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Utah Valley Community College is more than just a place to get a degree.

Some attend UVCC to learn special skills and others for the general education classes. But no matter what their reason for attending UVCC, Friday was a time for celebration and reflection for 1,007 graduates."For some, graduating from UVCC will be the beginning of the careers for which they have so diligently studied and worked. For others, it is a hard-earned and well-deserved step in pursuit of further education and training," UVCC President Kerry D. Romesburg said.

Five valedictorians from the school's various departments and two honorary-degree recipients received special recognition at Friday night's commencement exercises held in the amphitheater. Cyndi Le Cox, Cindy C. Fowlkes, Gary Robert Brian, Robert L. Alleman and Todd Ray Brewster were honored as valedictorians. Donald B. Holbrook and Orville Gunther were presented with hononary doctorate degrees.

Holbrook reported on the Utah Partnership for Educational and Economic Development. He is the body's chairman. He said the goals of the partnership can be achieved through higher education and include training, basic education, resources, research and image.

"We should concentrate in this institution on market-driven education, not to abandon the liberal arts, but to prepare our students for jobs and a better life as well," Holbrook said.

In his remarks, student body President Deryn Young said, for some, graduation means the end of a road filled with struggles and deadlines; for others, the journey continues.

"As these graduates commence this part of their journey, they stand on a pinnacle of knowledge and experience that opens to the mind a larger perspective of life's opportunities and a much greater amount of confidence to grasp those opportunities," he said.

Representing the valedictorians, Cox said graduation brings everyone together to celebrate every human's ultimate goal, happiness. She said happiness comes from hard work, giving of oneself and being able to face up to responsibilities.

"Sometimes the challenges seem difficult, but once you begin they are never as bad as you think they're going to be, and the joy that comes from the accomplishment makes it more worthwhile," Cox said.