Westminster College Graduates 853 Students at 2018 Commencement Ceremony

 Westminster graduates

May 21, 2018

Westminster welcomed 853 new graduates to its alumni roster as it hosted its 143rd commencement ceremony on May 12 at the Maverik Center. Students from 40 states and 36 countries walked across the stage to accept 603 bachelor and 250 master’s degrees during the celebratory event.

This year’s graduating class ranged in age from 20–66 and comprised 60% women and 40% men. The top majors included nursing, psychology, finance, biology and public health.

Cozy Huggins, graduating senior and student commencement speaker, addressed the crowd with sentiments from her time at Westminster, and the one word she would use to summarize it: community.

“I would be nothing without the community of resident advisors, political science majors and folks who hold each other close at the end of the day in celebration and strength,” she said. “My wish for all of us is that we will always be surrounded by family and chosen family. And, that moving forward as part of this community of Westminster graduates, we will always feel support from one another.”

This year’s commencement speaker was former Utah Supreme Court chief justice Christine Durham. Durham spoke to the Class of 2018 about the importance of kindness as well as having a pioneering spirit.

“There are literally hundreds, I am sure, of pioneers in this hall with us today,” Durham said. “Being a pioneer means being willing to make the choice to follow your path and your passion even when people tell you no one has ever done that before. Pioneers include anyone who has ventured outside of others’ expectations for them, to choose their own path in life, to make change and progress and make the world a little or a lot better.”

This year’s commencement ceremony included the following:

Commencement speaker:

Christine M. Durham became the first woman on the Utah Supreme Court in 1982, serving for 35 years, including 10 years as chief justice and chair of the Utah Judicial Council. Her career included many opportunities for local and national service in pursuit of gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the courts and the community; improvements in the administration of justice; and building trust and confidence in the third branch of government.

She co-founded Women Lawyers of Utah and was a founding member and president of the National Association of Women Judges. She taught law for many years and served on the Duke University Board of Trustees for 14 years, for which she is now emeritus. She is also an emeritus member of the Council of the American Law Institute, a past president of the Conference of Chief Justices of the United States and past chair of the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education, the entity that accredits American law schools. She currently serves on the Board of Overseers for the RAND Institute for Civil Justice and co-chairs Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and the Coordinating Committee for Access to Justice. She is also a trustee for University of the People, an accredited, tuition-free, online institution for higher education.

Student speaker: Cozy Huggins

Originally from Park City, Huggins studied political science and global studies at Westminster. During her time at the college, she was integrally involved in campus life as a resident advisor and senator for the Associated Students of Westminster, as well as the Be a Human campaign and Students for Choice. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in student affairs and higher education at Colorado State University.

Faculty awards:

  • Frank Black, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry Manford A. and June Shaw Faculty Publication Prize
  • Christine Seifert, Ph.D., professor of communication Manford A. and June Shaw Faculty Publication Prize
  • Shamby Polychronis, Ph.D., associate professor of education Excellence in Teaching Award of the Bill & Vieve Gore Endowment Trust

Student awards:

  • Annie Vreeke, Trustees’ Character Award Nicole McKenna, President’s Leadership Award Hasib Hussainzada, Neisen R. Bank Award

Honorary Degree recipients:

  • Christine M. Durham will receive a Doctor of Public Service
  • David Simmons will receive a Doctor of Public Service
  • Patricia Richards will receive a Doctor of Public Service

Visit the Commencement page for more information on Westminster’s commencement events.