Ann Romney, former First Lady of Massachusetts, will headline SUU’s 115th annual graduation festivities as keynote speaker for the University’s general commencement ceremony on Friday, May 2, where she will be awarded an honorary doctorate degree in public service for her contributions of time, funding and support on behalf of children and families.
According to SUU President Scott L Wyatt, the University is looking forward to recognizing Romney for her social impact. Wyatt anticipates Romney’s address will prove compelling to the University’s graduates as they move forward in life, better positioned to advance the causes they hold close because of the education they have received at SUU.
“We place a high value on community engagement among our students,” explained Wyatt, recalling the University’s mission, which includes mention of empowering students to be “productive citizens” and “socially responsible leaders.”
“We want our students to go out and make an impact, yes, but we want them to do it with passion. Mrs. Romney is an able example of all that can be accomplished when individuals successfully partner personal interests with a professional and civic affiliation.”
Though the spouses of high profile Republican political candidates oftentimes shy away from the campaign trail spotlight, Ann Romney served as a powerful voice in her husband’s and party’s cause in the 2008 and 2012 bids for the White House. She has advocated for the family and economy with eloquence and, by example, has spoken proudly of the importance of motherhood and family values.
Mrs. Romney places primary importance on her role as a wife, a mother and a grandmother. As First Lady of Massachusetts, she worked to focus attention on the challenges facing at-risk youth and continues to be engaged in that effort. Mrs. Romney is a strong believer that faith-based and community organizations can reach some members of our community better than government can and served as the Governor’s Liaison to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. She has been involved with United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Right To Play, formerly Olympic Aid.
In 1998, Mrs. Romney was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She has volunteered much of her time to raise awareness of the disease. By raising the profile of MS, as well as raising funds for advocacy and research, she is determined to make a difference in the lives of people who suffer from the disease.
Soon to receive formal recognition for all such efforts, as SUU’s newest honorary degree recipient, Romney said she is honored to stand with the Class of 2014 and address them as they prepare to leave campus.
“I'm looking forward to joining the graduating class as they step out into the world, guided by the principles of community and social responsibility that the University has instilled in them," said Romney.
Southern Utah University will celebrate its Class of 2014 on Friday, May 2, beginning with the University Commencement Ceremony, in which Mrs. Romney will speak, at 9 a.m. in the Centrum Arena.
Ann and Mitt Romney celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary this year. They have five sons, five daughters-in-law, and 22 grandchildren.