Utah State University Moab is proud to have celebrated its class of 2021 on Thursday, May 6. The class of 2021 had a campus record of 55 individuals who completed the requirements for a degree and/or certificate. This year’s class earned 29 certificates, 18 associate, 12 bachelor’s, one graduate certificate and one master’s.
“There are many factors that contribute to the quality of USU Moab,” said Lianna Etchberger, associate vice president of USU Moab. “Most important is the quality of our students who exemplify perseverance, commitment and the ability to engage in self-directed learning. Compared to the typical college campus, we attract and retain many ‘post-traditional’ students – students who are working in various careers, raising families, volunteering in their church and community, all while successfully completing their degrees right here in our community. And this class of 2021 accomplished all of this with the additional uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for your resilience and for helping to keep our Aggie family safe.”
USU Moab celebrated the graduates with a virtual commencement over Zoom. In the afternoon, the graduates had the opportunity for a photo in their regalia in a drive-through setting at the USU Moab campus.
The keynote speaker for the virtual commencement was Kelly Vagts, a class of 2014 USU Moab graduate who is currently a mental health therapist in the Grand County School District. Vagts spoke about resiliency and the ways that this class of graduates overcame the odds of 2020 and showed resiliency.
“In the desert we call home, resiliency abounds – the juniper trees growing through cracks in red rock, plants that thrive with minimal water and extreme heat, animals who’ve biologically adapted to survive the harsh conditions,” Vagts said. “And in each of you, resiliency abounds – in spite of COVID, shelter-in-place, quarantines and uncertainty – you persevered and achieved. You all possess the confidence, connection, competence, character, contribution, coping and control necessary to be described as resilient. You are all examples for our community, and the individuals you engage with, from here on in.
“You are fierce. May you go out into our community and share your anchor of resiliency. May you find a way to instill and nurture this mysterious, powerful, trait with everyone you encounter, so that we can all thrive in your presence,” Vagts added.
Following Vagts’s address, USU President Noelle E. Cockett conferred the degrees to the graduates, and USU Vice Provost Rich Etchberger recognized the students attended the virtual event. Following Etchberger, the event closed with remarks from USU Alumni Association Board President Laurel Alder.
USU Moab is home to over 90 degrees and certificates options, including nursing, health professions, social work and technical careers. For more information about USU Moab, visit moab.usu.edu.