homepage logo

Weber State celebrates latest graduating class during 162nd commencement

By Ryan Aston - | Apr 28, 2024

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

Pyrotechnics accompany the Weber State University fight song during the institution's commencement program at the Dee Events Center on Friday, April 26, 2024.

OGDEN — Weber State University celebrated a graduating class of nearly 3,700 students from its seven academic colleges on a rainy Friday during the institution’s spring commencement proceedings at the Dee Events Center.

Actor, writer and comedian Rainn Wilson of “The Office,” “Super” and the “Soul Boom” podcast — who received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from WSU — delivered the commencement remarks, which ranged from the humorous to the heartfelt in the effort to advise graduates in their life’s endeavors.

“Although there are a lot of important questions about the world out there to ponder, I’m going to share something I, sitcom actor and author Rainn Wilson, have managed to figure out — a topic that has flummoxed seers and prophets and philosophers for eons,” Wilson said. “I am going to bestow upon you all here today the meaning of life. That’s right. I’m going to bestow the meaning of life. And I’ve got to hurry; I’ve only got 18 minutes at this point.”

Wilson offered up four guidelines (plus a bonus fifth guideline) for life, and how to make the most of it, during his speech. They were to “gather a bouquet of virtues,” to “be other-centered,” to “live like it’s Dungeons & Dragons,” to “devote yourself to love” and to “keep hope alive.”

The Emmy-nominated performer implored graduates to love more, invoking the names of Jesus, the Dalai Lama and SpongeBob SquarePants, and likened our shared human experience to Fish Lake’s Pando, the world’s largest tree and a singular clonal organism with more than 40,000 individual stems/trees.

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

Actor Rainn Wilson speaks at Weber State University's commencement program at the Dee Events Center on Friday, April 26, 2024.

“As we’ve looked around, what stops us from loving more deeply these beautiful souls, these fellow spiritual beings having a human experience, with the light and warmth of the sun all the time?” Wilson asked. “Fact — It’s the illusion of separateness. We feel like we’re distinct individuals having individual blobs of consciousness experience, and we’re not. We are one.”

The commencement program opened with a rendition of “Pomp and Circumstance,” performed by WSU’s marching band and drumline. WSU Alumni Association President Rob Higginson welcomed the class of 2024, after which university President Brad Mortensen and student graduate speaker Bradley Maples offered remarks.

Honorary degrees were then awarded to Wilson, Jane Marquardt, Craig Oberg and Jodi L. Smith.

Following Wilson’s commencement speech, Ravi Krovi — provost and vice president of academic affairs — presented the graduates. Mortensen offered acknowledgments and closing remarks, which book-ended a performance of WSU’s school song, “Purple and White,” by Jaden Nandkeshwar and Kaitlyn Yardley.

The ceremony closed with WSU’s fight song, which was accompanied by pyrotechnics and cheers from graduates and those who attended in support of them.

Ryan Aston, Standard-Examiner

Graduates filter out of the Dee Events Center following Weber State University's commencement program Friday, April 26, 2024.

Graduates attend the Weber State University commencement program at the Dee Events Center on Friday, April 26, 2024.


Join thousands already receiving our daily newsletter.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)