Dear SLCC Graduates,

Congratulations on your graduation from Salt Lake Community College!  As President, the very best part of my job is recognizing you and all of our students during Commencement and paying tribute to this enormous milestone you have achieved!

As I reflect on the past surprising and difficult year, I am in absolute awe of the immense challenges you have overcome to make it to the Commencement stage. Many of you were brand new or early in your SLCC student career when COVID-19 took over the world and instantly transformed your college experience. The grit and grace you have shown during these unprecedented times have been extraordinary, and I have never been prouder to celebrate your achievements.

You have also lived through a year with historic social justice reckonings and calls to reexamine and disrupt many of our nation’s systems, including higher education. I am reminded that now, more than ever, we need people who will live by the words of civil rights leader and Congressman John Lewis, who said, “You must be bold, brave and courageous and find a way to get in the way.

Remarkable things happen when people, especially those from ordinary circumstances, find the will and courage to work toward positive and equity-focused change. Individually, you are more powerful than you imagine and collectively…you are unstoppable. I encourage you to call upon the mettle you’ve shown during your time at SLCC and “find a way to get in the way.” Seek out opportunities to improve the lives of others. Look for ways to serve and connect with your neighbors, families and communities. Strive to promote understanding, equity and peace wherever you can. Keep an open mind and be committed to lifelong learning and growth. Most importantly, never miss a chance to stand up for what’s right.

While the future is bright, you, like everyone, will undoubtedly encounter difficulties. Be confident in your power to overcome any challenge and focus on creating hope by practicing optimism, generosity, boldness and bravery throughout your life.

Again, my congratulations and sincere thanks for making SLCC a part of your life’s journey. I look forward to seeing how you’ll “get in the way” and build a better tomorrow for all of us.

Go Bruins!

Deneece G. Huftalin, PhD
Salt Lake Community College