Monticello native is valedictorian, graduation speaker at Southern Utah University
Aspen English, a student from Monticello, is graduating this week at the top of her class from Southern Utah University (SUU).
In addition to being the valedictorian of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, she is one of three student speakers at the SUU Commencement Ceremony on Friday, April 28.
Aspen said, “The speech has been in the works for months” but she was notified that she would be a speaker only a few weeks ago.
Jeffrey R. Holland, an Apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, was initially scheduled to speak, but cancelled two weeks ago because of health concerns.
After the cancellation, English was asked if she would speak. English said. “My speech focuses on how much we change and grow during college.”
English is graduating with a double major degree in English with an emphasis in rhetoric and writing and strategic communication.
English was named the Outstanding Communication Student as well as the Top Rhetoric & Writing Student in the Department of English.
“If you look at my name, there’s a little bit of a destiny aspect there,” said English. “I’ve always been good at English, so it was fitting.
“When I came to college, I actually was undecided for an entire year, because I was interested in so many different things. When my advisor suggested I double major, I immediately jumped at the chance. I love English, but I wanted to add communication to get a more full scope of writing, marketing, social media and journalism.”
Dr. Nicole Dib, assistant professor of English at SUU, said, “In the multiple literature classes that Aspen has taken with me, what’s stood out the most about her work and work efforts is their level.
“I have written ‘graduate level argument’ on multiple of Aspen’s essays, because it’s simply the truth: as an undergraduate student, she is already thinking, writing, analyzing, and researching at a level that would be representative of a graduate student.”
English has been busy during her four years at SUU, with extensive work in Student Involvement and Leadership efforts. While she enjoyed working in event planning for two years, she eagerly made the jump to the vigorous student journalism effort at SUU News.
She initially served as the Student Life Editor and spent the past year as Editor in Chief.
“Working as editor-in-chief for SUU News has given me the opportunity to learn so much about the student experience on our campus,” said English.
English is also one of four students nominated for the Kenneth Benson Award. According to SUU, it is the most prestigious and distinguished award given to a student at the university.
After graduation, English will start a full-time position with the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, where she will work as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator. While a student, she completed two years of work and internship with the Chamber of Commerce.
Aspen is the daughter of Sarah and Jonathon English of Monticello. She is a 2019 graduate of Monticello High School.
In addition, her younger brother Cedar is a sophomore at SUU. A long jumper on the track team, Cedar currently is listed as one of the top 30 long jumpers in the NCAA.