Celebrating the 150th commencement

PHOTO CREDIT: University of Utah

Commencement student speaker Alisa Cloward.

University of Utah senior Alisa Cloward came to Utah after living in Japan for 17 years with her parents and 11 siblings. She will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and as part of the Miller Enrichment Scholarship program. Cloward, along with 8,464 other U students, will celebrate achieving this milestone at the university’s 150th general commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 2, 2019, 6 p.m., in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Most college convocations will happen the next day.

Cloward worked multiple jobs with a full-time class load to set a good example for her younger siblings. Her hard work paid off as she is the first in her family to graduate from college. Cloward will go on to a position with Microsoft in Washington after graduation.

“I’ve heard a lot of people remark that coming to the U has made them realize how vast and varied the world is, but I think the U has shaped my perspective about how we’re all—in many ways—the same,” said Cloward. “I came to the university knowing I was different and feeling quite alone, but the more I interacted with others who were different from me in mindset, upbringing and skin color, the more I realized what we had in common. We had all struggled initially with Math 1010, we had all been late to class at least once and we had all experienced a little homesickness.”

General commencement is a campus-wide celebration open to all students, their families and the public and is an opportunity for the institution to celebrate the graduating class and recognize student achievements.

About the graduating class and commencement details: (These numbers are based on data available prior to graduation and are subject to change.)

  • By the numbers:
    • Students in the Class of 2019 represent 26 Utah counties, all 50 states and 68 countries
    • 8,465 graduates
    • 9,126 degrees (some graduates receive more than one degree); 5,710 bachelor’s degrees; 2,391 master’s degrees; 727 doctoral degrees; 87 juris doctors; 121 doctors of medicine; 63 doctors of pharmacy; and 27 doctors of dental surgery
    • 4,265 self-identified men, 4,086 self-identified women and 114 nonbinary/unidentified
    • 3.37 is the average undergraduate grade point average
    • 26 is the average age of bachelor’s degree recipients; the youngest undergraduate is 18, the oldest is 72
    • 31 is the average age of students receiving graduate degrees; the youngest is 21 and the oldest is 70
    • The top 10 undergraduate majors are: communication, psychology, biology, kinesiology, economics, nursing, mechanical engineering, computer science, accounting and film and media arts
  • Speakers: 
    • President Ruth V. Watkins will officiate
    • Keynote speaker: Rev. France A. Davis
    • Student speaker: T. Alisa Cloward, who is graduating with a major in business administration
  • Special awards: 
    • Honorary degrees will be presented to Robert “Archie” Archuleta (posthumously), May Farr and Gary L. Crocker
    • The Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence, a $50,000 cash award and the most prestigious honor the university bestows on its faculty, will be announced separately
    • Faculty receiving special awards will be recognized
  • 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 convocation schedules can be found here.
  • 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 2 and 3.
  • Attending the event
    • The commencement ceremony is free and open to the public. As is standard for events occurring in the Huntsman Center, bag searches will be conducted for the safety and security of the graduates and patrons. More details are available here.
  • Watch it later 
    • Those unable to attend commencement will be able to watch the live stream on the university’s website, utah.edu/live.