By CHRIS FENN-ANSTRUTHER
As BYU’s April graduation quickly approaches, many people wonder about the statistical information behind the graduating students, such as how many go on to graduate school, how many graduates served missions, who the oldest graduate is, and who’s the youngest.
Cecelia Fielding, BYU’s campus news manager for university communications, provided The Daily Universe with the following statistical information.
This season’s graduates consist of individuals from all the 50 states and 36 foreign countries. Of those students graduating, 47.4 percent transferred from other colleges or universities and 20 percent plan on attending graduate school. The cumulative G.P.A. for this April’s graduating class is 3.39.
About 76 percent of the student body is single. Of those graduating, 50.9 percent are married. An average of 31 percent of the men and 17 percent of the women at BYU are married at the time of graduation. Typically, 77 percent of men and 14 percent of women who graduate from BYU have completed missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This season’s youngest graduate is 19-year-old Adam Reid Stephenson of Phoenix, Ariz., who majored in chemical engineering. Stephenson graduated from high school at the age of 16. Stephenson said he has lived in about a dozen states, since his family moved frequently because of his father’s career. Stephenson completed most of his high school education through correspondence courses from HPS Prep school, based in Vancouver, Wash.
He said he also took independent study courses from BYU, which allowed him to complete his prerequisites before being admitted to BYU. Stephenson entered BYU and the Engineering Department in the fall of 1995.
Since then he has attended classes at BYU year-round, and is thinking about attending graduate school at BYU after he returns from a mission. Stephenson has been called to the Missouri Independence Mission.
Stephenson has clearly been a busy individual, but said he still feels he has a satisfying social life. He said he didn’t start dating until he came to BYU.
“Most of my priorities, up to this time, have been focused on education,” Stephen said. “But, I have met many wonderful people and made exceptional friends. I’m grateful I was able to come here for college, I would not go to any other school.”
This April’s graduate with the most years behind her is Heather Rollingson, 56, from Wisconsin Dells, Wis., who majored in English. Rollingson originally entered BYU in 1960 and attended classes for two years. She met her husband at BYU and he completed his degree at Arizona State University.
Rollingson and her husband raised five children and lived in several parts of the United States and Canada before moving to Wisconsin four years ago. Rollingson said she was a stay-at-home mom, and when her last child moved away from home she decided to finish her education. She attended classes during the winter semester, while staying with her daughter’s family, and took Independent Study classes during the spring/summer terms in Wisconsin.
“I wanted to finish what I started 38 years ago, and I wanted to prove to myself I could do it,” Rollingson said.
Rollingson said she has always been interested in education and may even return for graduate studies. Rollingson said she can’t imagine leaving BYU.
“It’s been a wonderful experience and something I will always cherish,” Rollingson said. “My testimony has also been strengthened while at BYU. It’s been great to be taught by instructors who not only teach valuable things, but also live the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Rollingson said the students at BYU “have been very kind and supportive.” which was something that concerned her.