Bruce Bastian

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Bruce Bastian
Bruce Bastian.jpg
Bastian in 2011
Bruce Wayne Bastian

(1948-03-23) March 23, 1948 (age 71)
Alma materBrigham Young University
  • Computer programmer
  • businessperson
Known forCo-founding WordPerfect
Net worth$1.4 billion
Melanie Laycock-Bastian
(m. 1976; div. 1993)

Bruce Wayne Bastian (born 1948) is an American computer programmer, businessperson, philanthropist, and social activist. He co-founded the WordPerfect Software Company with Alan Ashton in 1978 (originally known as Satellite Software International and then changed to WordPerfect Corporation in 1982).

Early life and education[edit]

Bastian was born on March 23, 1948, in Twin Falls, Idaho. He attended college at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, where he initially majored in music. While serving as the director of the BYU Cougar Marching Band, Bastian developed a software program to help choreograph marching band performances with the help of instructor Alan Ashton. After leaving his position with the marching band, he went on to earn his master's degree in computer science.[2]


Upon graduating in the spring of 1978, Bastian briefly worked for Ashton and another partner, developing word processing software. When that company closed due to inadequate funding, Bastian took a job with the Eyring Research Institute (ERI).[citation needed] At ERI, Bastian briefly worked on a language translation program (unrelated to WordPerfect). Within a few months of his employment at ERI, the company signed a contract with Orem City, Utah, to produce a word processor for the city's new DEC PDP-11/34 mini computer. Since Bastian was the only employee at ERI who had any development experience with word processing, the company contracted with Bastian and Ashton to develop what would become WordPerfect. Originally the word processor was written in DEC Assembler Language. It was later ported to the IBM PC.[2]

At one time Bastian's net worth was estimated at $1.4 billion, earning him a place on the Forbes list of the 500 wealthiest people in America.


Bastian has long been a major donor to Utah's cultural arts. Among these is the Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series[3] at Westminster College, Salt Lake City. Somewhere along the way, "philanthropy transitioned to activism".[citation needed] Bastian contributed half of the Don't Amend Alliance's budget for fighting Utah's constitutional amendment defining marriage as between only a man and a woman. (The amendment passed in 2004.[4])

A native of Twin Falls, Idaho, he was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), served as a Mormon missionary in Italy, married in the LDS temple and had a family prior to coming out[2] and later becoming a social activist for gay rights.

He is a member of the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC),[5] the US's largest gay and lesbian political action committee, and was grand marshal of the Utah Pride Festival's parade in 2004.[6]

On July 26, 2008, at the San Francisco Human Rights Campaign dinner, Bastian announced he was donating $1 million to HRC, designated to fight California Proposition 8 (2008), which eliminated same-sex marriage in California. He was the first individual to pledge such a large amount to fight the proposition.

He is the executive producer of 8: The Mormon Proposition, a film about the LDS church's involvement in California Proposition 8 (2008), and the 2007 documentary For the Bible Tells Me So. He was also the first major donor to the National Equality March.

In 2010, in honor of Bastian's long-term commitment to the arts, President Barack Obama appointed him to the Presidential Advisory Committee of the Arts.[7]


  1. ^ "Melanie Laycock-Bastian". Deseret News. 2016. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Romboy, Dennis (22 June 2003), "Bastian's profile low — in Utah, at least", Deseret News, retrieved 2012-01-05
  3. ^ "2011-2012 Bastian Foundation Diversity Lecture Series". Archived from the original on October 9, 2011.
  4. ^ See Same-sex marriage legislation in the United States by state.
  5. ^ "HRC Board", Human Rights Campaign, archived from the original on 2009-08-21, retrieved 2008-10-14
  6. ^ "Bruce Bastian Biography". 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  7. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 2/26/10 | The White House" (Press release). 2010-02-26. Retrieved 2013-11-01.

External links[edit]