When University of Utah officials cut the ribbon on the Honors College Friday, they won’t just be dedicating a new building. They will be ushering in a new emphasis on the undergraduate experience, embodied in the $30 million Donna Garff Marriott Honors Residential Scholars Community on the southeast corner of campus.
Its architects say the five-story, three-winged structure evokes the walled hilltop Italian town of San Gimignano, famous for its medieval towers, and the colonnaded forums of classical Rome.
But it also reflects a renewed commitment to student success through creating a vibrant campus life, a central pillar in President David Pershing’s new vision for the university.
"The board of trustees is in sync with the president," said trustees chairman Clark Ivory, a 1988 U. graduate. "We’ve done a lot to grow this amazing enterprise, but we asked ourselves, how much of the focus has been on the student?"