The end of the academic year should be a time of reflection for everyone connected to the university. Very soon, we will celebrate the scholarly accomplishments of a record 4,634 graduates at Utah Valley University’s 71st Commencement. This culminating event is an opportunity to recognize what has been achieved in completing various academic programs. But, commencement also serves as an acknowledgement of greatness to come for those who take a higher education into new scholarly, professional and civic pursuits.
In the spirit of considering past achievement and future promise, I would call attention to your place in the exciting arc of UVU’s development. As you know, UVU’s evolution is unique among institutions of higher education, becoming an institution with a blend of 2 year, 4 year and masters programs operating on a scale like no other in the county. This past year, UVU’s growth and maturity as a university have been powerfully evident. In the fall, UVU became the largest public institution in Utah with more than 33,000 students. This milestone doesn’t mean UVU is growing for the sake of growing, but is dedicated to a mission of access and academic excellence that provides more and more students with just the educational resources and opportunities they need to reach their goals and grow into their potential.
Beyond its growing student body, UVU is developing a more robust academic and support profile. The 2011-2012 academic year saw the opening of a variety of centers and facilities that signify a new era of academic excellence, including the UVU Science Building, the Center for Constitutional Studies and the Center for Women’s Success. UVU also raised more than $4 million for new scholarships, hosted dozens of foreign dignitaries, forged official ties with a sister university in China and launched the University Project to promote childhood literacy and numeracy in the region. These endeavors were made possible by the support and guidance of our sensational faculty and staff, who are dedicated to the success or our students.
At the heart of UVU’s momentum and energy are the students, who have contributed to this dynamic institution in areas of service and individual excellence. In the past year alone, UVU students have been featured on national television, won prestigious competitions and engaged in academic and civic projects around the world. In addition, they have provided more than 150,000 hours of service, participated in nearly 2,300 internships and given more than 200 original research presentations. I could go on and on about the countless examples of UVU students doing tremendous things in the scholarly arena and beyond.
The events of the past year are reflective of the momentum and energy that are driving UVU, and all those connected to it, to new heights. UVU is undeniably on the rise, and this is true because of your ambition, intellectual curiosity, and hard work. Nurture those traits throughout your life. They will serve you well in the realization of your dreams.
Matthew S. Holland
President of UVU