Community excited for rescheduled visit of Dalai Lama

Posted at 7:29 PM, Feb 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-15 21:29:49-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Many had doubts or questions about when the Dalai Lama would reschedule his Utah trip, or if he ever would.

His Holiness canceled part of his U.S. tour last fall after falling ill.  Friday, the announcement came that he would return to Utah this June, which was great news for many.

The Tibetan Community Center always seemed to keep the faith that the Dalai Lama would reschedule.

"We thought someday he would be back," said Tsering Dhondup, with the Center.  "But I didn't think he'd be back this soon."

The Tibetan Community Center was feeling a little heat in the aftermath of the Dalai Lama's announcement that he was canceling last fall. The pressure coming as a result of raising about $700,000 in funds to build the center for His Holiness to visit.

"It was kind of embarrassing," Dhondup noted.

Others in Salt Lake City were excited to hear the news over the weekend. About 11,000 students and faculty at the University of Utah are expected to attend the Dalai Lama's speech at the Huntsman Center in June.

"That's so sweet," said Mitchell Orr, a junior at the U.  "People were so stoked to hear the news."

Orr tried to get tickets for the Dalai Lama's planned visit last fall but struck out.

Good news came from the University box office Friday as it announced there would be an extra 3,000 seats available this time around for the speech, with faculty and students getting first crack at the tickets at a reduced rate.

"I'll see if I can't try to buy some," Orr confirmed.