SUU Honors Eight Valedictorians for the Class of 2021

Published: April 08, 2021 | Author: Southern Utah University | Read Time: 6 minutes

In recognition of their hard work and dedication to academic excellence, the eight following students have been named Southern Utah University’s valedictorians for 2021. Each student has a unique set of talents and demonstrates outstanding academic ability, placing them as the highest academically ranked individual in their area of study.

University Valedictorian - Karl Greathouse

Valedictorian Karl GreathouseOriginally from Wasilla, Alaska, Karl Greathouse grew up hunting, fishing, running, and hiking. He was drawn to SUU by the school’s connection to the outdoors, as well as through his mother’s legacy of attending SUU.

“I honestly can’t say enough good about the professors here at SUU, especially in the School of Business,” Greathouse said. “If it weren’t for accounting professors that took the time to talk to and mentor me, I doubt I ever would have gotten as excited about accounting as I am. Additionally being able to network and exchange knowledge and ideas I feel will be one of the great joys of my career that SUU has helped me to see early on.”

Greathouse will be graduating with an accounting major and a management minor. He plans to continue working on the paths that SUU has sent him down and one day, open a fly-in hunting and fishing service in Alaska.

Read Karl Greathouse's full story

College of Education & Human Development - Alexandra Nielson

Alexandra NielsonGrowing up in Hyrum, Utah, Alexandra Nielson enjoyed creating art, playing piano, hiking, camping, and dancing competitively with the Mountain Crest High School drill team. She began at SUU in fall 2017, initially drawn to the university because of its size, location, and emphases on experiential learning, practicum placements, small class sizes, and tactile learning opportunities.

“SUU has helped me discover my passion of working with kids and solidified my desire to work with kids as a play therapist through all the amazing practicums and volunteer experiences I’ve been able to have,” said Nielson.

Read Alexandra Nielson's full story

College of Engineering & Computational Sciences - Hayden Johnson

Hayden JohnsonHayden Johnson grew up in the small town of Orangeville, Utah enjoying spending his time outdoors hunting and fishing. He graduated from Emery High School in 2014.

“I am humbled and honored to be selected as a valedictorian,” said Johnson. “I know the quality of students that SUU has to offer and so this is something I'm very proud of. Thanks to all of the help that I've received I have been able to do more than I ever thought that I could.”

Johnson is passionate about rural communities and plans to serve them throughout his career. He is currently working as an IT Specialist at Jones and DeMille Engineering in Richfield, Utah, and earning his Masters of Science in Information Systems from the University of Utah.

Read Hayden Johnson's full story

College of Health Sciences - Sabrina Jensen

Sabrina JensenSabrina Jensen graduated from Winnemucca, Nevada’s Lowry High School in 2015, where she was also valedictorian. Growing up, she looked up to her parents and her older sister, who is also a nurse.

“I really love medicine and learning new things, so I think I picked a great career because I get to continually learn,” said Jensen. “My amazing nursing professors and the experiences that I have been able to have during my clinical rotations have reiterated to me that nursing was the right choice for me.”

Jensen has recently accepted a job position in the Emergency Room in her hometown, Winnemucca, Nevada, after graduation.

Read Sabrina Jensen's full story

College of Humanities & Social Sciences - Quincy Pfeffer

Quincy PfefferA 2018 graduate of Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona, Quincy Pfeffer was a big reader growing up and fell easily into the world of academia.

“I chose SUU because of the environment,” Pfeffer said. “I really liked how it had a home away from home feel. Especially since I was moving away from home for the first time, that environment was a really big thing I was looking for in a university. I also like the small class sizes, the size of campus, and the inclusive home-y feel.”

She has plans to begin at Northern Arizona University graduate school this fall to earn a M.S. in applied criminology.

Read Quincy Pfeffer's full story

College of Performing & Visual Arts - Emma Clove

Emma CloveEmma Clove got her start in art when she was a child and would ask her mother to trace drawings she liked so she could turn them into paper dolls. Eventually her mother told her to trace the drawings on her own, which is where she discovered a passion for drawing.

“Put in the hours from the start,” said Clove. “If you can spend more time on a project, do it. You can't be too detailed and careful with your execution. You may feel tired now but your future self will thank you for having a few more hours under your belt.”

Going forward, Clove will continue to expand her artistic skills and plans to find work with new clients that will expand her portfolio. As she looks back at her time at SUU, she encourages students to stay dedicated and put in the work necessary for success.

Read Emma Clove's full story

School of Business - Clayton Gillins

Clayton GillinsOriginally from Minersville, Utah, Clayton Gillins was drawn to SUU by the small class sizes and personal relationships students were able to form with professors.

“The awesome thing about SUU is that they do such a great job of finding the best professors and faculty that provided meaningful and engaging activities that helped me see what my future could hold,” Gillins explained, “Professor Melinda Ford had a big impact on me because she helped persuade me to stick with accounting and I am so glad I did.”

After graduating, Gillins will participate in an internship with EY to begin his journey as he continues to learn and grow as an accountant. He would like to thank his father for serving as a role model to him during his time at SUU and his wife for her support and help.

Read Clayton Gillins's full story

Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Sciences - Bridger Jeppesen

Bridger JeppesenGrowing up Bridger Jeppesen enjoyed watching and playing sports. He played basketball and baseball at Tooele High School in Tooele, Utah, where he graduated in 2017. Because of his interest in sports, he is considering focusing his future career in medicine on orthopedic surgery.

“As a first-generation college student, I really did not know how to prepare myself for medical school, though I knew that was what I wanted to do,” said Jeppesen. “At SUU, I have had great mentors and peers around me that have shared their knowledge and really helped me to prepare myself to apply and attend medical school.”

He will be attending medical school this fall and plans to become a doctor.

Read Bridger Jeppesen's full story. 


Southern Utah University's 2021 Commencement Ceremonies will be held Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1. For additional information about SUU’s Commencement Ceremonies visit the website.

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