Utah’s top provider of workforce training graduated 3,603 students on Thursday as Salt Lake Community College held its 2018 commencement ceremonies in West Valley City.

Graduating students, faculty, friends and family members assembled in the Maverik Center heard from New England Patriots wide receiver and award-winning children’s book author Malcolm J. Mitchell, who delivered the event’s keynote speech.

Mitchell, who attended the University of Georgia before being drafted by the Patriots in 2016, is said to have struggled with reading when he first began college. Since the 2016 release of his first book, “The Magician’s Hat,” Mitchell has emerged as an advocate for literacy.

“If success is a mountain,” the 24-year-old Georgia native told SLCC graduates on Thursday, “then being here today means you’re already moving up that mountain.”

The college awarded 4,215 degrees during its morning commencement exercises, with more than a third of them in general studies. SLCC also gave out two honorary doctorate degrees, to SLCC board member and retired entrepreneur Ashok Joshi; and to Pam Perlich, director of demographic research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute for the University of Utah.

Angela H. Brown, executive editor of SLUG Magazine, and Manoli Katsanevas, owner of Manoli’s restaurant, were given the college’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni awards.

The college gave teaching excellence awards to faculty members Gordon Storrs, Kristen Taylor and Deidre Tyler. Chosen as 2018 Graduates of Excellence were Aaron Hornok, Alondra Melendez Rivas, Blake Hrubes, David Johnson, Ethel Wilson, Febechukwu “Febz” Megwalu and Nathan le Duc.