Sept. 2, 2004 — Former University of Utah administrator Lowell Bennion is remembered for his service to the community-visiting widows, supporting social justice issues, working with students on Saturday morning service projects, gathering and delivering food for the hungry and founding the Bennion Teton Valley Boys Ranch.
The University of Utah’s Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, named in the humanitarian’s honor, will remember him by hosting its first annual “Legacy of Lowell Service Day” on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.
Friends and alumni of the Bennion Center, as well as newly appointed University President Michael Young and his wife, Suzan Young, will participate in the activities of the day.
The event, planned to be low-key and simple, like Bennion, will begin with a farm-hand breakfast and information session at 7:30, on the west patio of the University’s Union Building, 200 S. Central Campus Dr. (1595 E.). Bennion Center student directors will present facts about Bennion Center programs and distribute bandanas. At 8:45 a.m., participants, who are urged to wear working clothes, will board buses and travel to the Community Services Council, located at 1025 S. 700 W., where they will sort and package food for distribution to needy individuals along the Wasatch Front. At 11:30 a.m. buses will shuttle participants back to the University where an awards luncheon will be held at noon in the Panorama Room. The program will feature a short video on Lowell Bennion, followed by a simple lunch of soup and bread. In recognition of his work at the Bend-in-the-River Urban Treehouse, Lon R. Richardson, Jr., will be presented with the Dan Wendleboe Continuous Community Service Award. Linda Hilton will receive the Chelsea Hale Creative Community Leadership Award for her work at Crossroads Urban Center as an advocate for the homeless. Both awards were founded in memory of former Bennion Center student leaders.
The “Legacy of Lowell Service Day” is the brainchild of David Allred, chairman of the event and this year’s Bennion Center Friends of Service Board president. Allred, former vice president of communication for the Utah Jazz, met Bennion in 1983 when Bennion visited him in his office and told him that the Utah Jazz needed to take a stand on community issues. When Allred asked him what he had in mind, he replied, “A food drive. Invite all the Utah Jazz fans to bring nonperishable food items to a game and we can build up resources at the food bank.” Allred reports, “The Utah Jazz had a food drive that year and have every year since then.”
Allred says the planning committee realizes the next generation won’t know Bennion. They only know him as a name, not as a person or individual. The purpose of the event is to connect those who didn’t know Lowell with those who did. And the most appropriate way to do this is to do what Lowell would have done-provide service on a Saturday morning, and then reminisce about him.”
Julie Mayhew, Bennion Center director of development, says Bennion was “very down to earth. So the whole point is to keep the event casual and informal. This is a great chance for students and faculty to roll up their sleeves and work together on a project that benefits the community.”