Scholarship established for students committed to serving LGBTQ+ community

When asked what cause is close to their hearts, Rudy Barela ’83 and his husband David Karjola hope for a world with more collaboration and less polarity. They want a world their nieces who are just starting families can thrive in. “Growing up, we never experienced the division in our society today. It’s unsustainable. People need to be open to the exchange of ideas and open to opinions that differ from their own. Being a gay couple, we are fortunate to live in an area that is very accepting of us.”

Rudy who is a CPA and regional controller for a large construction company, and David, who is in real estate, have endowed a scholarship that will be housed in the LGBT Resource Center. The scholarship will be awarded to students with financial need with preference for those earning business or nursing degrees who are committed to serving the LGBTQ+ community through their chosen career fields.

The Barela-Karjola Scholarship will be funded with a charitable bequest through their estate. In establishing the gift, they become members of the Dr. John R. Park Legacy Society. Dr. Park, the first president of the University of Utah, left his entire fortune to the university. That same spirit lives on today through donors like Rudy and David.

“We decided on the gift to the U to help others who may not have the resources that we had when we were in college. Life and college are challenging enough. If our gift can make that challenge just a little bit easier, it is well worth it.”

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