Meet SUU’s Class of 2024: Class Stats, Student Speakers & Honorary Doctorate Recipients

Published: April 17, 2024 | Author: Clare Perkins | Read Time: 4 minutes

SUU graduates stand in a row and throw their caps in the air. Introducing the Class of 2024 at Southern Utah University, where achievement and dedication shine among the 3,047 graduates. Meet the distinguished student speakers, Holly Biesinger and Nicolas Stein, representing their peers with passion and pride. Additionally, SUU proudly honors Jesselie Barlow Anderson and Gayle L. Pollock with honorary doctorates for their outstanding contributions to the state, region and SUU. Join us in celebrating our remarkable graduates at the Commencement Ceremony on April 25, 2024, and experience the culmination of their academic journey.

Meet the Class of 2024

Among the 3,047 graduates, there will be 888 graduate degrees awarded, 1,876 bachelor degrees awarded, 290 associate degrees awarded and 107 certificates awarded. The graduates represent 33 countries, 48 states, and 28 Utah counties. The average age of the Class of 2024 is 27, with graduates ranging in age from 17 to 70.

This year’s most popular degrees include general studies, nursing, psychology, biology, accounting, master of business administration, master of education and master of accounting.

Meet the Student Speakers

SUU proudly announces Holly Biesinger and Nicolas Stein as this year's commencement speakers during the main Commencement Ceremony held on April 25 at 7:00 p.m. Chosen through an open process, graduating seniors submitted and presented speeches to a panel of faculty, staff and students. That panel reviewed and selected speakers for their exceptional achievements, leadership and inspirational abilities.

Holly Biesinger from West Valley City, Utah, is double-majoring in art education and history, with an array of minors in art history, illustration, painting/drawing/printmaking, and history teaching. Biesinger's passion for art, history, and education shines through in her dedication to her studies and her involvement in campus activities.

"Being selected as a speaker for this year's commencement fills me with immense pride and gratitude. It's a privilege beyond measure,” said Biesinger. Nicolas Stein is from Cedar City, Utah, majoring in communication with an emphasis on messaging and human interaction. Stein has a deep connection to SUU and is proud to represent his graduating class.

"Being selected as a speaker means a lot to me,” said Stein. “I grew up in Cedar City, and SUU has always been a huge part of my life. To represent the class of 2024 is a great honor."

Meet the Honorary Doctorate Recipients

SUU will award honorary doctorate degrees to two distinguished individuals - Jesselie Barlow Anderson and Gayle L. Pollock.

Both will be presented honorary doctorates of public service during SUU’s annual commencement ceremony on Thursday, April 25.

Jesselie AndersonJesselie B. Anderson is one of Utah’s most spirited and steadfast contributors to service and community needs. Her service began in 1968 when she embarked on a vibrant 12-year career with the state’s congressional delegation in Washington D.C. Following a seven-year residence in Japan, she partnered with her husband Scott Anderson to lend their kindness, wisdom and aid to a wide range of communal needs. Not only has she previously served on the Utah Board of Higher Education, but Anderson has served for six years as a highly valued member of the Board of Governors of the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

She maintains an almost dizzying schedule of membership, contribution and leadership for such entities as the Children’s Center, Education First Utah, Legacy of Life Committee of the Deseret Foundation, Olene S. Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service, Success in Education Foundation, Waterford School Board of Trustees, Zoo, Arts and Parks Preservation Committee, and several councils and boards at the University of Utah.

Gayle PollockGayle L. Pollock had aimed to work as a geologist from an early age, and he was thrilled that SUU helped him reach that goal and provided him with a base for a lifetime of good works in the region and beyond. What he has done with that degree over the past 35 years has made a profound difference in the fortunes of an untold number of SUU students and his beloved home ground- the Bryce Canyon area.

After a seven-year stint in Colorado where he worked at the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Public Health Service (where he co-founded the National Environmental Reference Laboratory), Gayle returned to southern Utah as president and CEO of the Bryce Canyon Association. In 2005, Gov. Jon Huntsman appointed Gayle to the SUU Board of Trustees where he served as vice chair and chair. He played a key role in establishing the Alliance for Education, initiated SUU’s Semester in the Parks program, and founded the High Plateaus Research and Education Institute to provide unparalleled real-world experiences and educational opportunities for students.


SUU invites the community to join in celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2024 at this year's commencement ceremony on Thursday, April 25, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. and on Friday, April 26, 2024, during the individual college convocations. For a full schedule of events, visit

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