Skip to main content

CEO of Global Poverty Project to Speak at University's 127th Commencement

Thursday, Mar. 06, 2014

Hugh Evans is USU's 2014 commencement speaker

CEO of Global Poverty Project, Hugh Evans, is the Utah State University commencement speaker for its 127th graduation ceremony May 3 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan.

Utah State University welcomes Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Poverty Project, as its commencement speaker for its 127th graduation ceremony. Evans will also receive an honorary doctorate during the ceremony.

Three other prominent individuals will also receive honorary doctorates during the undergraduate ceremony May 3 at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan.

“We are honored that Hugh Evans has accepted our invitation to address our graduating students this year,” said USU President Stan L. Albrecht. “Commencement is a time for celebration and inspiration. His message will resonate with our students and inspire them at this turning point in their lives.”

Evans will receive an honorary doctorate along with Tayseer Al-Smadi, senator in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and chairman of the Jordan Press and Publishing Corporation; Pamela J. Atkinson, an advocate for impoverished, underprivileged and homeless populations in Utah; and R. Gilbert Moore, a specialist in rocketry and propulsion science who founded USU’s Get Away Special Program.

Albrecht said honorary degrees are one of the most important ways the university has to recognize people for the commitment and sacrifices they have made to make positive changes in the world.

“All of these individuals have made their marks in a number of ways and in a number of fields, but all of them deserve honor for their passion and determination to serve others,” he said.

HUGH EVANS (Commencement Speaker and Honorary Doctorate Recipient)

Hugh Evans is an Australian humanitarian and an internationally renowned development advocate who is the CEO of the Global Poverty Project.

Evans’ passion for poverty eradication was sparked at the age of 14 while on a World Vision trip in the Philippines. Living with his host family in a Manila slum, Evans began his journey to end the status quo of extreme poverty.

Following a trip to South Africa in 2002 as World Vision’s inaugural youth ambassador, Evans co-founded the Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s first youth-run aid organization. He wanted to bring young people together to end global poverty, and his success as director led Evans to being named Young Australian of the Year (2004) and Junior Chamber International Person of the World (2005).

In 2008, with grants from the United Nations, Australian government and British government, Evans built his impact in the aid and development sector, co-founding the Global Poverty Project (GPP). GPP is an education and advocacy organization committed to increasing the number and effectiveness of individuals taking action to end extreme poverty. GPP launched in Australia in 2009 and has expanded to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, USA and Canada.

In August 2012 the Global Poverty Project launched the Global Citizen Festival — a free, ticketed charity music event featuring the Black Keys, Foo Fighters and Neil Young where $1.3 billion in new commitments were made to help end extreme poverty.

The Global Citizen Festival was repeated successfully in 2013 resulting in 25 policy and financial commitments towards ending extreme poverty by 2030.

TAYSEER AL-SMADI (Honorary Doctorate Recipient)

Tayseer Al-Smadi is senator of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan where he serves as chair of the Senate Public Services Committee. Additionally, in February 2014, Al-Smadi was elected chairman of the Jordan Press and Publishing Corporation. Prior to becoming senator, Al-Smadi spent 19 years in public service with the government of Jordan where he contributed to the development of many programs and initiatives aiming to improve the standard of living, as well as the economy of Jordan.

Al-Smadi earned a doctorate in economics with an emphasis on international trade and economic development from Utah State University. He earned a master’s in economics from the University of Jordan.

PAMELA J. ATKINSON (Honorary Doctorate Recipient)

Pamela Atkinson is an advocate for the impoverished, underprivileged and homeless populations in Utah. She has served on countless boards or organizations dedicated to caring for Utah’s underserved. She has organized and led efforts to house, clothe, feed and provide healthcare and counseling services to people in need.

Atkinson is currently an advisor for Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert, is the chairwoman of the Utah Coalition Against Pornography and is part of the Deseret News’s Editorial Advisory Board.

R. GILBERT MOORE (Honorary Doctorate Recipient)

R. Gilbert Moore is a pioneer in rocketry and propulsion science who began his career at New Mexico State’s Physical Science Laboratory. He later moved to Utah to work for the Thiokol Corporation where he began working on rocket launches and satellite experiments. Moore founded USU’s Get Away Special Program, a program that sent student-built experiments into space. He also founded the annual Small Satellite Conference, attended by space industry experts from around the world.

Moore earned a bachelor’s in chemical engineering, with honors, from New Mexico State University and pursued graduate studies in physics at that institution. He took short courses in space engineering and management at Purdue University and University of California Los Angeles.

For more information on USU’s 127th Commencement, visit the commencement website.

Contact: Maren Cartwright, 435-797-1355,

Post your Comment

We welcome your response. Your comment or question will be forwarded to the appropriate person. Please be sure to provide a valid email address so we can contact you, if needed. Your submission will NOT be published online. Thank you.

More News

All news


Utah State Today is available as a weekly e-mail update, with links to news, features, and events. Subscribers stay connected, whether on campus or off.

To receive Utah State Today every week, simply enter your e-mail address below.

Unsubscribe here.

Visit our social media hub

Visit our social media hub to see a snapshot of student life and find more USU social media accounts.

Learn more About USU