SUU Graduates Over 2,300 Students During Annual Commencement

Published: April 29, 2022 | Author: David Bishop | Read Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Condoleezza Rice, 66th United States Secretary of StateDr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66th United States Secretary of State, told Southern Utah University graduates to find purpose in what they do as they leave SUU and enter the next phase of their lives during the annual commencement ceremony held at the America First Event Center.

SUU conferred 2,309 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees during graduation ceremonies held throughout the day.

Dr. Rice acknowledged the class of 2022 faced additional challenges because of the outbreak of COVID, but told them they have been better prepared for the future.

“The majority of your time here has been shaded beneath the cloud of a worldwide pandemic, and it took a special type of dedication and perseverance to get to this moment,” said Secretary Rice. “That perseverance is going to serve you well throughout your lives. You will step into the next chapters knowing what you’re made of and knowing what you can endure in order to succeed. The challenges and struggles you have experienced have prepared you to face whatever lies ahead. You will know you can handle it. And believe me, it is a gift to know that this early in your life.”

Secretary Rice and Eric Leavitt, chief executive officer of the Leavitt Group were both awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the SUU Board of Trustees.

The 2022 commencement comes as SUU celebrates its 125th anniversary. Interim President Mindy Benson reminded graduates of the founding of the university and how a dedicated group of Cedar City pioneers went up the mountain during a snowstorm to collect the timber needed to construct the first building on-campus, which is now known as Old Main. She related that experience 125 years ago to the challenges today’s graduates have faced the past two years.

“Some may dwell on what was lost during your college experience, but I hope you will focus on what was gained from these experiences. Unprecedented times provide unprecedented lessons. You have better learned to cope with change, gained clarity about what’s important in your life and learned that you are so much stronger and resilient than you ever knew,” said Interim President Mindy Benson. “Life is a continual series of mountains, and you can either choose to leave your comfort zone, venture forth, and dare and risk, or you can choose to play it safe, to bypass the mountains, to avoid the adventure, the risk and discomfort, as much as possible.”

Also honored during the commencement was SUU valedictorian Greyson Chamberlain. The St. George, Utah native graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance and maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average. He plans to pursue a career in corporate banking.

Among the 2,309 graduates, 601 received master’s degrees, 1,504 received bachelor’s degrees, and 204 received associate degrees. The graduating class includes students from 39 countries, one U.S. territory, and 42 states. The average age of the graduates is 27 with the youngest being 16 and the oldest being 67. In addition, 75 married couples graduated together.

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