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Actor Danny Glover Tells USU Graduates to Make Their Marks on the World

Saturday, May. 08, 2010

USU Commencement illustration
Utah State University graduates greeted actor and human rights activist Danny Glover with a rousing standing ovation Saturday after Glover told them that graduation day is the beginning of their moment to make their marks on the world.
Glover spoke in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum during USU’s 123rd Commencement Ceremony. He parlayed stories from a long life of activism and community involvement into a reminder to students that college graduation is a beginning, not an end — the time to start making their own histories, their own stories of action that will change the world.
“Maybe with all our force, with all our conviction, with all our humility — and with all our understanding — we can make something get done,” he told the approximately 2,200 students in the 2010 graduating class.
He was one of five recipients Saturday of honorary degrees from USU. Others receiving honorary doctorates were: public radio pioneer Donald R. Quayle; business leader and public servant Scott R. Simplot; psychologist, community volunteer and environmental activist Dr. Paula Swaner; and long-time Utah media executive Dominic A. Welch.
Glover began his talk by highlighting the already remarkable record of service by the graduating class sitting before him, and he thanked the students and then the university for its long heritage of making a difference in the world.
Student speaker Natali Naegle, valedictorian for the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, told her classmates it is up to them to use the creative talents they learned at USU to fix the seemingly insurmountable obstacles the world faces.
“It will fall to us, the innovators of tomorrow, to find creative solutions for these and other problems,” she said, reiterating the problems Glover addressed in his own speech, including the economic climate and, particularly, global warming.
“We should let creativity become a propelling force, so the next great creative ideas come from USU students,” Naegle said, “because it is better to dream big and fail, than to stay small and never reach our full potential.”
Other USU Commencement Details
Numbers of Degrees:
Bachelor’s: 2,169 (Spring ‘10), 1,189 (Fall ’09)
Master’s: 525
Doctorate: 73
Gender of graduates:
Female: 1,379
Male: 1,418
Annual resident tuition/fees (30 credits):
2009-2010: $5,150
Geographic origin:
Foreign countries: 26 (India, 46. China, 26. Dominican Republic, 17)
U.S. states: 44
Utah counties: 29
American Indian/Alaskan native: 17
Asian/Pacific Islander: 50
Asian: 84
Black, non-Hispanic: 19
White, non-Hispanic: 2381
Hispanic: 78
Not Specified: 140
Multicultural: 18
Pacific Islander: 10
Most popular degrees (top 10):
General Studies (259)
Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education (126)
Elementary Education (110)
Interdisciplinary Studies (110)
Psychology (91)
Accounting (85)
Economics (84)
Mechanical Engineering (71)
Business (68)
English (74)
Commencement Speaker: Danny Glover, highly successful actor, community activist and philanthropist
Student Speaker: Natali Naegle, valedictorian, Jon. M. Huntsman School of Business
College of Agriculture: Marie K. Witbeck
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences: Grayson C. Weeks
College of Natural Resources: Danielle Marie Babbel
Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services: Nanette E. Wilson
College of Engineering: Blake A. Rusch
College of Science: Melissa S. Jackson
Honorary Degree Recipients:
Danny Glover, Doctor of Humane Letters
Donald R. Quayle, public radio pioneer, Doctor of Humane Letters
Scott R. Simplot, business leader and public servant, Doctor of Agriculture
Dr. Paula Swaner, psychologist, community volunteer and activist, Doctor of Humane Letters
Dominic A. Welch, long-time Utah media executive, Doctor of Humane Letters
Special Faculty Award:
D. Wynne Thorne Research Award: Steve Scheiner, College of Science
Teaching Awards:
Eldon J. Gardner Teaching Award: James S. Cangelosi, College of Science
Distinguished teaching awards:
College of Agriculture: Julie Wheeler
College of Engineering: David K. Geller
College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences: Matthew L. Sanders
College of Natural Resources: Phaedra Budy
Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services: Elizabeth B. Fauth
Jon. M. Huntsman School of Business: Jack W. Peterson
E. G. Peterson Extension Award: Nedra K. Christensen
Outstanding Graduate Mentor Awards: James P. Evans, College of Science
Department Teaching Excellence Award: Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
Writer: Tim Vitale, 435-797-1356,

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