College of Performing & Visual Arts Honors Top Graduates

Published: April 24, 2023 | Author: Kol Gibson | Read Time: 6 minutes

Students throw their graduation caps into the air.

The College of Performing & Visual Arts (CPVA) proudly announces its Outstanding Students for the 2022-23 school year. Each year, CPVA recognizes students for their performance as artists and scholars throughout their careers at SUU. The College Valedictorian is the graduating student who has the highest academic achievements in the class. The Outstanding Students are chosen by the faculty for their artistry and contributions to each department.

College Valedictorian

College Valedictorian Breonna Perry.Breonna Nicole Perry is receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art: Ceramics & Sculpture Emphasis, with minors in Art History and Engineering Technology: CAD/CAM. During her time at SUU, she has taken part in student life across campus with notable involvement in the SUU Honors Program as VP of Community Life (2021-22) and in the Ceramics Guild as President (2022-23). Significant accomplishments include being named the College of Visual and Performing Arts Valedictorian, receiving the award for Outstanding Ceramics Graduate, graduating from SUU’s Honors Program, and exhibiting in the 2023 BFA Senior Exhibition at SUMA. Breonna plans to start building her art career with the hopes of eventually becoming a full-time studio artist.

Outstanding Student | Art & Design

Outstanding Student Ellie Prisbrey.Ellie Prisbrey is from Enterprise, Utah. She is receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree double majoring in Graphic Design and Art History. At SUU, Ellie has led several organizations, including the President of the Graphic Design Club, Art Director for the Kolob Canyon Review, and Lead Graphic Designer at SUMA. Ellie has been awarded a UCDA Design Award of Excellence for both the Kolob Canyon Review and a re-design of the classic novel Emma. Additionally, Ellie also was a participant in the 2023 BFA Senior Exhibition at SUMA. Ellie plans to pursue a career in publication and book design and receive her Master of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design.

Outstanding Student | Dance

Outstanding Student Karessa Pitcher.Karessa Pitcher, from North Ogden, Utah is receiving a Bachelor’s in Dance, with a minor in Arts Administration. During her time at SUU, Karessa served as the Southern Utah University Dance Organization’s (SUUDO) Marketing Director (2021-22), and Director (2022-23). She had an internship with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (2021-22) and was chosen as CPVA’s Board of Trustees Scholarship Nominee in spring 2022. Karessa performed in SUU dance productions and guest artist residencies, as well as two Lagoon summer seasons. She choreographed over ten performances at SUU, including four dance films. After graduating, Karessa plans to continue performing, choreographing, writing, and advocating for accessibility in dance.

Outstanding Student | Music

Outstanding Student Mackenzie Williams.Mackenzie Michelle Williams, from Mesa, Arizona, is receiving a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in Vocal Performance. Highlights of her time here at SUU include her roles as the Princess in Suor Angelica , Zelda (48) from The Ghosts of Gatsby , and the soprano soloist in Gustav Mahler’s Symphonie Nr. 2 . While at SUU, Mackenzie has been the assistant to the opera company, the president of the Music Club, and has collaborated with the community as the Roy L. Halversen Young Artist Soloist. After graduating, she will continue her studies at the University of Utah in the Masters of Music in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy program.

Outstanding Student | Theatre

Outstanding Student Susannah Pilkington.Susannah Pilkington , from West Valley City, is receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Production with a minor in Arts Administration. Susannah has worked as a stage and production manager on 14 different productions during her time at SUU. She worked at the Utah Shakespeare Festival for two seasons and directed one full-length play. Susannah served as the production manager for Second Studio and the President of USITT. Her capstone was focused on chronic illness and disability within technical theatre. After graduation, Susannah will work as a production manager in Salt Lake City at Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company .

Outstanding Student | Arts Administration

Outstanding Student Ashley Miller.Ashley Miller, from Cedar City, Utah, is receiving a Master of Arts in Arts Administration. During her time in the program, she has participated in writing various grant applications, including helping elementary school teachers win a grant from the Iron County School District Foundation. She has also worked as a volunteer with the Fiddlers Canyon Elementary PTA and the Canyon View Middle School PTA, through digital marketing as chair of publicity, fundraising, grant writing, and working on two board nominating committees. She plans to continue her service as a volunteer as well as become a freelance grant writer. Ashley is married to Jacob Miller, and they have four children.

Outstanding Student | Music Education

Outstanding Student Candy Bennett.Candy Marie Bennett, from American Fork, Utah, is receiving a Master of Music Education. After earning a Bachelor of Music Education from SUU in 2012, she accepted a music position at Lincoln Academy in Pleasant Grove, Utah. Candy still teaches band, choir, orchestra, and guitar there and under her direction, her performing groups earned several awards and high ratings. Candy chose to pursue a master’s program that would help her to structure teaching methods and expand her programs to make music more accessible to students with special needs. Candy is excited to continue her career as an outstanding music educator in the state of Utah.

Outstanding Student | Music Technology

Outstanding Student Hilary Ferguson.Hilary Ferguson, from St. George Utah, is receiving her Master of Music in Music Technology. She previously earned a B.S. in Music from Utah Tech University and a B.S in Mathematics from the University of Utah. During her time at SUU, she narrated and produced books on Audible, and created a podcast called “Fairly Boring Tales.” Additionally, she created a new vocal scholarship program for high school seniors in southern Utah. She has maintained a teaching license in Math, Music, and Biology. After graduation, Hilary would like to teach music at a collegiate level and maintain a private studio to create instrumental backing tracks for solo singers.

The College of Performing & Visual Arts wishes warm congratulations to each of these students for their accomplishments. These students will be recognized during the CPVA Degree Convocation on Friday, April 27, 2023 at 12:30 p.m. in the America First Event Center (AFEC). To learn more about SUU’s graduation ceremonies and traditions, please visit

About the College of Performing and Visual Arts

The College of Performing and Visual Arts (CPVA) at Southern Utah University comprises 41 academic programs including liberal arts (BA/BS) and professional (BFA, BM, BMEd) degrees in art, design, dance, filmmaking, music, and theatre. It includes graduate programs in the fields of arts administration (MFA, MA), music education (MME), and music technology (MM) . More than 60 full-time faculty and staff are engaged in teaching and mentoring over 900 majors in the College. CPVA presents over 100 performances, lectures, presentations, and exhibitions each year and is affiliated with the Southern Utah Museum of Art (SUMA), Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Center for Shakespeare Studies. Southern Utah University is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD), National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), and the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST) making SUU the first public university in the state of Utah to be accredited by all four associations. For more information about the College of Performing and Visual Arts, visit .

Tags: Music Education Art and Design Music Technology Music Theatre Arts and Dance Graduation Arts Administration College of Performing and Visual Arts

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Kol Gibson