|September 1, 2005 --
Lowell Bennion was fond of telling friends and neighbors, “Show
up in your grubbies on Saturday morning . . . I’ll put you
to work.” Those who knew Bennion, a former University of Utah
administrator and the founder of the Bennion Teton Valley Boys Ranch,
were well aware of his service to the community—and his penchant
for mobilizing them to assist in philanthropic projects, which included
visiting widows, supporting social justice issues, working with
students and gathering and delivering food to the hungry.
The University of Utah’s Lowell Bennion Community Service
Center, named in the humanitarian’s honor, will remember him
by hosting its second annual “Legacy of Lowell Service Day”
on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Admission to
the event is a non-perishable food item or items.
The event will be low-key and simple, like Bennion, and will begin
with a continental breakfast and information session at 8 a.m.,
on the west patio of the University’s Union Building, 200
S. Central Campus Dr. (1595 E.). Bennion Center student directors
will be on hand to answer questions about Bennion Center programs
as well as to distribute bandanas. At 8:30 a.m., participants, who
are urged to wear working clothes, will board shuttles and travel
to the Utah Food Bank, located at Salt Lake Community Services Council,
1025 S. 700 W., where they will sort and package food for distribution
to needy individuals along the Wasatch Front. At 11:15 a.m. participants
will be shuttled back to the University where a luncheon will be
held at 11:30 a.m. in the Crimson View, formerly the Panorama Room.
The program will feature a short video on Bennion, followed by a
simple lunch of soup and bread. Two awards will be presented at
the luncheon. The Dan Wendleboe Continuous Community Service Award
will be given to Lis Jacques, an art and chemistry student, in recognition
of her volunteer work in the community. Cynthia Bourne will receive
the Chelsea Hale Creative Community Leadership Award for her service
work that has impacted local, national and international communities.
Both awards were founded in memory of former Bennion Center student
Last year’s event attracted 150 participants—community
members, U students and administrators and friends and alumni of
the Bennion Center. Volunteers bagged more than 55,000 pounds of
food in just under three hours.
Called the “patriarch of Utah volunteerism,” Bennion
taught in the U’s Sociology Department, directed the U’s
LDS Institute of Religion and was associate dean of students at
the U. At age 64, he retired from academia. In 1977, while serving
as director of the Community Services Council, he founded the Utah
Bennion’s service on numerous community boards was instrumental
in charting the direction of many state and private agencies. He
received numerous awards and honors throughout his life, including,
in 1989, being named as one of 100 “Most Caring People in
America,” by the Caring Institute, in Washington, D.C.
Marshall Welch, current Bennion Center director, notes that the
purpose of the Sept. 17 event is to give participants a snapshot
of Bennion and his commitment to service by mirroring one of his
Saturday morning projects. “And, of course, we want to energize
current, past and future student volunteers, leaders, alumni and
donors to carry on his legacy and the work of the Bennion Community
Center through community service.”
Karen Hale, chair of the “Legacy of Lowell Service Day,”
says “This is a great chance for students and faculty to roll
up their sleeves and work together on a project that benefits the
For more information on or to RSVP to attend the “Legacy of
Lowell Service Day,” call 801-585-0017 or visit http://www.sa.utah.edu/bennion/.
Those planning to participate should RSVP by Sept. 12.
The Bennion Community Service Center at the University of Utah partners
with community agencies to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities
for University students, faculty, staff and alumni, while educating
them about social, cultural and legal issues. The Bennion Center
offers 110 service-learning courses each year and sponsors more
than 40 student-directed programs. Each year nearly 6,000 Bennion
Center volunteers donate more than 150,000 hours of community service
to a variety of projects.