Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL

UVU receives ‘game-changing’ $17.7 million donation from doTerra

By Kim Bojorquez, KSL | Posted - Sep. 27, 2019 at 6:03 p.m.

6 photos

OREM — Utah Valley University and doTerra, the Utah-based essential oils company, have entered a “game-changing” relationship.

Over the next 10 years, doTerra will donate $17.7 million to UVU — making it the second-largest donation ever received in the school’s 79-year history.

UVU President Astrid Tuminez said the donation is a “game-changer” for students and the university that “will bolster everything that we have to offer from the arts, sciences and athletics.”

The announcement, organized at the school’s library Friday, received a standing ovation from the audience members made up of UVU students, employees, educators and doTerra employees.

“It doesn’t happen every day,” Tuminez told the audience.

The majority of the funds will be allocated to support the school’s athletic programs and help fund a new wellness building for student athletes.

Jared Sumsion, athletic director at UVU, called the donation a “transformational gift” that will propel the athletic department into the future. He said the athletic department is currently split into two different areas across campus, which prevents him from seeing his student athletes on a daily basis. The new wellness building would place student athletes under one roof.

“Literally, their donation impacts every single one of our 350 student athletes in a positive way,” he said.

The donation could also jump-start other fundraising opportunities, Sumsion added.

“We want to win in the classroom, we want to win in competition, and we want to win in the community,” Sumsion said. “This allows us to do that.”

David Stirling, doTerra CEO, left, talks with Utah Valley University volleyball coach Sam Atoa and his players after Stirling announced on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, that doTerra would donate $17.7 million to the Orem university over the next 10 years. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL)

Additionally, the donation will fund student scholarships, online educational opportunities and other departments, like the Center for Constitutional Studies, the Noorda Center for the Performing Arts, the College of Science and the Women’s Success Center.

Tuminez noted that this year, women make up 48% of UVU’s enrollment numbers.

“We have the highest enrollment of women ever,” she said.

The partnership began after doTerra’s previous involvement with the school’s Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism and the Women’s Success Center.

“There was so much commonality of interest in what we wanted to do to help UVU students, and to help the economy here, to help families here,” she said of the partnership.

She said doTerra, based in Pleasant Grove, has 630 employees enrolled at UVU.

Growing up in Utah County, David Stirling, CEO of doTerra, said he’s watched the school transform from a trade school to a university.

“We are honored to be here and be a part of this new consummated relationship with UVU,” he said.

Tuminez said the company’s name will be added to the school’s landscape, like the doTerra Field at the UCCU ballpark, doTerra Wolverine Training Dome, doTerra Auditorium in the Pope Science Building and the doTerra Performance Center in the Rebecca Lockhart Arena.

Scott Cooksey, UVU vice president of institutional advancement, said it’s unusual for a “gift like this” to impact so many areas of the university.

“It’s helping students all across this university,” he said.

Utah Valley University basketball coach Mark Madsen, center, laughs while speaking with doTerra founding executive Mark Wolfert, left and UVU volleyball coach Sam Atoa after the company announced on Friday, Sept. 27, 2019, that it would donate $17.7 million to the Orem university over the next 10 years. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred, KSL)

Kirk Jowers, doTerra executive vice president of corporate relations, said the company places a strong emphasis on women’s empowerment. He said the company collaborated with UVU to decide which of the programs to fund and support.

“We just kind of got the feeling that with UVU, we had a real ability for our money to make it an even bigger impact than almost anywhere else we could find,” he said.

UVU’s growth and impact on Utah County was another factor to support the school.

“We live in and love Utah County and we know what a tremendous impact UVU can have on this entire valley,” Jowers said.

Jowers hopes the school’s donation inspires other organizations to donate and collaborate with the school.

Tuminez said the donation will go a long way for UVU, because the school has a smaller endowment compared to other institutions like Stanford University or Harvard University, where $100 million donations are barely felt.

“I encourage people with vision and means to think about helping us change our trajectory, because resources that come here go a much longer way. We are small, we’re young, we’re agile,” she said.

Earlier this month, UVU received a $10 million donation from Keller Investment Properties CEO Scott C. Keller and his wife and business partner, Karen Keller, to complete funding for the proposed 205,000-square-foot Woodbury School of Business.

The largest donation the school has ever received was $21.5 million from the Woodbury family in 2007.


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