Photo by Emily Jeppson, taken at the Badlands of central Utah

IMAGINE NEW HEIGHTS The climb is on as the U launches a new capital campaign.

Private philanthropy has always been central to the University of Utah’s story line and our ability to deliver on our mission at the highest levels. Today we’re stronger than ever, by all measures, from student achievement and graduation rates to health outcomes and patient satisfaction, and from scientific breakthroughs and new business start-ups to the performing stage and the playing field.

“There is a palpable excitement about the university’s future,” says Fred Esplin MA’74, longtime vice president for Institutional Advancement at the U. “It’s the perfect time to ensure that we have a solid foundation to better serve our students, the state, and the nation.”

It is in this spirit that the U celebrated the public launch of “Imagine New Heights” in September. Funds raised during this comprehensive campaign, which began in 2014 and is slated to run through 2022, will enable the U to accelerate its upward trajectory in the following five key areas:


Enhance our exceptional student experience by offering additional scholarships, investing in real-world experiences that enrich learning, and supporting student success initiatives


Lead biomedical discovery and transform health care by revitalizing our health sciences campus, pioneering a new era of precision medicine, and training the health care leaders of the future


Elevate research and engineer innovative solutions by creating new endowed chairs and professorships, establishing undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in STEM disciplines, and expanding research and sustainability programs


Enrich the arts, culture, and the human experience by creating learning and performance spaces for students in the arts, establishing endowed professorships and chairs in the arts and humanities, and supporting the cultural venues and organizations on our campus


Foster healthy, resilient, and inclusive communities by supporting university-community partnerships, expanding programs that advance diversity and inclusion, and investing in our student-athletes and sports facilities

Every day, thousands of students, faculty, staff, researchers, and health care providers work to imagine new heights and to make the University of Utah the University for Utah. The following pages are a sampling of these remarkable stories.

Our mindset is simple. And powerful. Imagine. Then Do.

$1.07 billion

committed to date

$111 million

donated by U alumni


alumni classes that have given


gifts recorded


gifts of less than $100

(July 2014 – October 2018)


Shannon McNatt is no stranger to rigorous training. The U senior and NCAA regional beam champion gymnast spends more than 20 hours training each week preparing for competition. And her dedication in the gym is paralleled in her coursework. She’s in one of the David S. Eccles School of Business’ most demanding majors, Quantitative Analysis […]

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Utah is at the heart of many recent environmental debates, ranging from national parks and water to land use and air quality. These crucial issues can seem impossibly complex, and finding solutions requires collaboration and creativity. Here are just two of many researchers exploring these topics from different perspectives. A cultural perspective: The data is […]

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Sayro Paw was 12 when she arrived in Utah from the Mae La Refugee Camp in Thailand. She recalls being totally overwhelmed by the language and cultural differences. “I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone,” she says. “I didn’t know anyone at school, and I couldn’t do homework.” Gradually things improved for Paw, especially […]

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For most people, a doctorate in human genetics isn’t a fallback career. But when Kristi Russell injured her hip as a tennis player at Weber State University, she says the injury changed the course of her education and profession. She asked her doctor, “Why would this happen to someone so young?” The doctor’s response: sports […]

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Derek Young BS’18 grew up in a town with just nine stoplights. And when he came to study biology at the U, the number of students was more than three times the population of his hometown, Price, Utah. While he was excited to be around other people who were passionate about learning, and he liked […]

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Whitney Bitner BS’18 started chemotherapy just three days before her senior year at the U. The math and statistics major had been diagnosed with nodular sclerosis classical Hodgkin lymphoma after she noticed a lump on her neck while vacationing with her family at Lake Powell. “It was just like, ‘How can this have happened?’ ” […]

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Service is in Daniela des Islets’ blood. Her father was an infantry officer in the Honduran military, and she’s been deployed with the U.S. Air Force twice, once in Afghanistan and once in Qatar. And now she’s studying biology, chemistry, and Spanish at the U, with plans to go on to medical school. “I wanted […]

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