ST. GEORGE – Dixie State College of Utah will celebrate its largest graduating class ever at its Centennial Commencement Exercises on Friday, May 6, at 2 p.m., in the Avenna Center Burns Arena.
To date, the college is slated to confer a total of 1,559 degrees, 314 more than last year, including a record 409 bachelor degrees, a 21 percent increase from last year (330 bachelor’s degrees), along with a record 1,150 associate degrees, which bests the previous record of 915 set last year (20% increase from 2009-10). In addition, 335 vocational and technical certificates will be awarded.
Of the record 409 baccalaureate degrees to be conferred, more than half (232) of the graduates will come from four of DSC’s four-year programs – business administration (77), integrated studies (57), communication (52) and elementary education (46). In all, students will be graduating in 18 of DSC’s four-year degree programs, including the first-ever graduating classes in mathematics, psychology and theatre.
Six foreign countries (Bahamas, India, Japan, Mexico, Peru and Taiwan) and 32 states are represented in the Class of 2011. Meanwhile, nearly 84 percent of DSC’s graduates (1,301 students) call Utah home, with 26 of the state’s 29 counties represented, while over two-thirds of those students (894) hail from Washington County. Female graduates constitute almost 52 percent of the class, while the class ranges in age from 17 to 72.
This year’s graduating class also features third class of high school students who will be awarded an associate degree as part of the Southern Utah Center for Computer, Engineering, and Science Students (SUCCESS) Academy program. The SUCCESS Academy is a state-approved early college high school in partnership with Washington County School District and Dixie State College. This academically rigorous and challenging program provides students the opportunity to earn an associate degree through an on-campus college curriculum while also completing their high school graduation requirements at their boundary high school. The Success Academy on the DSC campus began in the fall of 2006 and to date, 141 students have completed the program to earn their associate degrees, including 42 students this year.
Sabrina Hansen, a senior communication major from St. George, will serve as the Baccalaureate Degree Valedictorian commencement speaker, while Jonathan Oglesby, a sophomore communication major from Logandale, Nev., will speak on behalf of the Associate Degree class.
Two honorary doctorate degrees will be awarded during the exercises, with commencement speaker Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Monte Holm, President and CEO of World Financial Group, each receiving the honor. In addition, retired Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith, along with Dixie College Foundation board members Dorothy Orton, Marcia Wade and Megan White will receive Distinguished Citizen Awards.
Dixie State’s Centennial Commencement Exercises will begin at 2 p.m., with Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving as commencement speaker. Graduates will march from DSC’s Eccles Fine Arts Center down the palm-lined walkway to the Burns Arena beginning at 1:20 p.m.
This year’s Centennial Commencement ceremony will be a ticketed event. Each graduate who plans to attend the ceremony will receive two free tickets for family and friends for seating at the Burns Arena, which has a seating capacity of nearly 4,100 patrons when set up for commencement. Those patrons include graduates, DSC faculty and staff, dignitaries, platform guests and spectators.
DSC officials have also set aside 700 “obstructed view” seats and will make those free tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis prior to the ceremony in a line-up area located at the Avenna Center Plaza. Ticketed guests to DSC’s Centennial Commencement ceremony are asked to be seated by 1:50 p.m. (10 minutes before the start of the ceremony), in order to serve patrons wishing to secure a restricted-view seat.
In an effort to accommodate all visitors to the campus that day, Dixie State officials have set up overflow venues at the Avenna Center Cox Auditorium and at the Eccles Fine Arts Center Main Stage Theater. All overflow areas will provide a live television feed of the ceremony on a projection screen. Seating in the overflow venues will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and no ticket is required.
In addition, the ceremony will be available via free live streaming video on DSC’s website and broadcast live on Dixie’s Community Education Channel (CEC). The ceremony will also be shown on a taped-delay basis on CEC throughout the month of May and on KUEN-TV on Saturday, May 14th, at 7:30 p.m.
Following the Centennial Commencement ceremony, DSC will host six individual college convocations, where graduates will be individually recognized and awarded their diplomas. There are no seating restrictions at these convocations and seating will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Associate Degree convocation will be held in the Burns Arena beginning at 3:45 p.m. All other convocations will start at 4 p.m., including DSC’s School of Arts and Letters (English, Music Psychology Theatre, Criminal Justice [AS]) convocation will be held at the Eccles Fine Arts Center Main Stage Theater; the Udvar-Hazy School of Business and the School of Communication convocation will be held at the Avenna Center Cox Auditorium; the Nursing and Allied Health convocation will be held at the Student Activity Center (Old Gym); the School of Education and Integrated Studies convocation will be held at the Gardner Center Ballroom; and the School of Science and Technology convocation will be held at the Eccles Fine Arts Center Concert Hall.
The annual President’s Reception and Graduate Luncheon will be held earlier that day from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., in the DSC Gardner Center Ballroom. The luncheon is free to graduates, while extra tickets may be purchased for $11.50 for adults and $7 for children age 12-under.