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4 Utah universities to commemorate 'Class of 2022' this week

Students process during University of Utah Commencement in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Four Utah universities will send their spring 2022 graduating classes out into the world this week.

Students process during University of Utah Commencement in Salt Lake City on Thursday, May 4, 2017. Four Utah universities will send their spring 2022 graduating classes out into the world this week. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Four of Utah's largest universities will send their Class of 2022 into the world this week, with the first commencement ceremony taking place Thursday morning.

Unlike previous years, where universities altered their approach to commencement ceremonies in the wake of COVID-19, this year, ceremonies will signify a return to normalcy, as in-person commencement returns.

Here's the who, what, when and where for upcoming commencement ceremonies at Utah State University, University of Utah, Dixie State University and Utah Valley University.

Utah State University

Utah State University on Thursday will celebrate the achievement of 6,588 graduates during the university's 135th commencement, which will be conducted in-person for the first time in two years.

The university commencement ceremony in Logan will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, 900 E. 900 North in Logan.

College convocations and hooding ceremonies will begin Thursday afternoon and run through Friday. Guests who attend the commencement ceremony on Thursday morning will not need tickets, but all college convocation events on the Logan campus will require complimentary tickets.

"The successes of this graduating class are impressive and wide-ranging, demonstrating the resilience and fortitude that has sustained them through their years at USU," USU President Noelle E. Cockett said in a statement.

USU's spring 2022 graduating class will hear from commencement speaker Thomas J. Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Vilsack was confirmed as the 32nd U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by the U.S. Senate in February 2021, after being nominated by President Joe Biden, returning to a role he served in for eight years under then-President Barack Obama.

Vilsack will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony, along with philanthropist Lisa Ellen Eccles and former Utah legislator and USU alumnus, Lyle W. Hillyard.

Prior to Logan's commencement ceremony, USU held ceremonies for its various campuses, including Brigham (April 15), Southwest (April 21), Tooele (April 23), Moab (April 28), Blanding (April 29), as well as Eastern and Uintah Basin (April 30).

"The class of 2022 will make a significant impact on the world as they join other innovators and achievers who are part of the Aggie alumni family. It has been an incredible privilege and opportunity to serve as president during their time at Utah State," Cockett said.

A schedule of events and ticket information can be found here.

University of Utah

Nine hours after USU celebrates its commencement, their neighbors to the south, at the University of Utah, will hold their institution's 153rd commencement, where they will celebrate 8,609 graduates with an in-person ceremony for the first time in two years.

U. President Taylor Randall in a statement acknowledged the perseverance the class of 2022 needed to reach this graduation day.

"We want to recognize the incredible circumstances this class of students took head-on," Randall said. "These graduates have shown amazing grace and resilience, pushing through and succeeding in spite of historic challenges and uncertainty. It's time to celebrate their achievements!"

The commencement will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Huntsman Center, 1825 S. Campus Drive in Salt Lake City. In-person college convocations also will resume in the Alumni House, Huntsman Center, Kingsbury Hall and Union Building on May 5 and 6. Schools of Dentistry and Medicine and the colleges of Law and Pharmacy will hold their ceremonies later in the month.

The 2022 graduating class will be ushered into their post-collegiate lives by 1984 U. graduate and current Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser.

Besides bringing what Randall described as a "cool" factor to the commencement, Bowser, a longtime consumer packaged goods and technology company executive, brings a unique global perspective and a treasure trove of practical experience.

"My hope for our new graduates is that, by inviting open conversation and new ways of thinking, they can continue to build upon these important skills and drive the kinds of changes they want to see as they embark on their own journeys," Bowser said.

One of the nearly 9,000 graduates is student speaker Sam Aguilar, a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and the first in his family to attend college. Aguilar enrolled at the U. as a traditional high school graduate but was forced to quit in 2013 when he couldn't afford his tuition. Six years later, he returned to complete a double bachelor's degree in kinesiology and writing and rhetoric studies.

"The last three years being back were not easy. I know we struggled through the pandemic and adapting to the new normal," Aguilar said in a news release. "But we made it, and that is something to be proud of."

More information about the U.'s spring commencement can be found here.

Dixie State University

As with USU and the U., Dixie State University will also be celebrating its 111th graduating class with an in-person commencement ceremony on Friday at 7:30 a.m. at Greater Zion Stadium, 501 S. 700 East in St. George.

The ceremony will be a combination of masters, baccalaureate and associate degree graduates.

Dixie State will be welcoming Carly Fiorina — founder and chairwoman of Carly Fiorina Enterprises and former CEO of Hewlett Packard — to serve as the commencement speaker.

Her speaker bio on Dixie State's website says that Fiorina's career is represented by two constants: leadership and problem-solving.

"We are honored that Carly Fiorina will share the lessons she has learned as a business leader and presidential candidate at Dixie State University's 111th Commencement Ceremony. She is the perfect role model to encourage our graduates as they embark on their future careers," Dixie State President Richard B. Williams said. "As the institution prepares to transition to Utah Tech University this summer, Ms. Fiorina's perspective as a successful CEO in the tech sector will be invaluable to all of our graduates as they prepare to blaze their own trails, just as she has."

Guests looking for more information about Dixie State's commencement ceremony can find it here.

Utah Valley University

Utah Valley University will also be holding an in-person commencement ceremony on Friday at 6 p.m. at the UCCU Center on UVU's Orem Campus. Convocations for UVU's eight colleges and schools will be held that same day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

During COVID-19, UVU began doing outdoor, drive-thru convocations as a means of safety. In a letter to the campus community, Provost Wayne Vaught announced that UVU would be continuing convocations in the drive-thru format this year.

"While we initiated the drive-thru convocations during COVID, it was not the motivating factor in continuing with this format. Over the past two years, we have received positive feedback from graduates and their families on how much more personal the outdoor event felt compared to the more traditional ceremonies," Vaught said in the letter.

Mary C. Daly, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will be the university's spring 2022 commencement speaker and will receive an honorary degree in public service.

"Mary Daly is one of the nation's brightest economic minds," UVU President Astrid Tuminez said in a statement. "She has overcome tremendous personal hardship through persistence, grit and tapping into the power of higher education. How she has lived her life exemplifies what it means to be a UVU Wolverine."

Daly, who dropped out of high school at the age of 15 due to family hardships before becoming president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, personifies perseverance and hard work.

"I'm thrilled to address the Class of 2022 at Utah Valley University," Daly said in a statement. "There is nothing more satisfying in my job than helping young people see their value and potential. I can't wait to meet these young Wolverines and share in their futures."

Folks looking for additional information regarding UVU's commencement can find it here.

This past month, Brigham Young University (April 21), Southern Utah University (April 28) and Weber State University (April 29) held commencement ceremonies to celebrate their class of 2022 graduates.

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter with, covering southern Utah communities, education, business and military news.


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