November 24, 2015

By Amy McIff

NASC award

For its efforts in developing the Ute Proud program and accompanying apparel line, the Utah Heritage Collection, the Office of Auxiliary Business Development at the University of Utah has been granted the Edwin R. Golden Award for Inclusive Excellence by the National Association of College Auxiliary Services (NACAS). 

The most coveted award to be given by NACAS, the Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes exemplary service in promoting cultural awareness, diversity and on-going cultural education through auxiliary programs and activities.

An ideal fit for the award, the Utah Heritage Program brings together multiple University departments and two sovereign nations in an effort combining philanthropy, education, and business for the betterment of students and community members on both ends.

The Utah Heritage Collection, a division of the program developed by the Office of Licensing and Trademarks, now Auxiliary Business Development, seeks to share the story of the Ute Indian Tribe though the University’s licensing, retail and apparel merchandising platforms—all housed within Utah’s Auxiliary Services realm.

Leading the effort on the business and philanthropic fronts, the goal of the Heritage Collection is to generate revenue for exclusive use by the Ute Tribe to fund University scholarships and a variety of youth programs throughout the tribal region. 

Since the program’s launch in fall 2014, the Heritage Collection has experienced great success, generating more than $24,000 in royalties, one hundred percent of which is donated to the Ute Tribe.

“Ute Proud has been such a rewarding effort to participate in,” said Brett Eden, Director of Auxiliary Business Development. “It’s among the most sincere and honest efforts we could make in showing appreciation and support to our namesake, the Utes.”

Speaking to the program’s educational component, executed by the University’s marketing team, Eden added, “Having a deeper understanding of the Tribe and its culture has had a really positive impact on our students and fans. They’ve embraced their collegiate heritage with invigorated pride and respect which has been truly inspiring to watch.”

The byproduct of an official partnership forged in early 2014 between University administrators and the Ute Tribe, the Ute Proud program has incorporated the support of Utah Athletics, U Marketing and Communications, the University Campus Store and the Office of Auxiliary Business Development.

Gordon Wilson, Associate Vice President of Auxiliary Services, believes the Ute Proud program is a model of collaboration, worthy of consideration by other institutions seeking to maximize success in multiple areas of campus while also fulfilling their educational missions.

“This effort engaged many partners, each with their own objectives but sharing a common goal that once realized, yielded more than we had ever hoped for,” Wilson said. Of the Inclusive Excellence Award, Wilson added, “It’s encouraging to see the role that auxiliaries can play in advancing a program like Ute Proud. Reaching beyond our routine duties to more closely support education and diversity has been very satisfying and it’s nice to be recognized for that.”

NACAS is the nation’s leading organization supporting auxiliary services operations in higher education. It serves institutions in the U.S., Canada and around the world with business solutions, professional education and program support to advance the auxiliary services industry.