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UVU policy center named for Gov. Herbert will emphasize ‘important role of states’ in government

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Students walk across campus between classes at Utah Valley University in Orem on Wednesday, Aug. 28,

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — A public policy center at Utah Valley University named for Gov. Gary Herbert will emphasize the “important role of states” in today’s government, according to the governor.

A formal announcement at the governor’s annual gala Friday night shed more light on Herbert’s vision for the future center.

That vision will revolve around a focus on government at the state level, not on what’s happening in Washington, Herbert said.

Serving as governor has “emphasized to me that the role of states is significantly important, but is being forgotten and minimized by Washington, D.C.,” Herbert told gala-goers. “In fact, the best hope for America’s future is the states.”

He described Utah as “a great example in a country that needs a great example,” citing “unprecedented stability, success, and prosperity” for the Beehive State.

“Simply put, states are the best at solving people’s problems,” Herbert said, as “laboratories of democracy” and sites for innovative pilot programs.

As he prepares to step down from his position as governor, Herbert described the development of the center as a new chapter for himself and first lady Jeanette Hebert. After a decade in office, Herbert is not seeking reelection in 2020.

Utah Valley University President Astrid Tuminez praised Herbert for his role in “build(ing) UVU into what it is today” while serving as governor, lieutenant governor, and on the Utah County Commission. Herbert helped secure funding for the school and supported legislation that allowed the college to become a full university, she said.

“It is a great honor and pleasure for me tonight to say that Gov. Herbert is a man whose life shows us what one person can do to build an institution and build a community,” Tuminez said.

Herbert also served as an adjunct professor at the school, teaching classes on real estate for seven years. As a high school student, he took a drafting class at the university’s predecessor institution before going into the real estate business.

“It’s an opportunity and an honor to be a part of UVU and this institution that has been such an integral part of the Herbert household, now spanning five decades,” Herbert said. “The combined efforts of leaders like President Tuminez, the Utah Valley community, and things like the policy center will inspire and propel our next generation of entrepreneurs, educators, health care professionals, skilled workers and policy makers.”

The policy center will be housed in the soon-to-be-constructed Gateway Administration Building on the south end of campus, according to Utah Valley University spokesman Scott Trotter. That building will also include office space for the university president and other administration officials, lecture halls, and will connect to the new Scott C. Keller Building, home of the Woodbury School of Business.

A groundbreaking for the Keller building is planned for Nov. 11.

Along with offering lectures and internships, the Herbert policy center will have on display some of the governor’s personal keepsakes and memorabilia from his career, Trotter said. The display will be open to the public.  

The center will be established before Herbert’s term ends, but likely won’t be fully up and running until after he has left office, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office said.

Trotter said more information about the center will likely be available later this month.