Sorenson Legacy Foundation donates $15 million to U of U


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The Sorenson Legacy Foundation is donating $15 million to the University of Utah to help build a new, state-of-the-art research facility.

In the past 13 months, the Sorenson family has given $33 million to the University of Utah. This $15 million will begin construction on a new facility which aims to develop future technologies.

"This building will be enormously valuable," said University of Utah President Michael Young.

It's a sophisticated, 193,000-square-foot research facility. Inside, students and professors will study biomedical and neurosciences in an effort to create and advance health care technologies.

James Lee Sorenson, with the Sorenson Legacy Foundation
James Lee Sorenson, with the Sorenson Legacy Foundation

"[We're] working to create jobs and an economic impact here in the state of Utah," said James Lee Sorenson, trustee of the Sorenson Legacy Foundation.

The first major step toward completing the project comes in the form of the $15 million donation from the family of the late medical device inventor, entrepreneur James LeVoy Sorenson. The building would be aptly named after him.

"We see it as a very fitting way to recognize, as a family, our father's life," James Lee Sorenson said. He talked about the plans late last week with Young.

"At the end of the day, we're not only producing great knowledge, but we're producing the next generation of great scientists," Young said.

The building will sit on what is now 11 acres of the University Golf Course. It will become not only the focal point of a new quad linking upper and lower campuses, but the heart of the state's $500 million Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative, known as U-STAR.

"It's an extraordinary coming together of lots of wonderful strands," Young said.

U-STAR will invest another $100 million in tax dollars into the facility, but the university still needs to raise an additional $15 million to complete the project.

Blueprints and plans for the project are not final yet, but the university hopes to break ground by next summer. Its goal is to complete construction by 2012.

E-mail: wjohnson@ksl.com

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