Memory of U law student lives on through endowment

When David Arapene Cuch unexpectedly died in 2007 at the age of 28, he was a law student at the University of Utah and was believed to be the first, and to this day the only, member of the Ute tribe to enroll at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. He died two months before commencement and received his juris doctorate posthumously that same year.

Cuch was born in 1978 and grew up on the Uintah and Ouray Indian reservation in eastern Utah and Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. with his mother’s Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah. During his short life, he accomplished many things. He graduated from Wasatch Academy in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, where he first realized his growing appreciation for education. He later graduated from Westminster College with a B.A. in economics and later received his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Utah.

Cuch cared about Indian youth and the future of Indian Tribal nations and wanted to help tribes in economic development and in the preservation of tribal sovereignty and indigenous rights. A newly created endowment in Cuch’s honor has been established to support future generations of tribal attorney.  The effort was announced at a May 2014 ceremony at Rice-Eccles Stadium Tower, where leaders of the Ute Tribe and the University of Utah joined the Cuch family to announce the new David Arapene Cuch Endowed Scholarship to support qualifying students from the Ute Tribe to attend law school at the U.

Funding from the endowment provides for two scholarships.  The first is for a student who is pursuing a juris doctor degree at the S.J. Quinney College of Law who is an enrolled member of the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation, Utah (or for a student who has at least one parent who is an enrolled member of the Ute Indian Tribe).  The second is for a student who is pursuing a juris doctor degree at the S.J. Quinney College of Law who is an enrolled member of Utah’s five Tribes (Ute Tribes, Northwest Band of Shoshone, Goshute Tribes, Paiute Tribes and Navajo Nation); or enrolled members of Wampanoag Tribe of Gayhead Aquinnah, Massachusetts, or is an enrolled member of member of any U.S. federally recognized Tribe (second priority).

For questions about these opportunities contact Kevin Carrillo, director of development at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. (kevin.carrillo@law.utah.edu).

David Cuch