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Gala Up with People Event Raises more than $100,000 for Archives Project

<p>Courtesy <em>The Arizona Bilingual Magazine </em>and<em> Up with People</em></p>

Courtesy The Arizona Bilingual Magazine and Up with People

Date: April 16, 2012

Contact: Chrystal Carpenter


On Friday March 16, 2012 the Friends of the University Libraries hosted a gala event to kick-off the Up with People (UWP) Archive Project.  As the repository for the UWP archives the project is an effort to actively develop a living archive to showcase the contributions and global impact of UWP historically and into the future. The support garnered from the project will enhance the creation of digital projects, the collection of additional materials, and the development of an oral history project focusing on alumni and host families.

I cannot think of a better way to launch an active archive project than through a gala event that emphasized the unique bond between UWP, Arizona, and our region than through music, history, and a celebration for the future. The gala started the moment one set foot in the foyer of the Student Union Grand Ballroom; flags of the world marked the path towards the foyer and once inside materials from the UWP archives including original posters, cast photographs, records, and a costume highlighted the reason why we were all there. As Carla Stoffle, Dean of University Libraries, stated in her opening remarks “an archive, if it is to be a living archive, must continually grow and evolve to better reach, educate, and inspire its future audience – the UWP family and scholars. Our vision is a collection, both digital and physical, that will illuminate the Up with People experience and the group’s impact around the world.”

As the gala commenced, UWP music was all around, starting with the sound of the Universal Drums kicking off the celebration. Dana Cooper, UWP alum and KUAT host, set the stage for the nights’ festivities. One of many highlights from the evening was the singing of the Mexican and U.S. national anthems and the beautiful message from Señora Margarita Zavala de Calderón, First Lady of Mexico, showcasing the importance of the relationship between UWP, Mexico, and the world community.  

As the evening commenced attendees were treated with performances by the current Cast A of Up with People which included the song “De Que Color Es La Piel de Dios” with Tucson’s own Jessica Rojas, the entertainment of Grupo Danza Xunutzi from Sonora Mexico, and the song “El Puente” was performed by the founding musical talent of UWP, Paul Colwell and Herb Allen.

The event included a number of familiar Up with People faces including more than 15 former board members, founder J. Blanton Belk and his wife Betty, UWP President & CEO Alain L. Thiry, President of the UWP International Alumni Association Jeff Zadroga, and other supporters of the UWP family including Captain Eugene Cernan, the last man on the moon. All speakers detailed the rich history of UWP, its community engagement, and the importance of preserving and continuing the positive legacy of UWP through the development and support of an active archive program to be stewarded by the University Libraries.

As the final “Viva La Gente” united the crowd in song and brought the event to a close, it was just the beginning for the UWP Archive Project.  The support of the project continues through the Up with People Tree of Nations, which will raise funds to build an everlasting tribute to the Up with People spirit. Special Collections is also currently working on archivally processing the UWP archive and will have the materials accessible to the UWP family and scholars this summer. If you would like to support the Up with People project by contributing to the Tree of Nations, please contact Laura Bender, Director of Development, at benderl@u.library.arizona.edu or (520) 621-3485.  

Chrystal Carpenter is the Manuscript & Congressional Archivist in Special Collections at the University Libraries. She cares for hundreds of collections including those of political figures, Vaudeville and performing stars, Up with People, notable personalities and well-known authors.

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