When Weber State University President Charles Wight asked graduates who worked through college to stand, it seemed that nearly all the black-robed students in the audience got to their feet.
One of those nearly 5,000 graduates, Abelardo Saucedo, said balancing work and school was just one challenges to getting a diploma.
"Your college career has included family, perhaps young children, full- or part-time work, a sick family member," said Saucedo in a speech to the class of 2014. He remembered entering Ogden High School as a newly arrived immigrant with no English skills.
But networks of professors, mentors, advisers, along with family and friends and plenty of hard work brought them through, he said.
"You know from personal experience the road has been challenging; yet you always knew that it would be worth it in the end," he said.
This year is 125th since the founding of the school, when tuition ranged from $3 to $6. Not long after, board members mortgaged their own homes to expand the campus, said graduation speaker F. Ann Millner. A former WSU president who is now running for the Utah Senate, she urged the class to envision the "relentless change," of their own futures.
"Within your lifetime, you’ll witness driverless vehicles; robots that move from vacuuming to fishing, farming, mining, fighting and performing surgery," she said. "All of these innovations and more will change the nature of your personal life and professional career ... you must imagine, anticipate and adapt."
Millner ran through a list of notable people, including J. Willard Marriott and Utah Supreme Court Justice Jill N. Parrish, who were students at Weber State.
"You are building and crafting your own life, the lives of those around you and those who will come after you," she said. "Make it visionary, challenging, and meaningful. Build something spectacular!"
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