This year’s commencement and convocation ceremonies will not simply mark the passing of yet another UVSC graduating class. They will mark the passing of the last UVSC graduating class — a realization that may create a celebration the whole school, not just the lucky seniors strutting down the aisle, can look forward to.

As seniors from the seven UVSC schools receive public acknowledgment of the countless hours and dollars they have poured into the institution, the community and administration will begin its full-fledged effort at publicizing this year’s main event, the official unveiling of Utah Valley University July 1.

Beginning June 30, the newly constructed UVU library doors will open for community and student tours, which will include special performances and events from 1-5 p.m. That evening at Brent Brown Ballpark, the UVSC community will join together for a fond farewell, with a student talent show, dubbed UVU’s Got Talent, and a concert featuring country stars Josh Gracin, Collin Raye and Joe Nichols. The night’s celebration will culminate in a fireworks display set off at 10 p.m.

The transition from UVSC to UVU may capture the attention of the faculty, students and staff who look forward to new educational opportunities (the first graduate program to be unveiled is the new master’s of education) and advanced facilities (the new library will house more than 100 public computers and a collection double that currently found on campus). But this spring’s graduates have their eyes fully focused on Friday, April 25.

This year’s commencement ceremony, which will take place on April 25, is being held in the McKay Events Center beginning at 10:30 a.m., with Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. providing the commencement speech. Convocation ceremonies, which are sponsored by each school to honor graduates, are being held both prior to and directly after the commencement ceremonies.
Although graduation ceremonies rarely draw a large crowd outside of close family and friends, they still offer inspiration to other students and the outside community with the amazing success stories found each year — stories of students who have tackled insurmountable odds to be honored with a degree.

THE COLLEGE TIMES contacted educators from across the campus to find students who have excelled in academics, passionately pursued extracurricular activities, and overcome incredible personal challenges to receive the honor of graduating from college this spring. Below are a few of their stories.