The idea to sell the naming rights to someone else came from the McKay family, said Val Hale, UVU's vice president for institutional advancement. He said the family decided 15 years was long enough and wanted to give someone else a chance to help fund the university.
"This was an unselfish gesture by the McKay family," Hale said. "We probably would not have moved forward [with renaming the building] without the McKay family."
But McKay's name won't be gone from campus. The name and the life-size bronze statue of McKay clad in scholar's robes that once stood outside the ticket office will be transferred to UVU's education building as a tribute to McKay's career as a teacher.
UVU President Matthew Holland said UCCU's agreement comes at a critical time.
"It's a much-needed infusion of resources at a time when the financial contributions from the state are being cut and the campus enrollment is growing in record numbers," Holland said. UVU's enrollment is expected to exceed 30,000 students this year at the same time the school is coping with a 12 percent budget cut.
While $250,000 a year represents less than 1 percent of UVU's budget, Holland said it is a significant contribution of private funds one he hopes will spur other donors.
Jeff Sermon, UCCU's president and chief executive, said the credit union and the university are a perfect partnership. UCCU originally began as a credit union for Brigham Young University students.
"Our members go to school here, so serving UVU is one way of serving our members," Sermon said.
He said UVU is a vital asset to the community because most UVU graduates stay in the area to work and raise families. And with BYU admitting fewer local students, UVU has assumed a bigger role in providing higher education.
By the numbers
Utah Valley University's events center, formerly named after educator David O. McKay, has a new name, UCCU Center, after Utah Community Credit Union paid $2.5 million for naming rights. Key facts about the center:
$2.5 million • What Utah Community Credit Union is paying for naming rights to the events center
65,000 • Square footage of arena floor
8,500 • Seats in the arena
500,000 • People who attend events annually at the center, ranging from concerts to athletic events