Valedictorian represents Southern Utah University’s motto, ‘Learning lives forever’

Southern Utah University 2018 valedictorian Maddie Topham, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

CEDAR CITY — Future students would be wise to follow the advice of the 2018 Southern Utah University valedictorian, Maddie Topham.

Southern Utah University 2018 valedictorian Maddie Topham, Cedar City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Southern Utah University, St. George News

“Find a degree you’re interested in and make it ‘live forever,’” Topham said. “Think about what your degree can do for someone else.”

The Southern Utah University motto ‘Learning lives forever’ resonated with Topham while she was in high school. From Parowan, Topham was already in love with Southern Utah, making SUU an easy choice for college.

As this year’s valedictorian, Topham represents the very best at SUU. Topham earned an overall 4.0 GPA, consistently found herself on the Dean’s List and is a finalist for this year’s ‘Scholar of the Year’ award at SUU.

“Maddie possesses internal motivation to not only get the job done, but to do it to the best of her ability for each and every assignment or endeavor that she undertakes,” Sage Platt, director of the Speech and Presentation Center, said. “It isn’t about perfection with Maddie, but about striving to give her best effort.”

Topham’s faculty mentors are the driving force behind her, she said, crediting her academic success to their passion and guidance.

“My professors challenged me academically, inspired me to explore new fields and helped me build a strong foundation in communication,” Topham said. “Sage Platt, Matt Barton and Jonathan Holiman were great instigators in helping me get the most out of my experience at SUU.”

While at SUU, Topham interned at the Speech and Presentation Center, worked in the SUU Lock Shop and served as the LDS Institute Council president. Looking back on her college experience, she said balance was a major part of her academic success.

“I did everything I could to make sure that my life was in order,” Topham said. “Priorities were clear to me, and as I focused on the things that were the most important, everything else fell into place. This balance allowed me to get the very most out of my degree and create beautiful, lasting relationships with others.”

Topham’s goal is to become a seminary teacher for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After graduating in December with a bachelor’s degree in communication, Topham is currently in her last semester of student teaching and will find out this summer what full-time options are available to her and her husband, who is also finishing his student teaching.

“Maddie is a wonderful representative of the history and foundation of Southern Utah University,” Platt said. “She will make the many founders of this University smile as they recognize in her the same qualities, commitment, motivation, and love that saw the need for, and the benefits of, a hallowed place of higher learning for all. We are witnessing her go forward from SUU to care for, and to change for the better, our world.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • Arcana April 22, 2018 at 11:39 pm

    I mean, good for her…. but I don’t think this is news worthy.

    • comments April 23, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      Well, its a personal interest story. no one made you read it. one interesting thing, tho, if i put that photo on full screen it’s basically huge enough that i could examine her dental work if i wanted to, lol.

  • comments April 23, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    That is interesting… an LDS seminary teacher, huh? I consider myself quite well studied on the history of the LDS religion, and I’ve been a member since I was 8 years old. Anyway, what stands out most about the history of the religion is just how dark, twisted, and violent it is. If I got anything out of studying it, it was lessons on the darker side of human nature, whether it was Joseph Smith out stealing other men’s wives to add them to his collection or Porter Rockwell out murdering people. I have no idea what a seminary teacher does, or whether or not they even teach that aspect of LDS history, but it would be quite a thing to teach that side of mormon history. And for the record, I’m not a “former member”; I am a currently registered, on-the-books member of the LDS church.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.