DSU conferred a total of 1,714 degrees, 14 more than last year, including a record 542 bachelor degrees, a 7.75 percent increase from last year (503 bachelor’s degrees), along with 1,172 associate degrees, which was slightly down from last year’s record of 1,197 (1.8% decrease from 2011-12). In addition, 225 vocational and technical certificates were awarded.
Former Weber State University President Dr. F. Ann Millner delivered the keynote address to DSU’s Class of 2013. She lauded the collective accomplishments of the graduates, noting that their efforts not only shaped their futures, but will also leave a historical mark on the institution as the first graduates of Dixie State University.
“The future of Dixie State University is indeed exciting and you, as alumni, can and should be part of shaping that future,” Dr. Millner said. “Your relationship with the institution should be a lifelong relationship in which you stay involved in the life of the university—helping students who follow in your footsteps and giving back with your time, talents, and yes, resources.”
Dr. Millner, herself a life-long educator, talked about the importance of higher education, not only in her life, but in the lives of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. She paid tribute to her family for the commitment and sacrifices they made, generation by generation, to provide the opportunities to gain a college education.
“My father once said to me, ‘the greatest gift I can give you is a college education - it is something that no one can ever take away from you and it will equip you for life and work,’” Dr. Millner noted. “I believe higher education is priceless - it is an incredible gift that enables you to fulfill your dreams.
“The impact of your education will not just be measured by your own accomplishments, but also by its influence on your family for generations to come,” Millner added. “It does change lives in profound ways.”
Of the record 542 baccalaureate degrees awarded Friday, just over half (281) of the graduates matriculated through four of DSU’s four-year programs – communication (95), integrated studies (69), business administration (62) and elementary education (54). In all, graduates earned bachelor’s degrees in 20 four-year programs, including the first-ever graduating class in art (seven graduates).
Nine foreign countries and 35 states were represented in the Class of 2013, while 88 percent of DSU’s graduates (1,508 students) called Utah home. Washington County natives made up 71 percent of Dixie’s graduating class (1,222), with 26 of the state’s 29 counties represented overall. Female graduates constituted 53 percent of the class and the class ranged in age from 16 to 64.
This year’s graduating class also featured the fifth class of high school students who were awarded an associate degree as part of the Southern Utah Center for Computer, Engineering, and Science Students (SUCCESS) Academy program. The SUCCESS Academy is a state-approved early college high school in partnership with Washington County School District and Dixie State University. This academically rigorous and challenging program provides students the opportunity to earn an associate degree through an on-campus college curriculum while also completing their high school graduation requirements at their boundary high school. The SUCCESS Academy on the DSU campus began in the fall of 2006 and to date, 220 students have completed the program and earned their associate degree, including 41 students this year.
Véronique Gillen, a native of Marseille, France, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, represented DSU’s baccalaureate class as Valedictorian, while Devon Montgomery, a sophomore general studies major from St. George, spoke on behalf of the associate degree class.
In addition to delivering the keynote address, Dr. Millner was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humanities during the ceremony. Dixie State also presented Distinguished Citizen Awards to John E. Anderson, Dixie H. Andrus and Gloria M. Prahl for their exemplary service to the college and community. In addition, Utah State Representative Donald L. Ipson and State Senator Stephen H. Urquhart were each presented with the DSU Board of Trustees “Excellence in Education Award” for their collective efforts in gaining university status for the institution earlier this year.
Dixie State’s Commencement Ceremony is available for viewing on DSU’s online video-on-demand system website at www.voddov.com/live, and will be re-broadcast on Dixie’s Community Education Channel (CEC) throughout the month of May. Additionally, the ceremony will be re-broadcast statewide on KUEN-TV on Saturday, May 4th, at 9 p.m., and on KUED-TV on Saturday, May 11th, at 3 p.m.