ST. GEORGE – President Thomas S. Monson, the 16th president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will deliver the commencement address at the Centennial Dixie State College of Utah Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 6th, at 2 p.m., at the Avenna Center Burns Arena. President Monson will also receive an honorary doctorate degree in Humanities as part of the commencement ceremony.
“Given that Dixie State College was originally founded by the LDS Church a century ago, it seems appropriate to acknowledge our roots as we prepare to enter our next 100 years,” DSC President Dr. Stephen D. Nadauld said. “Accordingly, we will be honored to welcome President Thomas S. Monson to our campus as our Centennial Commencement speaker. This will be a great opportunity for our graduates to receive counsel and encouragement as they prepare to enter into the next phase of their lives.”
President Monson, who also spoke at Dixie College’s 1975 Commencement Ceremony, has long championed education in the State of Utah. For many years, President Monson served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, the body which governs higher education in the State of Utah. He currently serves as a trustee of Brigham Young University and the Church Board of Education. He also served as an officer in the Alumni Association of the University of Utah.
President Monson has received many awards, including honorary doctorate degrees from BYU, Salt Lake Community College, Southern Utah University and the University of Utah, where he also received a Distinguished Alumnus Award. He has also been awarded the Boy Scouts of America’s Silver Beaver and Silver Buffalo awards, along with a Bronze Wolf award, the honor for International Scouting. He has received the Minuteman Award from the Utah National Guard as well as BYU’s Exemplary Manhood Award and the University of Utah’s Distinguished Alumnus Award. President Monson and Sister Monson were each given the Continuum of Caring Humanitarian Award by the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph Villa.
President Monson graduated Cum Laude in Business Management from the University of Utah in 1948. He later received his MBA degree from BYU, where he was later conferred a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa. He is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, an honorary business fraternity.
President Monson has had a distinguished career in publishing and printing. He became associated with the Deseret News in 1948, where he served as an executive in the advertising division of that newspaper and the Newspaper Agency Corporation. Later he was named sales manager of the Deseret News Press, one of the West’s largest commercial printing firms, rising to the position of general manager, which position he held at the time of his appointment to the LDS Church’s Quorum of the Twelve in 1963. He served for many years as chairman of the board of Deseret News Publishing Company. President Monson is a past president of Printing Industry of Utah and a former member of the board of directors of Printing Industries of America.
In December 1981, President Monson was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve on the President’s Task Force for Private Sector Initiatives. He served in this capacity until December 1982, when the work of the task force was completed.
President Monson has served in a number of leadership roles within the LDS Church over more than half a century. He was the president of the Church’s Canadian Mission from 1959 to 1962. He was ordained an Apostle in the church and called to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on October 4, 1963, and had served as a second counselor and a first counselor within the First Presidency since 1985. He was named as the 16th President of the church on February 4, 2008.
President Monson served in the United States Navy near the close of World War II. He married Frances Beverly Johnson on October 7, 1948, in the Salt Lake Temple. They are the parents of three children, with eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.