January 30, 2013

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David Eccles School of Business Creates the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing

Press Release

January 30, 2013

The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah announced the creation of the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing. Created through a $13 million personal gift from James Lee Sorenson, the new Center will engage students at the University of Utah and partner universities in creating sustainable change on regional and global levels through high-impact social investment, innovative curriculum and research.

“The James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing will provide unparalleled experiences for our students and faculty to participate directly in solving some of the world’s thorniest and most persistent societal problems,” said David Pershing, president of the University of Utah. “The Center will be a global leader in the creation of new knowledge of how to solve widespread structural problems, while training a generation of transformative leaders in social impact investment.” To reflect these changes, the current James Lee Sorenson Leadership Pavilion at the David Eccles School of Business will be renamed the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing.

The James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing will serve as a growth platform for the University Impact Fund, a joint venture launched in 2010 by the David Eccles School of Business, the Melvin J. Ballard Center for Economic Self-Reliance at Brigham Young University, James Lee Sorenson and global impact investor Geoff Woolley. The Center will accelerate the work of the University Impact Fund, which cultivates impact investment expertise in students through real-world experience, while providing consulting and advisory services in the social entrepreneurship and impact investment sector. The Center will continue to focus on servicing the growth of the rapidly expanding impact investing sector through research and thought leadership activities. Lewis Hower, managing director of the University Impact Fund, will act as interim director for the new Center.

The problems the Center will address run the societal gamut, from healthcare and education to housing, sustainable and green energy, agriculture, and entrepreneurial livelihood training and development. In addition to its investment involvement, the Center will focus on research that fosters greater understanding of how free enterprise can be employed to create large-scale societal change; curriculum development, including a proposed minor in Impact Investing, to teach and train students; and applied market research that will disseminate the knowledge developed at the Center to a global audience. For both undergraduate and graduate students, the Center will provide a rich array of fellowship opportunities in social impact throughout the world.

“The University Impact Fund has been an indispensable part of my graduate education,” said Preston Robinson, a graduate student at the University's David Eccles School of Business working toward a dual MBA and MHA. “I have benefited immensely from the opportunity to work on real-world projects that have allowed me to apply classroom concepts and develop my skills. I have enjoyed the work environment and the diverse projects and people I am exposed to. This experience has been instrumental in guiding me in identifying a career path once I graduate.”

For more information about the James Lee Sorenson Center for Global Impact Investing at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, visit http://www.sgiicenter.com.

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