Beverley Taylor Sorenson spent her last thirteen years promoting arts education in Utah’s elementary schools. She was a determined and effective advocate, strong in her belief that “all children receive the best possible education, an education that includes the arts.” The Sorenson Family, through Beverley’s art works for kids! Foundation, has dedicated $45 million dollars to support sequential fine arts instruction for children and professional development for teachers statewide.
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation has donated over $3 million dollars to Southern Utah University to fund three components: the Emma Eccles Jones Teacher Education Building, an endowed chair position for elementary arts education, and scholarships and arts education programs. In 2006 the College of Education was named the Beverley Taylor Sorenson College of Education in honor of her generous support.
Beverley Taylor Sorenson always held the child first and foremost in her drive to bring dance, music, drama and visual arts into the classroom. Through her persistence, she persuaded the Utah State Legislature in 2008 to fund a $16 million, four-year initiative to hire fifty arts specialists to work side by side with teachers in the elementary classrooms. As she said, “Together we have faced many obstacles and seen many triumphs. Through it all one thing has continued to inspire us: doing what is right for our children.
Beverley’s passion for the arts began with music as a child. She recalled “We had a piano, in our home and mom saw to it that we all practiced.” Her older sisters, Helen and Virginia, were very talented and taught Beverley to play. While living in New York City as a young lady, Beverley took piano lessons from a concert pianist. In December 1945 while in New York City, she met the love of her life James LeVoy Sorenson. Three dates later he asked Beverley to marry him. They both loved young people, and together they enjoyed their eight children, grandchildren, and great grand children. In January 2008 James Sorenson passed away, having left a legacy of philanthropic public service.
Beverley Sorenson, a model of strength and energy, was more devoted than ever to bring arts education into every school in Utah. In July 2008 in Philadelphia the nation’s governors honored Beverley Taylor Sorenson as one of eight people recognized nationally for their public service. At the ceremony Governor Jon Huntsman called the Sorensons ”perhaps the most generous family in our state.” Beverley Sorenson believed a strong arts program will bring up test scores and foster a love of learning that will benefit Utah as a whole. When asked what motivated her to put forth so much effort and money into developing arts education in Utah’s elementary schools, her response was "because of my love for little children". Most recently, Beverley Taylor Sorenson made a generous gift of $6 million toward Southern Utah University's new center for the arts and arts education. The center is proposed to house a new Shakespeare theater and the Southern Utah Museum of Art.
On May 27, 2013, Beverley Taylor Sorenson passed away at the age of 89. The College of Education is grateful for the generous support of Beverley Taylor Sorenson and honors her lifetime of achievements in education.