A record number of students received their diplomas in commencement ceremonies at Dixie College on Saturday.
A total of 711 degrees and certificates were awarded. There were 462 students who received either the associate of arts, associate of science or associate of applied science degrees; 218 graduates received certificates in the various vocational education courses the college offers; and 31 students received nursing degrees through a cooperative program sponsored by Dixie, Southern Utah State and Weber State colleges.The graduates represented nearly every county in Utah, 15 other states and three foreign countries - Canada, Japan and Sri Lanka. There were 72 graduates who are married, many of them with children. Four couples graduated together. The oldest graduate is 54, the youngest 18.
One of the more notable graduates is 25-year-old Brenda Baumgartner, the mother of two sets of twins and a 7-year-old daughter. Baumgartner received her degree in communications. She plans to continue studying at the University of Utah in the fall and eventually go on to law school.
Dixie College conferred an honorary doctor of humanities degree on Hungarian-born Stephen F. Udvar-hazi, president and chief executive officer of the California-based International Lease Finance Corp. who delivered the commencement address. He told the students they should take a reading of their dreams and aspirations and then, "refuse to settle for mediocrity."
He said communism around the world is dying because it is a system that chokes goals and dreams. He charged communist governments with a failure to choose good men for key positions and with adopting atheism as their standard of belief.
Dixie College administrators also honored St. George residents Wendel C. Gray, Willis E. Groves and Barbara W. Watson for what they termed "their contributions and humanitarian service to mankind."