future opportunities they have. The boys were impressed by the size and scope of the school, and they especially loved the gym in the Student Life and Wellness Center (SLWC). “You could see their eyes getting big,” Dilworth said. 

That evening, Chris Bailey with the Utah Jazz seated Dilworth and his team in the first few rows. The team attended an early practice and watched all of the athletes warm-up before other fans were permitted in, and they all were featured on the jumbotron as well. Bailey then provided exclusive access for Thomas and his team to the VIP room, where they were treated to food, desserts, and an all-inclusive Utah Jazz experience.

“They've never really experienced anything like that,” said Dilworth. “And then they got bracelets to go into the Toyota room and eat the buffet and all the free food. I think they got some swag bags too. They just treated us like royalty.”

Bailey, who has been working with the Jazz for ten years since he graduated from UVU, said he is impressed that Sanders is still engaged with alumni. “Obviously, right now, it's tough to get access to things with the jazz because it's such a hot and popular ticket and we've sold out for over 180 games in a row,” said Bailey. But he said since Sanders was willing to reach out and help them connect with one another, Bailey was able to accommodate Dilworth’s team. “I thought that it was really cool that Farah went out of her way to help Thomas.”

“By staying connected, our UVU Alumni help not only the private sector in terms of business development but also are able to offer opportunities for up and coming generations,” Sanders said. “They are championing the importance of education and showcasing what hard work and dedication can bring after graduation.”

Bailey said that using the university as a resource to meet other alumni opens doors. “It can give people access to opportunities that they wouldn't have outside of university,” he said. “Jobs come and go, but the connections you made through school and through the workforce are what continue on. It’s important to continue to make those connections.”