Students, alumni and faculty to be honored Friday at SLCC’s commencement event

More than 3,200 Salt Lake Community College students will be awarded degrees and certificates at the school’s upcoming Commencement event, scheduled for Friday, May 3, at 9:30 a.m. at the Maverik Center in West Valley City.

During the event, the college will also honor several community leaders, faculty members and students who have been selected as SLCC Graduates of Excellence. Honorees are as follows:

Distinguished Alumni Awards – The Distinguished Alumni Award honors SLCC graduates and former students for contributions to their communities and in their chosen professional fields.

Natalie Kaddas – Kaddas is the CEO of Kaddas Enterprises, a Utah-based plastics manufacturing company. Since 1992, she has taken many classes at SLCC to develop skills to grow her business. Kaddas is also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, which is offered at the college’s Miller Campus.

Mark Ellis – Ellis is a senior construction manager with Kroger Company and a lieutenant colonel for the U.S. Air Force Reserves. He received an associate’s degree from SLCC before earning a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, an MBA and a master’s degree in Military Operational Art and Science.

Officer David Romrell — South Salt Lake Police Officer David Romrell, who died last year in the line of duty, will be honored posthumously. He was a criminal justice student at SLCC and served several tours of duty with the United States Marine Corps.

Legislative Champion – The SLCC Legislative Champion Award honors Utah legislators who demonstrate a commitment to advance and improve higher education in the state.

Utah House Rep. Derrin R. Owens – During the most recent Utah legislative session, Rep. Owens successfully sponsored a bill establishing the Access Utah Promise Scholarship program, which will provide millions in need-based aid to students attending any public higher education institution or technical college in the state.  

Teaching Excellence Awards and Distinguished Faculty Lecturer  — The Teaching Excellence Award is given by the SLCC Foundation Board to recognize excellence in professional education. The Distinguished Faculty Lecturer recognizes quality work by one of SLCC’s full-time faculty and the charge to develop that work into a public presentation.

Pook Carson – Carson is a business professor who has worked to improve her classes using student feedback and free online educational resources. She has taught at New York University, the University of Utah, Westminster College and Brigham Young University.

J. Chad Erekson – Erekson teaches animation at SLCC and encourages his students to work as a group to develop solutions for complex issues. He is an alumnus of SLCC and holds a bachelor’s of fine arts from Brigham Young University.

Linda Jemmett – Jemmett is an adjunct biology professor. She has taught at the college for 20 years and worked as a medical technologist before coming to SLCC.

Jane Drexler – Drexler has been named as the school’s Distinguished Faculty Lecturer. She is a philosophy professor and won SLCC’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2016.

Graduates of Excellence

Seven students will be recognized as SLCC Graduates of Excellence. The award is given to one student from each school at the college and general studies. This is a prestigious distinction that recognizes hard work, commitment and selflessness.

Darrell Godfrey – Diesel Systems Technologies Major, School of Applied Technologies and Technical Specialties

Sheresa Jensen – Mortuary Science Major, School of Health Sciences

Lisa Nord – Graphic Design Major, School of Arts, Communication and Media

Phuc To – Pre-pharmacy Major, School of Science, Mathematics & Engineering

Whitney Van Alfen – Psychology Major, School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Matthew Watts – General Studies

Cody Wilkerson – Business Major, School of Business

SLCC’s Commencement ceremony will also include presenting honorary doctorate degrees to Jay K. Francis from the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and Patricia R. Richards from SelectHealth. Luke Williams, an innovation expert and New York University professor, will be the event’s keynote speaker.