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The U's 2016 general ceremony will be held on Thursday evening, while most college convocations will be held on Friday.

The general commencement ceremony at the University of Utah will be held Thursday, May 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

This year’s graduating class of 8,291 students represents 23 Utah counties, all 50 U.S. states and 92 countries. These numbers are based on data available prior to graduation and are subject to change.

“It is our top priority to help students succeed and find meaningful careers and futures,” said Ruth Watkins, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “During the past few years, we have implemented a variety of programs, support services, academic communities and opportunities for students to participate in a range of experiences designed to help them stay on track to graduate in a timely manner and enter the workforce with skills that set them apart from their peers.”

Since it has implemented these programs, the U has seen its graduation rate steadily increase while maintaining the state’s lowest percentage of students graduating with loan debt.

General commencement is a campus-wide celebration open to all students, their families and the public. It is an opportunity for the institution to celebrate the graduating class and recognize student achievements. The evening’s program is designed with the graduates in mind and includes videos and multimedia, a collage of Instagram photos documenting the U experience of the Class of 2016, as well as traditional elements of “pomp and circumstance” associated with graduation events.

“Commencement is the culmination of each student’s commitment, sacrifice, dedication and hard work,” said U President David W. Pershing. “It is also a tribute to those who stood behind our students to offer support as they worked toward this success. The university community proudly recognizes the Class of 2016 and welcomes everyone to join us as we celebrate.”


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By the numbers (These numbers are based on data available prior to graduation and are subject to change).
While the Class of 2016 is composed of 8,291 graduates, a total of 8,761 degrees will be conferred, as some graduates receive more than one degree. The university will award 5,631 bachelor’s degrees; 2,175 master’s degrees; 693 doctoral degrees; 124 juris doctors; 81 doctors of medicine; and 57 doctors of pharmacy.

Of this year’s graduates, 4,614 are men and 3,677 are women. The average age of bachelor’s degree recipients is 26; the youngest undergraduate is 17, the oldest is 71. The average grade point average for this group is 3.31. The average age of students receiving graduate degrees is 32. The youngest student receiving a graduate degree is 21 and the oldest is 73.

The largest number of undergraduate degrees awarded will be in the following 10 departments: communication, psychology, economics, business administration, biology, exercise and sport science, health promotion and education, nursing, human development and family studies and sociology.


Pershing will officiate at the event. The keynote speaker is Anne-Marie Slaughter, foreign policy expert and work-life balance thought leader who became one of the country’s most talked about writers after she published an in-depth article in The Atlantic magazine that explored the hurdles women face in pursuing professional and personal goals. The student speaker is Charles Koronkowski, who is graduating with an honors degree in economics and political science.

Schedule for college convocations

Each college holds a convocation ceremony, where candidates for graduation are acknowledged individually and where college-specific awards are presented. College convocations are scheduled as follows:

  • Thursday, May 5, 2016
    • Health, graduate students, Kingsbury Hall, 2 p.m.
    • Social and Behavioral Science, graduate students, Kingsbury Hall, 10 a.m.
    • Social Work, Kingsbury Hall, 8 a.m.
  • Friday, May 6, 2016
    • Architecture + Planning, Union Ballroom, 3 p.m.
    • David Eccles School of Business, Jon M. Huntsman Center, 9 a.m.
    • David Eccles School of Business, Executive MBA graduates, Tower at Rice-Eccles Stadium, noon
    • Education, Kingsbury Hall, 10:30 a.m.
    • Engineering, Jon M. Huntsman Center, 11:30 a.m.
    • Fine Arts, Kingsbury Hall, 6 p.m.
    • Health, undergraduate students, Jon M. Huntsman Center, 4:30 p.m.
    • Humanities, Jon M. Huntsman Center, 7 p.m.
    • Mines and Earth Sciences, Union Ballroom, noon
    • Nursing, Kingsbury Hall, 1 p.m.
    • Pharmacy, Union Ballroom, 9 a.m.
    • Science, Kingsbury Hall, 8 a.m.
    • Social and Behavioral Science, undergraduate students, Jon M. Huntsman Center, 2 p.m.
  • Friday, May 13, 2016
    • J. Quinney College of Law, Kingsbury Hall, 10 a.m.
  • Friday, May 20, 2016
    • Medicine, Kingsbury Hall, 10 a.m.

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Transportation and parking

Campus parking lots may be used at no charge during commencement and convocation ceremonies. As campus parking is limited, visitors are encouraged to use the free U shuttle service to travel between commencement events. Shuttles run throughout campus and are scheduled every 10-15 minutes. The U campus is also a TRAX free fare zone on May 5 and 6.

Those unable to attend commencement will be able to watch the live stream on the university’s website,, or watch the rebroadcast on KUED, channel 7, Saturday, May 7, at 5:30 p.m. MST.[/bs_well]