LDS President Monson to Speak at SUU's 110th Commencement Ceremony

Published: January 15, 2009 | Read Time: 3 minutes

The 16th President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Thomas S. Monson, has agreed to speak at Southern Utah University’s annual graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 2, 2009, at 9 a.m. 

Monson, who has a long history of involvement with and support of higher education within the state of Utah, will also receive an honorary doctorate degree during the morning’s ceremony. 

President Monson served for many years on the Utah State Board of Regents, the body which governs higher education in the state of Utah. He is a current trustee of Brigham Young University and the Church Board of Education. He has also served as an officer in the Alumni Association of the University of Utah. 

Of Monson’s upcoming commencement speaking engagement, Southern Utah University President Michael T. Benson said, “We're delighted President Monson has agreed to be our Commencement speaker and to receive an honorary degree from the University. His participation in the graduation exercises promises to be a memorable event for our graduates and for our community and we will be honored to count him among the SUU Thunderbird family as a degree recipient.” 

President Monson has received many awards throughout his distinguished career. He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from BYU, Salt Lake Community College and the University of Utah. He has also been awarded the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver, Silver Buffalo and Bronze wolf awards. He has received the Minuteman Award from the Utah National Guard as well as BYU’s Exemplary Manhood Award and the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. President Monson and Sister Monson were each given the Continuum of Caring Humanitarian Award by the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph Villa. 

In December 1981, Monson was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the President’s Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives. He served in this capacity until December 1982, when the work of the task force was completed. 

President Monson has had a distinguished career in publishing and printing. He became associated with the Deseret News in 1948, where he served as an executive in the advertising division of that newspaper and the Newspaper Agency Corporation. Later he was named sales manager of the Deseret News Press, one of the West’s largest commercial printing firms, rising to the position of general manager, which position he held at the time of his appointment to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1963. He served for many years as chairman of the board of Deseret News Publishing Co. President Monson is a past president of Printing Industry of Utah and a former member of the board of directors of Printing Industry of America. 

Monson graduated with a degree in business management and later worked as a member of the College of Business faculty at the University of Utah. He later received his MBA degree from Brigham Young University. He is also a member of the honorary business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. 

President Monson has served many leadership roles within the LDS Church over more than half a century, including as a bishop and in a stake presidency in Salt Lake City. He was the president of the Church’s Canadian Mission, headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, from 1959 to 1962. He was ordained an Apostle in the church and called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 4, 1963, at the age of 36. He has served as a second counselor and a first counselor within the First Presidency since 1985. He was named as the 16th President of the church on February 4, 2008. 

President Monson served in the United States Navy near the close of World War II. He married Frances Beverly Johnson on October 7, 1948, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of three children.

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