University of Utah’s Class of 2022 urged to ‘level up’

Life is like a video game; it’s supposed to be fun.

The University of Utah’s 2022 Commencement keynote speaker, Nintendo of America President Doug Bowser, told graduates to lean into uncertainty and challenges as they embark on new jobs and graduate education—the rest of their lives.

“My prediction is your life, like mine, will wind up being like just one kind of game—a game like Donkey Kong. And just like Donkey Kong, you’ll need to make the right moves to keep climbing while avoiding all the barrels along the way,” said Bowser.

“I can assure you there will be barrels. But you will learn how to clear them. And you will develop new capabilities—when to jump and when to duck. And when you successfully reach the end of one challenge, you’ll find another one waiting. In gaming, we call this, ‘leveling up.’ In the process of leveling up, you’ll grow and reach new heights.”

On May 5, the University of Utah returned to an in-person commencement ceremony after two years of virtual celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, honoring 8,609 students—the largest graduating class in the university’s history.

In case you missed it, watch the full Commencement video below.


  • Samuel Aguilar, the student speaker who graduated with dual bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and writing and rhetoric studies. Watch his speech here.
  • Doug Bowser, Nintendo of America president and recipient of the College of Humanities’ 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award, delivered the keynote speech. Watch it here.
  • Thure Cerling, a distinguished professor in the Department of Geology & Geophysics, received the 2022 Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence. Read more here.
  • Watch the college dean callouts to graduates here.