University Affairs

Utah State University Wasatch Region Celebrates 2024 Graduating Class

By Marcus Jensen |

Graduates from the USU Wasatch Region pose for a photo at the USU Salt Lake Center on May 10, 2024. (Credit: Jesse Walker)

The Utah State University Wasatch Region is proud to have celebrated the class of 2024 on Friday, May 10. The class of 2024 consists of 522 individuals earning 57 associate, 280 bachelor’s, 179 master’s, 9 doctorate degrees, and 6 undergraduate and 10 graduate certificates. The Salt Lake campus hosted Wasatch Region graduates for the celebration.

David Vernon, associate vice president for the Wasatch Region, greeted graduates and offered opening remarks. He then introduced two student speakers: Jenelle Richie and Cheyanne Snowball.Richie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies. Snowball received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture.

Richie concentrated the speech on encouraging others to embracing the journey, not just looking at the destination. She shared with graduates that it is the experiences, challenges, and triumphs along the way that make the journey worth it.

“Each of us has embarked on a unique path during our time at USU, yet we are united by a shared commitment to growth and excellence,” Richie said.

She then shared the story of her own journey at USU, recounting the challenges of being a post-traditional student that continued to homeschool children while attending college. She found an opportunity at USU to have mentorship and student leadership opportunities. While the journey was not without hardship (late nights studying, balancing family and school, etc.), Richie also found growth and discovery, things she would not want to give back. She closed by telling students to remember the things they learned and focus on the future.

“As we prepare to embark on the next chapter of our lives, we carry with us the invaluable lessons learned—the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity, the power of collaboration and community, and the transformative impact of education,” Richie said. “Remember that success is not defined by the destination but by the experiences and lessons learned along the way. And above all, never lose sight of the incredible potential that lies within each and every one of us.”

Snowball then spoke to the graduates, recalling starting her college journey at Salt Lake Community College in 2011. Struggling with a career choice, she took classes on and off for eight years before graduating with an associate degree. Frustrated with herself for taking so long and failing classes along the way, Snowball decided to take a step back from schooling.

While working as a medical assistant, she liked to garden in her spare time, and it became something of a passion. She found herself not wanting to be anywhere else. One day, speaking to a friend, she heard about the horticulture program at USU. She quickly signed up.

“I had never considered going to school for something like that before and for some reason had a narrower idea of what degrees I could choose from,” Snowball recalled. “I felt excited about being able to take classes that genuinely interested me and to pursue a career that aligned more with my passions. I applied to USU right away and began classes in the horticulture program that same year.”

She encouraged her fellow graduates to follow their passions and not worry about how long things take, as long as progress is being made.

“For future endeavors, follow your own timeline and try not to compare your accomplishments to what others are doing,” Snowball said. “Each of us is on our own journey to build our dream life.”

The graduates then heard remarks from the Sheldon Browning, director of alumni operations for the USU Alumni Association. Browning welcomed the graduates into the association and congratulated them on their accomplishment.

“This momentous occasion marks not only the culmination of your academic journey, but also the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your lives,” Browning said. “Be proud to call yourselves Aggies, as it's a symbol of all the hard work and success you've achieved. As you embark on this new chapter of your lives, I have every confidence that you will continue to make USU proud.”

Vernon closed the ceremony and the graduates celebrated receiving their degrees.

With locations in Salt Lake City, Orem, Park City and Heber, Utah State University’s Wasatch Region offers students the personalized attention and small class sizes of a small-town college with the resources of a large university. With degree options ranging from associate to doctorate degrees, plus technical education offerings, USU offers programs that help fuel local economies and empower individuals and their communities. Learn more at

USU graduate Jenelle Richie gives a speech at the 2024 USU Wasatch Region graduation celebration. Richie was one of two student speakers at the event. (Credit: Jesse Walker)


Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications


David Vernon
Associate Vice President for the Wasatch Region
USU Statewide Campuses
(801) 597-0640


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