Stevens-Henager College celebrates newest graduates

ST. GEORGE — The newest graduates from Stevens-Henager College officially received their diplomas Wednesday evening at a ceremony at the Dixie Center St. George. The graduating class — comprising 57 graduates — mostly received associate and bachelor’s degrees, with one student earning their master’s.

Approximately 50 graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Heneger College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Fifty-seven graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Henager College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The graduates were a mixture of students: some young, some older. There were single mothers and students who were the first in their family to earn a degree. There was even a daughter, mother and father who all earned their bachelor’s degrees at the same time.

Amberly Larsen Porter earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting. A single mom, she began school without a vehicle and had to walk to campus each day. She eventually purchased a bicycle to ride to school and then a car. With the help of her family, she was able to persevere and be awarded her degree.

“It means a lot to me,” she said. “A great sense of accomplishment.”

Porter hopes to either open her own accounting firm or go to work for an established company.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike gave the commencement address. After the ceremony, he said that Stevens-Henager is a school that provides an alternative means for education and advancement, something he said he thinks is important in the community.

I just think it’s great that we have different options for people to further their education, learn some news skills, maybe go back to school,” Pike said, adding that he noticed some older students among the graduates on the stage.

“And here they are, completing — as several of them told me — a lifelong goal to get that degree,” he said. “And I think that’s fantastic.”

Approximately 50 graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Heneger College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Fifty-seven graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Henager College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

Andy Stephens, campus director for Stevens-Henager, said the St. George campus has only been open for four years but has grown quickly from its humble beginnings when only a single student was enrolled.

“We started with one student and taught her for a month, and then we got more students,” Stephens said. “We’ve grown ever since; we’re about 130 students right now.”

Being a small college gives Stevens-Henager some advantages, Stephens said, such as getting one-on-one attention from instructors. With virtually everyone on campus knowing each other, it means that help is quickly available for those in need.

Amberly Larsen Porter addresses the audience during a graduation ceremony. Approximately 50 graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Heneger College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News
Amberly Larsen Porter addresses the audience during a graduation ceremony. Fifty-seven graduates received their degrees from Stevens-Henager College Wednesday, St. George, Utah, June 8, 2016 | Photo by Don Gilman, St. George News

The Stevens-Henager experience is different than a traditional college, Stephens said. Another advantage the college provides is the practicality of its focus; the emphasis is to make work-ready graduates. Stevens-Henager has four schools of training: business, technology, health care and graphic arts.

“We’re a career school,” Stephens said. “We focus on getting in and getting out but really focusing on the preparation for a particular set of skills such as business or technology.”

Wednesday’s ceremony was important not just for the growing school, Stephens said, but also for the graduates who had chosen Stevens-Henager for their education goals.

It’s a big moment for us at our campus because we deal with students who are really trying to get out there and have some opportunity for themselves,” Stephens said. Graduation was a moment to recognize those students for all their hard work and dedication.

The St. George campus is looking to relocate and expand. Stephens said:

We are moving. We just don’t have any official paperwork to say, ‘Yes, we are moving into a particular building.’ But we have a place that we’ve designated … It could be tomorrow; it could be a few weeks, but we plan on having the papers signed soon and moving by the end of the year [or] early next year.

The new facilities will be larger and with better visibility to the community, he said.

Porter said she would highly recommend Stevens-Heneger to anyone considering the school.

“It’s worth it,” she said. “They’re an amazing college.”

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: dgilman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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1 Comment

  • Bob June 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    well, i hope a degree from this place is worth more than one from “university of phoenix online”… not likely

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