Meet Kim Allan Brunisholz BS'05 MS'11 PhD'15, the new president of the U Alumni Board of Governors. You might remember her from her days as a Red Rock gymnast (2001-03). She now serves as a senior scientist and federally funded researcher with the Intermountain Healthcare Delivery Institute. To help get to know Brunisholz, we asked her about some of her favorite aspects of being a U alumna and her goals as board president.
Which is your favorite U sporting event? Of course, I am a Utah gymnastics Red Rocks fan first and foremost! However, when I was a student-athlete on campus, our athlete community was so tight-knit that we tried to cheer on all sports including club sports. The little-known secret was that I was even an honorary women’s soccer player because I was the loudest cheerleader at all of their games. I even got to witness the first time the team beat “the team down south” back in the early 2000s!
Favorite piece of U swag? When we were patching our ceiling in our 1860s home below Rice-Eccles Stadium, we found an issue of The Chronicle “Utah’s Collegiate Weekly” from February 28, 1910, that was being used as insulation. This piece of university history has ZCMI ads, describes the showdown between the “Varsity Five” (men’s basketball) and LDS High School for a score of 67-20, and reports a record number of students (1,618 students enrolled), instructors (125), and departments (33) for the new school year of 1910.
Favorite spot on campus? The Fieldhouse! When I was an undergrad and competing as a student-athlete, I also had the great fortune to be employed at Campus Recreation Services. Working on campus as an international student (I am from Canada) allowed me to plug into campus in a different way than I experienced as a student-athlete. I connected with other students like me and fortunately met world-renowned faculty, staff, and other alumni when I checked them in for their tennis and racquetball court appointments. Outdoor Recreation introduced me to the amazing beauty of the state of Utah and got me hooked on everything outdoors. The campus experience provides so much more on top of a stellar college education. I joke with my husband about working on a fourth degree so I can become a student and live on campus again.
How did you know the U was for you? I remember the exact moment when I knew for sure that I wanted to be a Ute! I was on my recruiting trip, and Megan Marsden had taken us recruits to the Einstein’s bagel shop on 1300 East below campus before we started our activities for the day. As we approached the counter to order, she said that the team was ready to make an offer and wanted me to be a future Red Rock. As a recent high school graduate from a small town in Canada, this was my first introduction to college life. But I knew instantly after the campus tour, meeting my future teammates and coaches, and setting eyes on the Huntsman Center for the first time that I wanted to become a Ute for life. I committed then and there. And then, in true Megan Marsden fashion, she kindly reminded me that I should probably ask my parents first before making an international, multi-year commitment.
What are some of the initiatives you’ll be working toward as board president? While I am very early in my U Alumni office appointment, I feel strongly about the opportunity to engage our broad and diverse 200,000-plus U Alumni community. We need to identify new ways to connect alumni of all ages and experiences back to campus but also meet them where they live, learn, work, and play. As alumni, I think we would all agree that we have a core ethos to pay it forward to help current and future students. In 2019, we raised over $1,000,000 in scholarship dollars while working closely with campus groups and colleges/departments to align our scholarship process and identify those who need our help. We’re well-positioned to focus on areas of need such as networking and careers, diversity and inclusion, and identifying ways alumni can really make a difference in the lives of students.
What aspect of working with alumni are you most excited about? Because of the strategic changes that outgoing U Alumni leadership made, the stage is set for us to really capitalize on what it means to have graduated from our institution. For example, we have eliminated membership dues. Our Board of Governors consists of members with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and professions and focuses on initiatives that align directly to the vision and mission set by President Ruth Watkins. Our staff is expanding our Alumni Clubs across the country and beyond. I get really excited about engaging our alumni and their families with the institution over the course of their lives. Our love for the U and our experiences need to be scaled to others!
Brunisholz will lead with president-elect Glenn Seninger BS’88, a group vice president for North America at Oracle Inc. U Alumni extends a warm thank you to outgoing leaders Joe Sargetakis BA’80 and Susan Porter BS’85 MSW’88.