The University of Utah’s celebration of the Class of 2022 will take place in person after two years of virtual pomp and circumstance necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 153rd general commencement will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 5 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. In-person college convocations also will resume in the Alumni House, Huntsman Center, Kingsbury Hall and Union Building on May 5 and 6. Schools of Dentistry and Medicine and the colleges of Law and Pharmacy will hold their ceremonies later in the month.
Three years of college for the Class of 2022 have been impacted by COVID-19—including remote and online classes, changing masking policies and the development, and requirement, of vaccines. Still, this year’s graduates have persevered, said Taylor Randall, president.
“We want to recognize the incredible circumstances this class of students took head on,” Randall said. “These graduates have shown amazing grace and resilience, pushing through and succeeding in spite of historic challenges and uncertainty. It’s time to celebrate their achievements!”
The U will celebrate 8,609 graduates, including student speaker Samuel Aguilar, a “Dreamer” under DACA. The first in his family to attend college, Aguilar enrolled at the U as a traditional high school graduate, but had to drop out in 2013 when he couldn’t afford his tuition. He returned six years later to complete a double bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and writing and rhetoric studies.
For the past nine years, Aguilar has worked at ARUP Laboratories in client services, working his way up to becoming a supervisor, co-managing a group of 150-plus employees. He says the challenges he has overcome are representative of the graduating class.
“The last three years being back were not easy. I know we struggled through the pandemic and adapting to the new normal,” Aguilar said in his speech. “But we made it, and that is something to be proud of.”
Read more student stories from the Class of 2022 here.
Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser, an alum from the Class of 1984, will deliver the keynote speech.
“I can’t wait to celebrate our graduates in person after two years of virtual commencements,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for student affairs. “Many of these students had their college experience interrupted by the pandemic more than once. I’m so glad we’re able to honor that strength and perseverance with an exceptionally exciting commencement ceremony.”
(These numbers are based on data available prior to graduation and are subject to change.)
By the numbers:
- Students in the Class of 2022 represent 26 Utah counties, all 50 U.S. states and five territories and 69 foreign countries.
- 8,609 graduates
- 9,276 degrees (some graduates receive more than one degree); 5,836 bachelor’s degrees; 2,363 master’s degrees; 751 doctoral degrees; 107 juris doctors; 115 doctors of medicine; 60 doctors of pharmacy; and 44 doctors of dentistry
- 4,289 self-identified men, 4,257 self-identified women and 63 nonbinary/unidentified
- 464 is the average undergraduate grade point average
- 25 is the average age of bachelor’s degree recipients; the youngest graduating 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 74
- The top 10 undergraduate majors are: psychology, communication, biology, computer science, nursing, mechanical engineering, finance, kinesiology, economics, political science
- 224 graduates are receiving honors degrees
- 359 veterans are receiving degrees
- President Taylor Randall will officiate
- Student speaker: Samuel Aguilar, who is graduating with degrees in kinesiology/writing and rhetoric studies
- Keynote speaker: Doug Bowser, president Nintendo of America
- Honorary doctoral degrees will be presented to Karen Haight Huntsman, Jacqueline Thompson and Ruth V. Watkins
- 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 in a video during the commencement ceremony.
Schedule for College Convocations:
- In-person college convocations will be held May 5-6, 2022.
Joining the Event:
- Friends and family are welcome to watch from seats in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
- Information for parking on campus can be found here.
- Graduates are encouraged to share memories of their time at the U and graduation photos on social media using #UtahGrad22.