It was a pleasure for me and my wife, Dr. Sandi Pershing, to kick off another season of Partners in the Park. University Neighborhood Partners at the University of Utah is an important part of our vision to create a cohesive community. It connects west Salt Lake residents with higher education through mutually beneficial partnerships. This collaboration provides opportunities to residents, and insights and experience to researchers and students.
Since UNP began in 2001, amazing growth has occurred. While the population in the area has grown by about 10 percent, the number of U graduates has increased by more than 600 percent.
At the first Partners in the Park celebration of the season, we recognized the college graduation of nearly 300 west Salt Lake residents. This is the largest group of University of Utah and Salt Lake Community College graduates in the history of UNP.
Twelve scholarships were also awarded during the celebration. They will allow a dozen visionary, hardworking freshman and transfer students to pursue their dreams. Like Sandi and I, nearly all of the recipients are first-generation college students.
We are very proud of the accomplishments of University Neighborhood Partners and the success and opportunities it brings to the community.