OREM, Utah ­­— Utah Valley University’s Women’s Success Center Scholarship Luncheon raised $477,172 in March to assist UVU students — such as Lexi Jackson.

“I am extremely grateful for the scholarship I have received,” Jackson said. “Without it, I would have struggled to pay for my education. This scholarship not only helps me but also allows me to serve and support other women on campus. I am very lucky to have this opportunity.”

Rachel Lund, senior director of the Women’s Success Center, said she is thankful for the renewed ability to offer a pathway forward for students in need. “The Women’s Success Center and the Wee Care Center rely heavily on the donations and the generous support of our community,” she said. “The return on community investment is significant.

“Our scholarship recipients retain at 17% higher rates than the institution, because once we get them here as a scholarship student, we also require them to do success coaching, which is a very holistic approach to student success and wellness, and there are academic benefits,” Lund said. “It’s a fantastic framework based on data and research. Having this money helps us reach those students and make sure that they are successful as they work their way through.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Women’s Success Center has expanded its services.

“We have both men and women who use our center, a majority of women, but we have LGBTQ students who come and find a safe place, we have non-traditional students, and we have parent-students who really need a place for their precious children while they’re trying to complete their degrees.”

Lund said the Center is prepared to help students with a data-based framework that can help all students.

The Women’s Success Center is also a catalyst for staff and faculty success. Two years ago, it created an innovative program to help female faculty complete research, leading more of them to become tenured.

“Only three percent of full-time faculty were women,” Lund said. “So we have a lot of adjunct faculty who are women, but not a lot who are progressing to that full-time tenured track — which is a big deal in academics. Part of the gap is based in the imposter syndrome that so many women feel.”

By closing that gap through inter-faculty mentoring programs, female faculty members are creating research opportunities for undergraduate students to also participate.

“You can’t be what you don’t see,” Lund said. “So we are helping our students see what they could someday be.”

UVU’s efforts to create an inclusive environment and promote women’s success recently led to Utah Valley University’s selection as one of the top 100 organizations in Utah that champion women by Inspire In Utah, an initiative of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.