Virus doesn’t define class of 2020, Snow president says

        Eva Marble Tooele


Virus doesn’t define class of 2020,

Snow president says


By Suzanne Dean




EPHRAIM—Although the diplomas came in the mail and the commencement program said speakers “will be recognized at a future day,” Snow College did what it could this spring to recognize the 1,217 graduates on the Ephraim and Richfield campuses.

A “care package” containing each graduate’s official diploma or certificate, a Class of 2020 keepsake and a commencement program went out last week. Graduates should receive their packages this week, according to Marci Larsen, assistant to the president.

Because some graduates earned more than one degree or certificate, the college awarded 1,325 diplomas, including 34 bachelor’s degrees, 1,168 associate degrees, and 123 certificates of completion or certificates of proficiency.

The Class of 2020 was 63 percent female and 37 percent male. It included graduates from 39 countries. Forty-one percent graduated cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude. Majors with the most graduates were nursing with 74, business with 73, music with 52 and pre-engineering with 33.

In a video message posted on the college website, President Brad Cook told students, “When you first stepped on campus, none of us could have imagined that your final semester at Snow College would end this way. These are unusual times that have called for extraordinary measures.”

But COVID-19 doesn’t need to define the Class of 2020, Cook said. “If anything, it enhances what you have achieved. You had to adapt quickly to a new learning medium. You had to show grace and patience as faculty and staff have also had to pivot to remote work. Most of all, you have persevered and pursued your educational goals. That will, I promise you, help you in the brighter days ahead.”

The valedictorians were Eva Kristine Marble, a Tooele High School graduate who completed a bachelor’s degree in commercial music, and Alexander Stewart, a Gunnison Valley High School graduate, who earned an associate degree in chemistry. Both graduated with 4.0 grade-point averages.

Marble achieved perfect grades while teaching private violin lessons and playing in college ensembles. In March 2017, she won the Horne School of Music concerto competition and played her winning piece with the Snow symphony orchestra.

She and her husband, Zach, who also graduated this spring, plan to move to Salt Lake City to pursue further education. She hopes to teach orchestra in a middle or high school.

In a message published in the graduation program, Marble expressed “immense gratitude” for her Snow College experience.

“I love the slogan, ‘Great stories start at Snow,’” she said. “I would like to add that great friendships, mentorships and relationships also start at Snow. The people I have met and the relationships I have built here have changed my life, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

“The spirit of Snow is present in more than our beautiful campus, the student section at a home football game, or attending a concert at Eccles. It is evident in every interaction with a fellow classmate, helpful professor and friendly face you pass on the way to the next class.”

Stewart, the other valedictorian, is the son of David and the late Kristin Stewart of Centerfield. He graduated from Gunnison Valley High School at 16 and was also valedictorian of his high school class.

Stewart lost his mother to multiple sclerosis when he was 5 years old. Later, a younger brother also died. But according to his profile in the commencement program, “Alexander hasn’t allowed these tragedies to define him.”

He plans to serve an LDS mission before continuing his education at Southern Utah University and eventually hopes to go to medical school.

In a valedictory message, he quoted Thomas S. Monson: “We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.”

“I have tried to live by this motto, and for that reason, I’m thankful for the opportunity to express gratitude for all of the opportunities I’ve been given at Snow College,” Stewart said.

“Snow College has a great community of people surrounding it, and I think I can speak for my peers when I say that we’ve loved being part of that community,” he said.

Referring to the college, he said, “We will not forget the lessons we have learned from you. We are better because of you.”

The commencement program identified three “honored guests” who will be recognized at a later date. They were Alan E. Hall from the Ogden area, the co-founder of MarketStar Corp., an international sales and marketing business; Rep Frances Gibson, a member of the Utah House of Representatives from Mapleton, Utah County; and Kristen Cox, director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.