DSC Responds to Concerns Over Commencement Speaker Being LDS President

ST. GEORGE – Dixie State College responded today to concerns residents had after DSC announced that President Thomas S. Monson from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would be this year’s Commencement speaker. In a letter to St. George News, DSC said:

“First and foremost, Dixie State College embraces and celebrates the diversity of our campus community. We are very aware that we do have a diverse culture on our campus and we appreciate and respect all opinions from our students, faculty, staff and benefactors.

As President Nadauld has stated publicly, our students will not be entering a homogeneous world once they graduate from this institution. DSC has worked hard to provide students with the opportunity to experience diversity during their collegiate careers as a way to prepare them for their next step in their lives.

As you know, Dixie State College is in the midst of its Centennial Celebration. The institution was founded in September of 1911 by the LDS Church as the St. George Stake Academy, and eventually became a state institution in 1933. Ås part of our Celebration, our administration felt it appropriate to invite President Thomas S. Monson to speak at our Centennial Commencement in acknowledgement of our beginnings as the home for education in this area nearly 100 years ago.

This is not the first time President Monson has been invited to speak at a Utah state institution’s commencement exercise. In 2010, he spoke at Weber State University’s commencement. In 2009, he spoke at Southern Utah University’s commencement. In 2007, he spoke at the University of Utah’s (his alma mater) commencement. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate degree from Salt Lake Community College, presumably for speaking at its commencement.

It is not unusual for colleges and universities across the country to invite religious leaders of all faiths and denominations to serve as commencement speakers. Given that President Monson has spoken at three other state universities over the past four years, we are very confident that his message will be appropriate for the occasion and will be filled with counsel, inspiration and congratulation to our graduates for their hard work and achievement as they take that next step into the world.

We are very pleased and honored to welcome President Monson to Dixie State College to help us celebrate this banner day for our graduates and institution.”

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2011, all rights reserved.

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  • James March 31, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Response to comments asking what else has he done besides just service in his church

    Thomas Monson was in the navy, chairman of the board of directors for Deseret News in 1977, on the Utah state board of regents handling higher education in Utah, appointed by President Reagan to the president’s task force for private sector initiatives, on the printing industries of America board, president of the printing industry of Utah, on the national executive board of boy scouts of America, chaired the audit committee for the Commercial Security Bank and was on their board of directors, member of the board of directors for Key Bank, taught at the U of U, placed 1st in Slate magazines most powerful 80 over 80, and received awards and honorary degrees from the boy scouts and U of U and other higher education institutions, received the worldwide humanitarian award from Rotary International, and many other awards and accomplishments. Almost all of these were before he was called to be President of the LDS church.

  • Jezzy October 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I think it was a mistake on the part of the school to write that their justification for inviting him was to pay homage to their LDS roots. (The article on the school website detailed that as the reason). That was in poor taste. Dixie State College is a public school, this is not a private, non-secular LDS institution. If this was based off of certain qualifications and characteristics other than that, the school should have announced such. They did list some qualifications, as they do for any speaker (such as Dixie Forum Speakers), but they were not impressive (such as “honorary degrees”). Mayhaps they should have consulted James on that front.

    However, word choice aside, I would still be *personally* against it. President Monson is in large part responsible for some of my dearest friends not having the same rights as their equal counterparts (some of whom were graduating that year), and continues to propagate sexism, homophobia, sexual dysfunction, faith above reason, etc. That being said– most, if not all speakers will be disliked by “someone”. From what I heard, Monson’s speech was vague and fairly typical of any commencement, If it were my own graduation, I probably would not have attended.

    I think it would be interesting, given this defense, to research the religious, political, and racial diversity of DSC’s speakers.

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