UVU Graduates Told To ‘Believe In Something Bigger’ At 73rd Commencement
May 1, 2014
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton
Utah Valley University graduated 5,258 students during its 73rd Commencement ceremonies at the UCCU Events Center tonight, May 1.
Commencement speaker Wes Moore, best-selling author, youth advocate and Army combat veteran, told the graduates to never forget that a UVU education is “much more than a diploma, but a vision. Believe in something bigger and be something bigger.”
He asked the graduates to decide now whom they will fight for. “Today is all about you. It’s about a celebration of you,” he said. “Tonight is an acknowledgement of what you have won and where you are now. But the bigger question is what about tomorrow?”
He said the biggest question the graduates need to ask themselves is: “Who will you choose to fight for? That is the spirit of a Wolverine.”
“Higher education is not just about earning a degree,” he said. “Make sure that it mattered that you were ever here. You have worked so hard to get where you are. Work harder. You have sacrificed so much to sit in the seats right now. Sacrifice more. You have fought hard to wear your cap and gown. Fight tougher.”
Moore is the author of “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” and executive producer and host of the PBS series, “Coming Back with Wes Moore,” which follows returning veterans’ attempts to reintegrate back into society.
UVU President Matthew S. Holland said this year’s Commencement has a feeling of optimism and power to it unlike any other. “It is your success today that best signals UVU is doing what it was built to do, and with a sweep and quality like few other schools across the country,” he said.
He told the graduates that from this night forward, their future and the future of UVU will be inextricably intertwined with one another. “After you leave here today, the things you do will, for better or for worse, help shape the public opinion and future support of this institution,” Holland said. “Whatever walk of life you choose, at some point, people will discover that you are a UVU grad and will unavoidably form thoughts about this institution based your work and actions.”
“In similar fashion, as UVU moves forward, the size, scope and quality of the institution will inevitably shape, in some degree, the kinds of initial impressions and opportunities people will extend you to once they know your academic pedigree.”
The president left the graduates with this plea: “What you choose to do in this life, do it with all of the virtues of a true UVU education…do it with energy and persistence and thoroughness and creativity.”
“Let us affirm that we will seek to rise together on a path of shared destiny—a destiny that already has the world on alert,” he concluded.
Jono Andrews of Kaysville, president of the UVU Student Association for the 2013–2014 academic year who is graduating with a bachelor of science in marketing and a minor in business management, congratulated his fellow graduates. “Here there are opportunities for anyone with a desire to learn to engage in a serious education and make a difference in their own lives and in the world around them,” Andrews said. “I will miss walking in the hallways every day saying hello to familiar faces…I will miss the exciting energy felt here. This place is home for many people including me. I am and always will be a proud Wolverine!”
Graduates received 5,519 degrees and certificates and were inducted into UVU’s Alumni Association, comprised of 198,000 UVU graduates who preceded them. The university’s eight individual college and school convocations will be held across campus on Friday, May 2.
Honorary doctoral degrees were presented to Wes Moore, Barbara Barrington Jones, author, motivational speaker and philanthropist; and UVU alumni and 2014 Winter Olympic medalists Noelle Pikus-Pace and Christopher Fogt.