SALT LAKE CITY (March 24, 2015) – Visit Salt Lake (VSL) recognized Gabrielle “Gabby” Olsen as recipient of the ninth annual Dianne Nelson Binger Scholarship at its Annual Meeting held March 10 at the Salt Palace Convention Center. 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 again honored to award 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 Gabby for the scholarship in her name.”

A native of Salt Lake, Olsen is currently studying Parks, Recreation and Tourism with an emphasis in sustainable tourism. “The outdoors have been an important part of my life,” she commented. Starting with camping and hiking, Olsen later found her passion for rock climbing and alpine skiing. She has traveled throughout extensively for rock climbing and in her sophomore year at the University of Utah, Olsen became president of the Uscend climbing club. “My life goal is to travel to a variety of countries around the world to further her knowledge and education in the field of tourism,” Olsen added.  

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 801-585-3205.

Visit Salt Lake is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. In partnership with Salt Lake County, Visit Salt Lake improves the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors with a strong commitment to sustainability and stewardship of the area’s natural environment. Salt Lake is a unique fusion of metropolitan and mountain; the towering Wasatch Mountains that embrace the Salt Lake Valley offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of the urban environment.