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The University of Utah currently has 12 major construction projects under way.

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University Offers Deferred Enrollment Option

 

Photo by August Miller

The admissions-deferral policy for U students starts with the 2013 fall semester. (Photo by August Miller)

The University of Utah has begun a new admissions policy that allows new freshmen and transfer students to defer enrollment for up to seven consecutive semesters.

The policy goes into effect for the fall semester of 2013. The University made the change in late November 2012, to accommodate needs of students facing extraordinary situations such as illness, as well as students who decide to undertake military, humanitarian, or religious service. Requests to defer admission will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. “This is an important new provision in our enrollment direction, and we strongly encourage students to take advantage of it,” says University of Utah President David W. Pershing. “Freshman students who want to study at the U and are faced with other obligations will not have to sacrifice their educational future. A deferment grants them a spot in their class at the U, and we guarantee a seamless re-entry when they are able to return.”

Students must apply and be admitted to the University in order to be considered for a deferment. For continuing students, the University’s existing leave of absence policy provides similar continuity.

The change in policy came after The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced this past October that it would lower the age of eligibility for church mission service. A January report by the Utah System of Higher Education to the State Board of Regents notes that the impact of the LDS Church’s mission age change will vary among the state’s colleges, according to their student demographic makeup. Southern Utah University, Dixie State College, and Snow College expect a large impact, while the University of Utah, Utah State University, and Salt Lake Community College are preparing for smaller changes.

Most institutions expect to see enrollment decreases beginning this spring and continuing through the 2013-14 academic year, the report says. But those decreases are anticipated to be temporary, as many young men and women who serve LDS missions will return to campuses at a later date. Even so, the report says, with the younger missionary age, “there is also uncertainty as to whether re-enrollment will occur at the same rates as it does currently.”


University of Utah to Create Center for Impact Investing

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James Lee Sorenson

The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah plans to create the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing, through a $13 million personal gift from Sorenson (shown at left).

The new center will engage students at the University of Utah and partner universities in creating sustainable change on regional and global levels through high-impact social investment, innovative curriculum, and research.

The center “will provide unparalleled experiences for our students and faculty to participate directly in solving some of the world’s thorniest and most persistent societal problems,” says U President David W. Pershing.

The issues the center will address range from education and health care to housing, green energy, agriculture, and more.


University’s School of Dentistry to Be Built in Research Park

The University of Utah’s new School of Dentistry building will be located in Research Park and named after Ray and Tye Noorda in recognition of a $30 million donation.

The school was approved by the Utah State Board of Regents in July 2012 and will enroll its first four-year class of 20 students in fall 2013. “This is a historic step forward for dental education in Utah, and we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Ray and Tye Noorda and their family for making this school possible,” says G. Lynn Powell, founding dean of the new school.

According to the Noorda family, the donation exemplifies Ray and Tye Noorda’s passion for contributing to the public good, as well as fostering the innovation and research that drives economic development and job creation. Ray Noorda founded the software company Novell in the 1980s and died in 2006. His wife, Tye, and four surviving children all participated in making the decision to donate to the dental school.

Vivian S. Lee, the U’s senior vice president for health sciences, says the dental school will be an important partner with the U’s other clinical, research, and training programs in nursing, pharmacy, health, and medicine: “This new dental school helps move our health sciences programs to the next level.”


Liz Murray to Speak at University of Utah Commencement

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Elizabeth “Liz” Murray

Elizabeth “Liz” Murray—a writer and inspirational speaker whose life story From Homeless to Harvard has touched millions— will deliver the University of Utah’s general commencement address on May 2.

Murray grew up in the Bronx in the 1980s and ’90s, a daughter of cocaine-addicted parents, in a home where there were always plenty of drugs, but never enough money or food.

By age 15, Murray’s mother had died of HIV, her father had left, and she was homeless. She lived on the streets, riding the subway all night and eating from Dumpsters.

But with incredible determination against seemingly impossible odds, Murray finished high school in New York in just two years, received a scholarship from The New York Times, and graduated from Harvard University in June 2009.


University of Utah Professor Coaches Orcs and Hobbits

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Sarah Shippobotham

Sarah Shippobotham, associate professor and head of the University of Utah Department of Theatre’s Actor Training Program, recently returned from eight months working with hobbits and orcs and dwarves, as a dialect coach in New Zealand for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Shippobotham coached actors in several British accents as well as in the languages of Elvish, Dwarvish, and Black Speech. Shippobotham most often worked on the second unit, directed by Andy Serkis (Gollum himself).

“It was an amazing experience to work on such a huge production,” she says. “This was the first film I have worked on, and the sets were incredible.”

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