This archived article was written by: Donnie Corwin
With the addition of the CIB, faculty and staff and the revival of the debate team, 2015-2016 has been a developmental year for USU Eastern. It’s amazing to see so many new changes coming to campus, but while the CIB rose from the ground, students in Price couldn’t help but tilt their heads and ask “where is the money for this coming from?”
It’s a great question, and one we find popping into our heads whenever a new undertaking happens on campus. Thankfully, it’s a question with a simple answer. Along with providing a quality education and a secure environment to do so, universities also have the responsibility of raising and managing funds to ensure these goals are not only met, but that students receive opportunities to advance and obtain success.
This is where Howard Shorthill comes in. Arriving at the beginning of the 2015 fall semester, Shorthill accepted the job of advancement officer for USUE and three additional regional campuses. The title of advancement officer means Shorthill is in charge of fund-raising for not only the university itself, but also for departments and programs that enhance student life which means Shorthill spends a great deal of time meeting with representatives and donors to ensure that USUE and its students “advance“ as an educational institution and as a student body.
“I am responsible for fund-raising efforts and the alumni association for Price, Blanding, Moab and the Uintah Basin campuses. As the advancement officer for these areas, I travel to these areas and help with donation processes. It’s a great opportunity to work with some excellent, caring individuals and companies,” Shorthill stated.
After obtaining a master’s degree in English from the University of Utah, Shorthill taught the same subject at a number of different universities. Now, Shorthill welcomes the new challenges and experience the job of advancement officer represents. He is a native of Orangeville, Utah, and is grateful to have returned home and the opportunity to get to know people in the area.
Shorthill has nothing but great things to say about the faculty at USUE. “They’ve been great to work with. They’re great at their jobs and they do so much. So many of our faculty and staff donate a portion of their salary to help fund scholarships and other learning opportunities. Many of their efforts go unnoticed, but I appreciate the love they have for our students and our campus.”
After years as an English professor, Shorthill knows many of the struggles and aspirations shouldered by the educators at USUE and wants to help them, “bring in the best students, those students that make them excited to teach,” and thinks he can do that in his new position.
You see, while institutional scholarships (such as the Eagle Award and the Chancellor’s Scholarship) are funded directly through the university, departmental scholarships such as awards to students in major programs typically run through the university’s advancement office. Shorthill wants our students to have the funding necessary to pursue an education and career that can help transform their lives.
Shorthill said, “I don’t want any money to go unused. We have hard-working students and I know what it’s like for some students who worry about holding a job, putting food on the table, all while maintaining a full class schedule.” He wants to make sure every dollar that can be used to help our students is put to that use, and is determined to get the job done.
What are the perks of being an advancement officer? What makes Shorthill get up every morning and go to work? Aside from working with students and faculty, the man in Reeves room 180 says he loves getting to know some of the amazing donors that use their money to better the school. “I’ve been able to meet with great people, residents who grew up in the area and went on to have successful businesses. Now they’re these philanthropists who just want to give back to the school and to the community that helped them to achieve their dreams.
“It’s touching to see. Most of them don’t even want to be rewarded or recognized for their donations. It’s one of those things that restores my faith in humanity,” Shorthill said.
With the donations Eastern has received of late, and with a growing number of sponsors at USUE, it’s hard to disagree with Shorthill’s hopes, and the students of USUE are grateful for these donors.