At the end of September SUU faculty members competed in the Grand to Grand Ultra Race to raise money to start construction of an on-campus daycare.
The group dedicated their race to fundraising for the Sorenson Legacy Foundation Child and Family Development Center. The proposed center will offer on-campus childcare and family support.
The inception of this project began when President Scott Wyatt and his wife, Kathy, heard the story of SUU alumna, Alayna Johnson.
Johnson was six weeks pregnant when her husband admitted he had a drug addiction and left her and their two other children. Being a single mom for 13 years, Johnson had no foundation for entering the work field and decided to go back to school. Attaining her SUU degree was difficult, but what proved more challenging was finding childcare for her new daughter Hope, who quickly became the face of the daycare fight.
After years of planning, the Wyatts gained approval for the remodeling of their mansion into the new center and planned to move into a smaller house on campus. However, the funds still weren’t available–which lead President Wyatt to look for a team to venture with him into the desert.
The three-man team, “SUU for Hope,” consisted of President Wyatt along with William Heyborne, associate professor of biology, and Johnny Oh, director of global engagement.
The seven-day race began Sept. 22 at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, climbed into Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and ended at the Pink Cliffs of Bryce Canyon. Consisting of six stages, the 170 mile-long trail ascended a total 18,000 feet in elevation through remote sand dunes and slot canyons. Each stage averaged about 28 miles a day, the longest being 52.6 miles overnight.
The Grand to Grand Ultra Race is the first self-supported stage race ever to take place in the U.S., meaning runners are required to carry a week’s worth of food, clothing and gear in their backpacks.
Out of 135 runners from 22 countries, “SUU for Hope” was one of six teams competing and crossed the finish line as the team leader. Through the Grand to Grand and other fundraisers, nearly $1.3 million has currently been raised for the center.
Professor of Communications, Jon Smith, with his T.V. Broadcasting class recorded the race and will tentatively premiere a documentary later this semester.
View photos from the week below:
Story By: Ansleigh Mikesell
Feature Photo By: Jon Smith