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To celebrate the founding of the University of Utah in 1850, the Alumni Association each year recognizes alumni and honorary alumni who have excelled professionally, served the local and national communities, and supported the university in its mission.


Founders Day scholar Sydney Chan accepts her award from University of Utah President David Pershing on March 3 at Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. (Photo courtesy of Dave Titensor, UMC). Click on the link below for a photo gallery of the event. 


2017 Founders Day

On March 3, 2017, University of Utah President David Pershing gave welcome remarks to a large group of guests that included members of the corporate, nonproft and university communities during a special evening at Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. Pershing also recognized Sydney Chan, our 2017 Founders Day scholar. KSL’s Deanie Wimmer emceed the event, which honored four distinguished U alumni and one honorary alumnus:

Distinguished Alumni


Pamela Cipriano
PhD’92 is a longtime health care executive and leader in nursing who is currently president of the American Nurses Association, which represents the interests of the nation’s 3.1 million registered nurses.

Click here for her video tribute.



David Jorgensen
BS’61 is a philanthropist and Silicon Valley high-tech entrepreneur who has supported more than 40 promising University of Utah engineering students with scholarships for up to five years of funding.

Click here for his video tribute.



Miriah Meyer
PhD’08 is a groundbreaking young computer scientist whose work focuses on the design of visualization systems that help researchers make sense of complex data.

Click here for her video tribute.



Alan Sullivan
JD’74 is an esteemed attorney who obtained the largest jury verdict in Utah state courts and led in establishing ongoing private funding of pro bono legal services for Utah’s most vulnerable citizens.

Click here for his video tribute.


Honorary Alumnus


Bruce Bastian
(B.A. and M.A., Brigham Young University), co-founder of WordPerfect and a major philanthropist toward LGBTQ equality, has long supported the U in areas from the arts to the humanities to the U hospital.

Click here for his video tribute.


Read more about each of our honorees here.

Click here for a list of past Founders Day award recipients.
To commemorate the founding of the University of Utah in 1850, the Alumni Association each year honors alumni and honorary alumni who have distinguished themselves professionally, served the local and national communities, and supported the university in its mission. Read about this year's honorees in our feature here.





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