Uintah Basin Technical College virtually celebrated 485 students on Facebook, YouTube and on Channel V6 website during the college’s first ever on-line graduation ceremonies. During the virtual UBTech commencement exercises, 539 technical certificates were displayed individually on the screen to highlight each graduate.
The unique graduation was the result of the Coronavirus pandemic, which put a halt to the school year throughout Utah and much of the nation in mid-March. UBTech instructors and administration worked quickly to bring classes on line, allowing students to complete the year and graduate as planned.
“I had multiple people tell me it was wonderful to view graduation in the comfort of their home. I also had family members who live outside of the Uintah Basin be able to support us by tuning-in,” said Laci Day, UBTech Student of the Year. Day was the student speaker at the virtual graduation.
“It was a day of celebration and my classmates in the practical nursing program feel that we made the best of it!” Day said.
Darick Barton, also an Uintah High School graduate, celebrates earning his Civil Drafting Technician certificate from UBTech virtually on May 6th.
Students graduated with certificates in nearly 30 different UBTech programs: Office Technician, Administrative Assistant, Business Manager, Civil Drafting Technician, Culinary Arts, IT Support Technician, Network Technician, Security Technician, Medical Assistant, Practical Nursing, Pharmacy Technician, Nursing Assistant, Automotive Maintenance and Light Repair, Auto Technology, Heavy Duty Diesel, Cabinetry, Construction Technology, Residential Construction, Basic Corrections Officer, Special Function Officer, Law Enforcement Officer, Welding Basic Technician, Welding Intermediate Technician, Welding Advanced Technician, CDL, Automation Technician, Oil and Gas Technician, Well Control Supervisor, and Well Control Workover Operator.
“Never have so many been able to attend our commencement exercises, with no one really in the room,” UBTech President Aaron Weight joked while giving his remarks.
Some graduates received more than one technical certificate. Kevin Priebe completed the Basic Correction Officer, Special Function Officer and Law Enforcement Officer certificates.
“I enjoyed watching the graduation virtually,” Priebe said. “My experience with UBTech and going through the Peace Officer Standards and Training programs were excellent. I ended up with a great job with a local law enforcement agency thanks to my certifications.”
This special occasion also garnered the attention of Gov. Gary Herbert, who participated in the ceremonies by delivering a message to the new UBTech graduates.
Utah leads the nation in economic development and its technically skilled graduates are key factors in our state’s continued success, the governor told students.
“May today’s success be the beginning of tomorrow’s achievements,” he said.
Other speakers included UBTech Vice President of Economic Development, Dr. Mark Dockins and UBTech President Aaron K. Weight.
The keynote speaker was Gayle McKeachnie, a Vernal attorney who served four terms in the Utah House of Representatives and served as Lt. Governor under Gov. Olene Walker. McKeachnie served as the leader of Rural Affairs in the administration of former Gov. Jon Huntsman.
“Some may say, ‘I came to become a welder;’ another, ‘I want to become a nurse. I want to become a chef. I came to become a draftsman, computer programmer or technician.’ Maybe the word ‘becoming’ is a pretty good description of your experience at UBTech,” McKeachnie shared.
Resiliency was the topic of President Weight’s address to students.
Alison Olsen watched the virtual UBTech graduation exercises and is one of 485 students recognized earning a UBTech technical certificate.
“As you now move forward onto the next phase of your life’s experience, you will enjoy a variety of employment and educational opportunities,” he said. “How these opportunities materialize for you, rests largely on your shoulders and will be greatly influenced by the resilience you exercise.”
Within 24-hours the video received over 2,000 views. Those watching the live premiere were able to comment and congratulate students on Facebook and YouTube.
Vice Chair of Higher Education, Aaron Osmond, Utah’s Higher Education System Commissioner, Dave Woolstenhulme, and Commissioner of Utah Technical Colleges, Jared Haines, were among state education officials in attendance at the virtual commencement, sending congratulatory messages to UBTech graduates.
UBTech’s virtual graduation is still available to view on the UBTech Facebook page and YouTube channel. It can also be viewed on Channel V6.com.
“In a few minutes will you all be alumni of UBTech,” Dr. Dockins told students. “You have a shared experience of graduation from UBTech. Those shared experiences are what create the stories that shape who you are.
“Stay connected to UBTech. Someday you may find it in your future to become an instructor, mentor or financially support another student just like yourselves, trying to gain skills and education to better their lives through UBTech,” said Dr. Dockins.