Prepare now for your ‘finest hour’ Coxes tell Snow graduates

Abby Cox and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox deliver a joint commencement address to graduates during Snow College commencement last week.


Prepare now for your ‘finest hour’ Coxes tell Snow graduates


Suzanne Dean




EPHRAIM—Hard work, kindness, service, honesty and marrying the right person can help young people be prepared for the unique challenges that will come into their lives, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and his wife, Abby, told Snow College graduates last week.

The Coxes, along with Mark and LeAnn Stoddard of Nephi, received honorary doctorates in humane letters at commencement exercises Saturday, April 29 at the Horne Activity Center.

In awarding honorary degrees to the Coxes, Carlston noted that Spencer Cox had been mayor of Fairview, a county commissioner and a state representative before becoming lieutenant governor. In his current post, he is Utah’s chief election officer and serves as the liaison between the Governor’s Office and the Utah Legislature.

Abby Cox, Carlston said, is active in PTA, serves in youth programs in her church, is the mother of four and is a partner with her husband in serving the state. Carlston said he had been inspired by the couple’s commitment to faith and family.

Carlston described the Stoddards, the other honorary degree recipients, as “some of Snow College’s strongest supporters.” Both are Snow alumni and all of their four children have graduated from Snow.

Mark Stoddard is CEO of Central Valley Medical Center in Nephi and has served on the Snow College Board of Trustees. He currently serves on the Utah State Board of Regents. LeAnn Stoddard is currently chairwoman of the board of the Snow College Foundation.

Spencer and Abby Cox delivered a joint commencement address, the first time, they said, they had joined in giving the same speech.

They based their address on a quote from Winston Churchill: “To each there comes in a time in their lifetime, a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.”

The Coxes described five traits or decisions that could help a person be prepared for that finest hour.

The first was hard work. Whatever the future holds, Abby Cox told graduates, they should never forget the work they went through to get their diplomas. “You can do hard work,” she told them.

The second and third were kindness and service. Whenever there’s a conflict between two opposing points of view, “there’s almost always a third option,” Spencer Cox said.

He cited the trailer court in Ephraim that the city had threatened to close because of code violations. Others opposed closure because it would force vulnerable residents out of their homes.

Then Snow College students and other community volunteers pitched in to help clean up the development. “In a moment, you reminded us that empathy, kindness and service can literally change lives,” the lieutenant governor said.

The fourth trait was honesty. “Always be true to yourselves and others,” Abby Cox told graduates.

Fifth, Spencer Cox advised, “fall in love with someone who makes you a better you, then fall in love again and again.”

The unique task that comes into a person’s life is not always career-related, Spencer Cox said. Several years ago, his sister, who has cystic fibrosis, wanted to have a second child. But her doctor told her she would not survive pregnancy and childbirth.

His wife, Abby stepped in and became a surrogate carrier for her sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It turned out to be a difficult pregnancy. She nearly lost the child several times.

“I can’t tell you the physical and emotional pain she went through,” he said.

But today, the child is a healthy, active, 7-year-old boy. Abby’s achievement in bringing him into the world added up to her finest hour, he said.

“You are a unique and talented generation,” Spencer Cox told graduates. “Your tap on the shoulder is coming. Because of your experience at Snow College, you will be prepared for what will become your finest hour.”

Faculty applaud Snow graduates as they march into the Horne Activity Center for commencement exercises. Between the Ephraim and Richfield campuses, Snow had 1,065 graduates, the largest class ever.