Hundreds of graduates and their families and friends filled the Maverik Center in West Valley City Friday to take part in Salt Lake Community College’s commencement ceremony.
Global business leader and commencement keynote speaker Gretchen McClain told graduates to persevere in life. “It’s about having a deep gut belief in everything you are capable of and the courage not to let any naysayers or your nerves get in the way,” said McClain, former NASA chief director of the International Space Station. “It’s about knowing the difference between confidence and overconfidence and understanding that being open to learning at every phase of your life is a strength.”
McClain closed with four principles that have guided her in her: “Appreciate what you have at every stage of your career and life;” “Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something when you know you can;” “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, as growth and comfort do not coexist;” and “Make your career matter…Look for ways to put your talent to work for a greater good.”
More than half of SLCC graduates earned associate degrees in general studies (2,130 degrees), followed by business (241), nursing (232), computer science and information systems (139), computer science fundamentals (118) and psychology (104). More than 230 students from 74 countries also graduated from SLCC, and almost 600 graduates received high honors for GPAs that were 3.8 or higher. SLCC’s oldest 2016 graduate is 67. More than 3,000 graduates received their associate of science degrees.
SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin compared students’ experiences to the arc of a story. “This day marks the formal ending to this particular story in your life,” said Huftalin. “Today there are more pages to the left of your SLCC book than to the right. The final chapter is in your hand. … My hope for you today is that you will take some time to reflect on this particular story arc—to realize the changes that have occurred in you during your time here and to celebrate them.”
SLCC’s 2016 honorary doctorate recipients were humanitarian and community leader Barbara Lindquist Tanner and Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Stanley B. Parrish. Engineer Marisa Dawn Egbert and chef/restaurateur Gerard Ford Craft were named Distinguished Alumni. SLCC faculty members Mequette Sorensen, Jane Drexler and Ron Carpenter were recognized for receiving Teaching Excellence awards. Math professor John Close was named SLCC’s 2017 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer.