This year’s DSU graduation class diverse, full of firsts

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With Dixie State University becoming a university for the first year, a diverse graduating class is in the picture of Dixie’s 103rd commencement ceremony.

The 2014 commencement ceremony will be held at the Burns Arena May 2 at 10 a.m. Family and friends of fall, spring and summer graduates will gather together to celebrate the achievements of graduates.

Andrea Brown, director of institutional research and assessment at DSU, said the graduation rate at Dixie is growing. There are 1,856 graduates for the 2013-2014 academic year. Compared to 1,614 graduates last year, there were 1,462 in 2010-2011 and 1,212 in 2009-2010. Since the 1999-2000 year, the number of graduating students has more than doubled from 736 graduates to 1,856 graduates, Brown said.

Brown said this year’s Dixie graduates are very diverse. The youngest graduate is 17, and the oldest is 72. There are graduates from countries all over the world, including China, Japan and Mali.

Sierra Andersen, a sophomore general education major from Dammeron Valley, is also a high school senior graduating with her associate degree of science from DSU at the same time she receives her high school diploma from SUCCESS Academy.

As a freshman, Andersen met with a representative of SUCCESS Academy, which is an early college program that allows high schoolers to take college classes for three years in order to receive their associate degrees when they graduate high school. She and 59 other students from Washington County won a lottery, which chooses students who applied at random, to have the opportunity of going this route. Andersen said she would highly recommend that high school students take college classes during high school; it saved her time and money.

“It was a wonderful opportunity for me, but I know it isn’t for everyone,” Andersen said. “School has always been one of my talents, so I was able to adapt the college classes easily.”

Because Dixie is now a university, there are a lot of students graduating with new degrees this year. There are 11 finance graduates, five Spanish graduates, two medical laboratory science graduates and the first-ever history graduate.

“Dixie’s business faculty is great,” said Matt Bass, a senior finance major from West Jordan. “They take an interest in your success in and out of the classroom. I’ve been applying and interviewing for jobs and, thanks to my professors’ help, I’ve already been receiving offers.”

Kyle Rarick, a senior Spanish major from Blanding, is one of the five Spanish majors graduating at Dixie. He was the president of the Spanish Club for the past two semesters and said if students are looking into a Spanish degree, joining the Spanish Club is a great idea. Rarick said he chose to major in Spanish because the number of Spanish speakers is growing throughout the U.S.; therefore, it will be easy to find a job in many different fields.  

“For prospective Spanish majors, I say go for it,” Rarick said. “You’ll not only find joy on the journey through the program, but at the end of your journey your Spanish degree will give you the opportunity to work in many different fields.”