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VSL Awards Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship to Stephenie "Rainey" Butler

Published: 03/22/2013
SALT LAKE CITY (March 2013) – Visit Salt Lake (VSL) recognized Stephenie "Rainey" Butler as recipient of the seventh annual Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship at its Annual Meeting March 21 at The Depot. The scholarship honors VSL’s former President and CEO, and her legacy to the Salt Lake hospitality community.

VSL’s Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship is bestowed annually to a female student at the University of Utah in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism of the College of Health. The scholarship honors Binger's example of a strong female professional in the hospitality industry, her mentoring of other women and VSL’s desire to remember her in a meaningful way. Dianne Binger served Visit Salt Lake—then the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau—and Salt Lake for 18 years, becoming President and CEO in 2001. A great leader and mentor, Binger sadly lost her long battle with cancer in March 2005. 

"We are honored to continue awarding this scholarship in tribune to Dianne as part of her legacy," said Scott Beck, VSL President & CEO. "She was passionate about paving the way for women in the travel and tourism industry, and I know Dianne would heartily approve the selection of Rainey for the scholarship in her name.”

A Utah native, Rainey spent most of her life hiking in the mountains, swimming at Lake Powell, visiting national parks and helping others experience the great joy the outdoor world brings to her. She has worked as a camp counselor, arborist and is an archery instructor, challenge course facilitator and skilled outdoor artist and photographer. She is currently a junior at the University of Utah, majoring in Parks, Recreation and Tourism, with an emphasis in Adventure and Outdoor Programming.

“Stephenie demonstrates many of the affirmative leadership qualities exhibited by Dianne Binger,” according to Sandra Negley, Instructor at Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. “She  is an outstanding student, is industrious and independent, and has a wonderful sense of adventure. She is so enthusiastic about sharing her love of nature with others."

"I believe that if I can help people realize the value of living actively and supporting our environment, they will carry that passion on to others and a ripple effect will occur,” said Rainey.  "Slowly a greater change will take place in our communities.”

Funding for this scholarship is a part of VSL’s Annual Meeting each year, with a goal of a $50,000 endowment that will fund the scholarship in perpetuity. Individuals or corporations interested in contributing to this fund can call the University of Utah Development Office at, 

Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Visit Salt Lake’s mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors while being a leader in environmental responsibility. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown. For more information on all that Salt Lake has to offer, go to