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Higher education grows in Utah

Now local students will have yet another major university in the region. Utah Valley State College will become Utah Valley University (UVU) on July 1.

This transition means more than a simple name change. For Utah Valley the change comes as a victory and a major part of their evolution from a local technical college into a regional institution of higher learning. Among other things, the institution was granted $10 million over the last few years to implement the change. Some of that money has made its way to Heber City campus and more will in the future.

At its main campus in Orem, UVU will launch its inaugural master’s degree program. Master’s degrees in education, nursing and business will all be offered within the next few years and new faculty will oversee all of these programs. Overall the university boasts of 70 new full-time faculty members.

Although these changes may not immediately affect the Wasatch Campus, the president of UVU does promise increased course offerings in Heber to begin soon. "We have a strategic plan to increase the number of degrees offered," said Shad Sorenson, Assistant Vice President. At the moment, the university plans to offer three management degrees in business, resorts/hospitality and general management. The university also plans to change recruiting procedures at their campuses and they will look to market the Wasatch Campus to students more actively in the future. Overall, UVU boasts of a higher caliber of incoming freshmen with entering GPAs more distinguished than they have been in the past.

Cameron Martin, Assistant to the President for Institutional Development and Planning, said "the greatest thing is that the students are now enrolled in an institution that bears the name ‘university.’ He also said that UVU has taken initiatives to be active in the state and increase their offerings over time. All students at the Wasatch Campus are eligible for classes at the main campus in Orem. Consequently, any student could take general education classes in Heber City and fulfill specific, unique, courses in Orem.

To celebrate the change UVU in Heber City has planned a substantial slate of events. The festivities will begin on June 23 and they will continue at the central campus in Orem a week later.

Scheduled for the Wasatch Campus is a cheerleading clinic to be held from 4 to 6 p.m. that day and led by the UVU cheer and spirit squad. Children from the ages of five to 18 will be eligible for the class and they will later demonstrate their routine to an audience during the live entertainment portion of the event in the evening.

Beginning at 6 p.m. the family fun fest will kick off and will feature all sorts of entertainment for both children and adults including bounce houses and other carnival-style activities. Staged entertainment will continue after 7:30 p.m. and will include a magician, recitals, choral performances and cloggers. The evening will conclude with the improv stylings of Comedy Sports, a troupe which takes suggestions from the audience and runs with them. The evening will wind down with a fireworks display.

To celebrate the transition much of Heber City has been painted green and banners with the new UVU logo have made their way throughout town.


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