University Affairs

Utah State University Southwest Celebrates Class Of 2023

By Marcus Jensen |

USU Southwest held its commencement ceremony for the 2023 class, featuring 105 graduates earning 108 degrees and certificates.

Utah State University Southwest is proud to celebrate its class of 2023, comprised of 105 graduates. The Class of 2023 consists of individuals earning 12 associate, 79 bachelor’s, 13 master’s degrees, three undergraduate certificates and one doctorate degree. The graduation ceremony was held on April 20 at Beaver High School.

“We welcome each member of the 2023 graduating class, your family and friends,” said Nancy Glomb, associate vice president for the Southwest Region. “There are several factors that contribute to the quality of the Southwest centers, but most important is the quality of you all, the students, who exemplify perseverance, commitment, and the ability to engage in self-directed learning. Many of you were working in full-time positions, raising families, volunteering in your church and community, all while successfully completing your degrees through a USU Southwest center, and I say, year after year, that you USU graduates in the Southwest are truly rock stars for accomplishing what you have accomplished with all of those things on your plate!”

Glomb began the ceremony by welcoming graduates. The class was then addressed by student speaker Sherri Bennett-Callister, Southwest student body executive vice president, who graduated from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business with a bachelor’s degree in management. In the address, Bennett-Callister shared her story of perseverance through various hardships and the words of her father on how she would be able to take care of herself and her family with her degree. USU Statewide Campuses allowed Bennet-Callister that opportunity while keeping her close to home.

“My story is an example of how lucky we all are to have USU Statewide Campuses for us to be able to obtain a university education,” Bennett-Callister said. “All of the graduates here tonight are considered non-traditional students. We were able to juggle relationships and responsibilities, kids, jobs, school – multitasking at its best, right? Each one of you may have a similar story to mine and it does not go unnoticed.”

The students then heard the commencement speech, given by Shireen Keyl, assistant professor in the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education & Human Services. In the speech, Keyl shared various insights she has gleaned both as a teacher and as a learner in the classroom, including humility, vulnerability, perseverance, courage and curiosity.

"I’m grateful to be on this journey with my students, who teach me as well,” Keyl said. “The stories I shared here are just a few of many examples of students who I’ve come to know over the years. The university graduates before us embody a sense of resistance to what society might expect of them, or how society might expect them to think, to perceive, to understand. They now embark on their next adventures. I wish you all continued learning, challenging of the status quo, tremendous success in all you set out to do.”

USU President Noelle E. Cockett then provided a short message and conferred upon the students their degrees, and the graduates received their diplomas. The graduates then received a welcome address from Steven L. Palmer, president of the USU Alumni Association.

The ceremony closed with a special presentation from Rich Etchberger, interim vice president and vice provost for Statewide Campuses. Etchberger and Glomb presented President Cockett with a gift from the Southwest centers, a hand-made patchwork quilt created from pieces of t-shirts from the various Southwest communities. This gift symbolizes the area’s gratitude for President Cockett’s support during her seven years as university president.

“As you know, we represent a pretty big geographic footprint in Utah, and we wanted to give you something that represents all of us,” Glomb said to President Cockett. “We hope it brings you warm memories of us through the coming years!”

With locations in Beaver, Bicknell, Cedar City, Delta, Ephraim, Junction, Kanab, Nephi, Panguitch, Richfield, and St. George, Utah State University provides higher education access to rural communities via USU Southwest. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees and technical education opportunities, USU offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at

To close the ceremony, USU President Noelle E. Cockett was presented with a handmade quilt made from t-shirts representing the 11 Southwest Statewide Campuses. The gift was a token of the region's appreciation for Cockett's time as USU President.


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


Nancy Glomb
Associate Vice President for the Southwest Region
USU Statewide Campuses
(435) 652-7993



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