In Norm Bangerter's four years as governor, improving education has been a top priority because "it is the foundation of the whole society," he says.

Now it appears that the state's education system may receive some additional support from WordPerfect Corp. as well.At a WordPerfect banquet Tuesday, Bangerter received the two millionth copy of WordPerfect 5.0 for the Utah Office of Education, along with a copy of Macintosh Word-Perfect.

The software was presented to Bangerter by Alan Ashton, WordPerfect co-founder, during a company celebration at Brigham Young University. More than 1,500 employees and their guests attended.

"We've done some interesting things with education," Ashton said. "We are working with the board of education so a small school in Goshen can have access to a word processor for the same price East High in Salt Lake would pay."

Jeff Acerson, director of corporate communications for the Orem-based software company, said WordPerfect is working on an agreement with the state education office to set word processing package prices at a rate far less than if schools were to negotiate separately.

"WordPerfect, like most good things, started with an idea armed with a quality product and vision," Bangerter said. "Now it is the industry leader in word processing programs.

"The state of Utah is proud to be the home of WordPerfect. It confirms my belief that Utah is a good place to do business."

During the banquet, a company official hired each year WordPerfect has been in business highlighted the many changes the company has made since 1978.

The company, originally known as Satellite Software International, started with two employees - founders Ashton and Bruce Bastian - and now has 1,060. During its first year of business, it had $36,000 in sales; for 1988, the company already has $136 million.

WordPerfect started with a 400-square-foot office and now has 189,700 square feet.

Ashton said the company may have struggled in the first years, but it grew on revenue alone and not venture capital.

Bangerter said: "WordPerfect has been able to accomplish and finish each phase of growth from product revenue. That is really remarkable to be operating on a fiscally responsible basis. I've been working for more than four years to run government efficiently and have tried to manage government like you run WordPerfect."