Salt Lake Community College honored its largest-ever graduating class during commencement ceremonies Friday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City. More than 4,700 graduates ranged in age from 16 to 79, representing 86 countries and 36 states, collectively earning 5,766 degrees and certificates. Almost 200 military veterans and more than 30 of their dependents also graduated.
“Let’s always remember how we feel right now,” said Arturo Salazar, outgoing SLCC student association president. “United and optimistic about a brighter future for ourselves and the wonderful community we call home here in Utah. Let’s commit this morning to be the best we can, to proudly represent the values of this institution and to always fight for what is right.”
Arturo Salazar, outgoing student association president
This year’s keynote speaker was author and activist Diane Guerrero, known for her roles in the Netflix series Orange is the New Black and The CW Network series Jane the Virgin.
“No matter what you do, you have the ability to do great things,” Guerrero said. “I never thought I’d be here speaking to you guys today. So, dreams do come true. You can make a difference. … Let our voices be heard. This is the time to be extraordinary. This is the time to do good. This is the time to let love be the force. Let your lives reflect the community values that were enhanced during your time at Salt Lake Community College. Because, we need you.”
Students pose for photos with Diane Guerrero
Guerrero was raised in the Jamaica Plain and Roxbury neighborhoods of Boston after being taken in by other Colombian families. In 2015, Guerrero was named a White House Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization. She is an outspoken advocate for common sense, comprehensive immigration reform and has worked with Immigrant Legal Resource Center and Mi Familia Vota, a nonpartisan Latino civic engagement organization to promote citizenship and voter registration.
SLCC’s 2017 honorary doctorate recipients are H. Roger Boyer, chairman of The Boyer Company as well as its director and advisor, and the Honorable Shauna Graves-Robertson, who was appointed to the Salt Lake County Justice Court by the Salt Lake County Commission in January 1999. Lisa Gough, vice president of Sysco Corporation, and Shawn Newell, vice president of business development for Industrial Supply Company, were named Distinguished Alumni.
“I hope during your time at SLCC, you have been challenged and nudged to identify constructs, ideals, values and disciplines you care about,” said SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin. “And I hope you take those concepts and use them passionately to share our world. … And I hope that as you move onto your next job or your next degree, you are taking your next steps with gentleness, reflection and humility. Our world, our nation, our state, our country, your neighborhood awaits you. It awaits the tremors you will create.”