About This Scholarship

Donor Biography

Lawrence Keith Gates grew up in the Black Canyon near Antimony, Utah and earned an Associate's degree from the Branch Agricultural College, now Southern Utah University. He and Ora Bills Gates met at Utah State University where he was majoring in Pre-Med and she in English and Library Science. Keith was an ophthalmologist in Logan until his retirement. For most of his adult life he was a dedicated member of Lions Clubs International and served for three years as an International Director, a position which took Keith and Ora all over the world to meetings and speaking engagements. Keith also served a term in the Utah State House of Representatives.

This scholarship in their memory reflects their support of education for students who are children of single parents, have strong personal values, and are from a county south of Juab.

SUU had a significant influence on the Gates family. They lived in a remote canyon on a dirt road 10 miles from Antimony, Utah. In 1931, Keith's mother was widowed, leaving her with four young children to raise on her own. She was truly a remarkable woman who finished 8th grade but was unable to continue her schooling. However, she valued education. Ten year-old Keith was her eldest and was an excellent student at Paiute High School and a good enough athlete to earn scholarship offers from schools in Utah and Arizona, but he chose to go to SUU (then BAC) because it was the closest to home. In the fall of 1938 he hitchhiked to Cedar City at age 17 with everything he owned in a cardboard suitcase, along with $50 in cash.

At BAC his ""scholarship"" was a tuition waiver and a job passing out towels in the locker room. During the fall, one of his teachers, David Sargent*, asked Keith if he had ever considered going to medical school. At that moment, the trajectory of his life changed forever. When he told his mother that he wanted to be a physician, she cried because they were virtually penniless and she knew that she wouldn't be able to help him. Thankfully, Keith's wife, Ora, who graduated from USU prior to their marriage, was hired as the Engineering Librarian at the University of Utah Library, and helped support Keith in pursuing his dream.

After Keith graduated from BAC he earned a Bachelor's degree from Utah State University and then graduated with an M.D from University of Utah medical school. He completed his ophthalmology residency and earned an M.S. degree at University of Michigan.

*David Sargent is the grandfather of Eric Schmutz, President of State Bank of Southern Utah

Scholarship Criteria

Will be awarded to students who are from a Utah county south of Juab County and who are the child of a single parent. Students must abstain from all alcohol and coffee beverages, abstain from tabaco use, and engage in regular service projects.


Varied Dollars/yr


  • Opening: November 1
  • Final: March 1

If you any questions about your financial aid or need help applying for a scholarship you can contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@suu.edu or call (435) 586-7735.