Marquardt Peace and Possibility Speaker Series
Bruce Bastian, 2018
Bruce Wayne Bastian was born in Twin Falls, Idaho. He was the fifth of six children in a conservative, Mormon family, and lived in Twin Falls until going to Utah to attend Brigham Young University in Provo. He received a BA in Music Education and an MA in Compertuer Science from BYU. After leaving, BYU, Mr. Bastian and his faculty advisor, Alan Ashton, decided to take a chance and started a small software company offering word processing software on mini computers. In 1983, soon after the IBM Personal Computer was announced, Mr. Ashton and Mr. Bastian rewrote their word processing product to run in the PC world.
The Product was named WordPerfect. Until the mid 90's, Mr. Bastian served as Chairman of WordPerfect Corporation. and also directly led all international operations of the company. WordPerfect became the best selling wordprocessor in several regions of the world as well as the USA.
Since the merger of WordPerfect and Novell Corporation in 1994, Bastian has spent an increasing amount of time devoted to charitable causes and philanthropy. Bastian's foresight and generosity have provided more personal and financial support to local LGBT organizations than any other single individual. He is also a major donor for several national LGBT organizations.
Bastian learned of the need for equality from his father who taught him to be free from prejudice and give back to those less fortunate. Bastian recalls stories of how his father gave food from the family-owned grocery store to those who needed it, and how his father and older sister took food to black musicians who were not allowed to enter the all-white restaurants in Idaho before the Civil Rights Era of the 60's.
His foundation, the B.W. Bastian Foundation has adopted a policy of only supporting organizations that wholeheartedly embrace the principle of equality for the LGBT community. Bastian's philanthropy encourages commitment on programs and organizations that benefit, encourage, and perserve the rights of individuals, and promote equality for the LGBT community. Bastian's philanthropy encourages action by empowering institutions who work for human rights and social change from grass roots organizations to national political institutions. Because of his belief that the arts inspire people to be their true selves and open their lives from inside, Bastian has been a supporter of many performing arts organizations including those at the University of Utah, Ballet West, and the Utah Symphony and Opera. His funding also includes environmental organizations, wildlife funds, and homeless shelters. Political committees and candidates nationwide have been recipients of his funding. AIDS research and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender groups have greatly benefitted from Bastian funds.
Bastian assumes a national political voice as he works on the Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign in Washington D.C. His lobbying efforts and co-chairmanship of the initiative to defeat the Federal Marriage Amendment demonstrate his dedication to educating the masses regarding LGBT civil rights issues. Bruce travels extensively in this capacity and is speaking, fund-raising, and educating as he works for equal protection and equal rights under the law for the LGBT Americans and their families everywhere.
In February of 2010, Bastian was appointed by President Barak Obama to serve on the President's Advisory Committee on the Arts during the time of the Obama Administration. In June 2012, Bastian was chosen by Westminster College as the 2012 Commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient. Bastian is quoted as saying, " I do not believe any human being can be happy without being true to himself or herself. That is often not easy to do in our society, especially if it goes against the grain of what people consider the social norm."