College at SUU Renamed to the Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of EducationJune 01, 2006
The College of Education at Southern Utah University has been renamed to the Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education. This is an unprecedented event for SUU, as no other colleges on campus have a person’s name attached to it.
This naming event immediately follows the Sorenson Legacy Foundation’s announcement that it will donating $2 million to the University’s College of Education, in addition to the March 2nd donation of a $1 million endowed chair for music education at SUU.
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation was established by the James LeVoy and Beverley Taylor Sorenson family to promote charitable, religious, educational, literary and scientific endeavors. It has contributed more than $5 million to SUU in the past six years.
“The Sorenson Legacy Foundation’s generosity comes at a pivotal time in the history of Southern Utah University, and especially of its hallmark teaching training program,” SUU President Steven D. Bennion says. “The Sorensons’ commitment to bolstering this program further guarantees excellence for the college’s faculty, the future education of SUU students, and for the countless students they will go on to teach.”
The donation will be used to help augment SUU’s College of Education, including construction of a leading-edge teacher education building that will be tied to the original teacher education building, “Old Main,” in the heart of the SUU campus.
“This naming of a college is an unprecedented event in the University’s history, ” says Bennion. “Southern Utah University is proud to have a college named in honor of this exemplary woman.”
Beverley Taylor Sorenson has dedicated many years of her life to improving the profession of teaching and enriching the lives of young people through education. In 1995, she founded Art Works for Kids (www.artworksforkids.org) which holds the mission to be a catalyst in supporting innovative and sequential fine arts education for Utah children in music, dance, visual art and drama through partnerships with universities, schools, school districts and community organizations.
“We are honored to support the mission of Southern Utah University to educate and train great teachers for Utah and its children,” said Beverley Taylor Sorenson. “Through its quality teacher training programs, this fine school will influence the lives of countless teachers and children for good.”
The Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education is accredited by the nation’s top accrediting agency, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The Passion of Beverley Taylor Sorenson
Beverley Taylor Sorenson may best be described as a Renaissance woman because she truly does have expertise and interest in many varied segments of life. Mrs. Sorenson has known her goals and dreams since she was five years old and worked hard toward achieving them ever since. Beverley states, “I have a passion for children that is a big part of my life.
“I knew I wanted to teach children when I was in Kindergarten,” She says with a twinkle of excitement in her eyes. Now, some 76 years later, she still pursues that dream of influencing children in a positive way with real passion.
As a child, she set three goals: become a teacher, save $1,000, and go to college. She worked for six hours each day at a local post office in Salt Lake City to accomplish two of those goals—work her way through a college degree at the University of Utah and save $1,000. Shortly thereafter she reached her other goal by becoming a Kindergarten teacher in a Quaker school in Brooklyn, New York.
Beverley came by her love of music and the arts naturally—by enjoying it within her home the entire time she was growing up. Her two elder sisters, Helen and Virginia, were very talented musically and took piano lessons on their way to becoming accomplished musicians themselves. The economic realities of the Depression dictated that Beverley take piano lessons from her older sisters, and that relationship helped form a very strong bond between sisters. “We had a piano in our home and mom saw to it that we all practiced,” remembers Beverley. She and her sisters took turns playing the piano and dancing while they provided entertainment at CCC camps shortly after the Depression. Beverley also took piano lessons from a concert pianist while living in her NYC apartment overlooking the Hudson River. Beverley’s love of the arts is also strong in the area of dance. She performed solo and with her sisters often. She loved to perform and remembers winning a jitterbug contest many years ago.
She met the love of her life in December 1945, when James Sorenson saw her at a Gold and Green Ball after church. He asked if he could escort her home and it was only three dates later that James asked for her hand in marriage. On July 23rd, the couple will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. They both love young people and together they enjoy their eight children, 48 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.
In the spring of 1995, Beverley walked into Lincoln Elementary School in Salt Lake City and witnessed the positive and life-changing effect the arts were having on at-risk students. It was that act that motivated her to found the Art Works for Kids Organization to bring sequential and ongoing quality arts instruction into Utah’s schools. More than 11 years later, the organization is growing and thriving across the state, thanks to Beverley’s solid commitment, leadership and dedicated team. “I usually spend a lot of my Tuesdays and Thursdays doing foundation work,” states Beverley. She continues, “Everything I’m doing is trying to give children the best.” James succinctly sums up the inspiration driving his wife with the brief statement: “Her power is in her heart.”