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Voting With Dollars

New building for Woodbury School of Business will be more than ‘sticks and bricks’

By Barbara Christensen | Photography by August Miller

James and Andrea Clarke are proud supporters of Utah Valley University and donors to the Woodbury School of Business. James Clarke, chairman of the UVU Foundation, outlined some of the couple’s reasons for their support. 

I am incredibly excited about the growth at the Woodbury School of Business, although I am not an alumnus. I am in awe of what has taken place at this dynamic school in recent years. That Utah Valley University now houses the largest business school in the state is nothing short of amazing.

As business people who have hired graduates of other top universities in addition to UVU, we are finding a certain level of ‘hungriness’ and a ‘scrappiness’ in those coming from UVU. They are well prepared, but not entitled. They earnestly want to learn and add value to an organization. The UVU graduates make wonderful employees and future leaders in the organizations for which they work. They continue to strive for success and do not become complacent. Our organization has hired and promoted many very capable employees from UVU, and we are delighted with the product coming out of the Woodbury School of Business.

The business building at UVU is bursting at the seams. It is in our interest, as a community, to respond and create a place where we can adequately foster learning among our business students. We have an opportunity to make this building a ‘world-class facility’. The Woodbury School students deserve that, and the community we serve also deserves that. There are two principal ways in which to help the students in the near term — first by creating the environment in which they learn, and second, increasing the talent level we are able to bring to the business school. A great facility will help us continue to attract exceptional talent — both in terms of educators and in future students.

We are aiming for more than just “sticks and bricks.” We hope that laboratories, adequate study group and lecture spaces become part of this project. The new facility should capture the imagination and inspire a whole new class of business leaders. This facility will be a place they can call home — to which they will want generations to return.

Naturally, UVU’s alumni base is substantially smaller than those of more established institutions. The university will continue to reach out to alumni and the community as it seeks funding and support. The hope is that a new business building will help accommodate the job growth taking place within the state and its business sector. We would argue that no other university in the entire region is doing as much to serve the businesses and job growth of this state.

The reputation of UVU is catching up with the wonderful education offered to the students. We are delighted by the growth of the campus, but mostly by the increased quality of education offered at UVU today and into the future. 

I serve as chairman of the UVU Foundation Board of Trustees and Andrea chairs the Women’s Success Center Advisory Board. We see a very bright future for the Foundation, which raises funds for UVU initiatives including scholarships, buildings, and special programs. Serving at UVU has become the most gratifying work we do in education. We are building serious momentum to see our endowment grow and continue to serve future generations.

Donations will help provide the campus buildings and academic programs needed to keep pace with our growth. Perhaps what is most gratifying is that we are also building facilities to help students who would most likely not be able to attend a university were it not for the UVU’s mission. 

As UVU’s budget is substantially smaller than those of many other universities its size, it is clear that UVU is able to do a great deal with very little. That attitude has yielded a whole generation of hungry, scrappy, and hard-working graduates. Our educators focus on educating individuals and that is what allows our graduates to flourish. 

Andrea and I donated to the Woodbury School of Business campaign not only to help the school build a new building, but also as a way of voting with our pocketbooks. We sincerely believe there is no place on the planet where investment dollars (and we truly see this as an investment) make a greater difference than at UVU. 

We have allocated our efforts and resources to UVU in hopes they might inspire our colleagues and the legislature to add to and continue their support. UVU is “our” university, whether we have attended it or not.

While Andrea and I were not UVU students in our youth, if a bright UVU student were to invent a time machine, we believe we would both choose to return to a UVU education. Having studied at Harvard and Oxford — we believe it is truly that good.