SLCC Class of 2020 Encouraged During Virtual Commencement Ceremony to Keep their “Souls Aloft”

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With the traditional commencement cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SLCC moved its ceremony to an online event that featured many of the traditional elements.

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Keep it aloft by noticing the goodwill of others, recognizing your own strength and by finding delight in unexpected places.

Salt Lake Community College is proud to announce the debut of its virtual commencement ceremony in honor of its graduating class of 2020. The ceremony is available to view at, and graduates are invited to watch at their convenience and celebrate their achievements with family and friends.

Commencement is the most anticipated and memorable event of the year at SLCC, with the college’s 2020 ceremony originally scheduled for May 8 at West Valley City’s Maverik Center. However, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic the event was cancelled, moving school officials to create a virtual tribute for its 2020 grads. This unique commencement still features traditional elements of past graduation ceremonies, including congratulatory messages from college faculty, musical performances and a message to students delivered by Dr. Deneece G. Huftalin, president of SLCC.

“You would not be where you are today without resilience, courage and hope,” said President Huftalin. “As you move forward in life, keep an eye on the elevation of your soul and endeavor to keep it aloft. Keep it aloft by noticing the goodwill of others, recognizing your own strength and by finding delight in unexpected places.”

To keep with its tradition of recognizing graduates individually as they receive their diplomas, SLCC invited each student to submit a photo for display while their name is read during the virtual ceremony. The college also sent celebration packages to each graduate that included a cap and tassel, a printed event program and an invitation to walk across the stage at next year’s commencement ceremony, scheduled for May 7, 2021.

In addition, during this year’s celebration SLCC recognized its Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters recipients Jerry M. Taylor of Taylor Electric, former KSL-TV host Edna Anderson-Taylor and president of Key Bank’s Utah Market Terry L. Grant. Also recognized were the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Davis M. Smith, founder of Cotopaxi, and Christina Andino, social worker for the Canyons School District. The Taylors, Grant, Smith and Andino will be honored during next years’ in-person ceremony as well.

SLCC’s online commencement also features a video tribute to its 2020 Graduates of Excellence: Carroll Glidden, General Studies; Joshua Elkins, School of Applied Technology and Technical Specialties; Kaori Schrank, School of Arts, Communication and Media; Madison Cochrane, School of Business; Amanda Farris, School of Health Sciences; Anna Timothy, School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Juman Al-Haddad, School of Science, Mathematics and Engineering.

Other individuals acknowledged at this year’s event were SLCC’s Teaching Excellence Award winners, which include Assistant Professor of Communications Jodie Jones, Associate Professor of Visual Art & Design Kerry Gonzáles and online anthropology instructor Marisa Maughan. The school’s Spring 2021 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, named each year during commencement, is music professor Dr. Craig E. Ferrin.

SLCC’s class of 2020 consists of 3,518 students, including 1,527 who are the first in their families to attend college and 122 military veterans. The oldest graduate is 64 and the youngest is 16. Also among the graduates are eight students who earned their diplomas through the college’s Prison Education Program at the Utah State Prison.

Salt Lake Community College is Utah’s largest open-access college, educating and training the state’s most diverse student body in 8 areas of study at 12 locations and online. The majority of SLCC graduates transfer to four-year institutions, and thousands contribute to Utah’s vibrant economy by moving directly into the workforce.

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