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U’s Class of 2023 encouraged to ‘take a chance on dignity’

Though there are many challenges facing the United States, the biggest one is division, said University of Utah 2023 commencement speaker Tim Shriver

“I am here to ask you, to beg you as you go forward, don’t listen to the voices that are telling you to blame and shame and treat others with contempt,” Shriver said. “Tune them out. Shut them down. You can do it. It’s a very simple action. Everybody has the power to create a new incentive that doesn’t reward hatred and contempt, but instead rewards dignity.”

Shriver is the chair of the Special Olympics International and co-creator of the Dignity Index. The Dignity Index is a social science tool designed to show the contempt or dignity in the language people use when they disagree. Through the Dignity Index Utah Demonstration Project, students at the U played an important role in helping refine the index.

“I know sometimes it seems scary to take a chance on high ideals and deep experience,” Shriver said to graduates on the evening of May 4. “But all the noise and all the hostility around us can’t hide the simple truth—within each of us, there is that fragile spark of love. There is a hunger and a search for what is beautiful.”

As graduates prepare to enter the next stage of their lives, Shriver encouraged them to make sure they treat people with dignity as they fight for their beliefs. 

“Take a chance on others. Take a chance on dignity,” he said.

On May 4, the University of Utah celebrated its largest graduating class with 8,723 members. 

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