BYU grads, young and old, ready to embark on new adventures

Ari Davis
BYU graduates listen to the commencement addresses during the spring graduation ceremonies. Nearly 6,000 students received degrees from BYU at the graduation ceremonies. (Ari Davis)

The oldest student of the 4,970 graduates who received bachelor’s degrees this spring is 72 years old according to the April 2017 BYU graduation statistics.

While the average age of graduates who received a bachelor’s degree is 24.9, there were also a number of older students. Graduation is a time for reflection and looking ahead for graduates both young and old.

Nancy Hamilton is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management. (Kaleena McKell)

Nancy Hamilton, a 60-year-old student who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management, is one of those students. Hamilton decided going back to school at this point in her life was the best decision for her financially and career-wise.

Hamilton previously ran a literacy organization. She plans to start her own business to develop tools for parents to help them teach their children how to read.

“My experience at BYU was absolutely wonderful,” Hamilton said. “The teachers are fantastic, the students, the atmosphere — I just learned so much in so many ways.”

Hamilton said BYU has one of the top entrepreneurial business schools in the nation. She said she learned important skills like how to network and talk to people, and she gained confidence in knowing that she can succeed in starting her own business.

Scott Self, 24, graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in woodwind performance. Self plays the bassoon and has participated in the BYU Chamber Orchestra during his time as an undergrad. Self will attend the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee this fall after touring with the chamber orchestra in the Philippines this summer.

Scott Self will attend medical school in Wisconsin this fall after graduating with a bachelor’s in woodwind performance. (Kaleena McKell)

“I am so ready to start the next chapter of my life,” Self said. “My time at BYU has been one of the most enriching and wonderful experiences of my life, and I’m ready to take those things I’ve learned and go to the next stage.”

Self’s grandfather died from a stroke when Self was 16 years old. Self said that made him want to go into the field of medicine.

“When it came time to choose a major, I was thinking neuroscience because that seems logical,” Self said. “But I just had a series of experiences that really pushed me toward the music program, and it has been one of the most enriching experiences and I think helped me in preparing for medical school.”

BYU graduates Anna Richey, Ashley Palmer and Brittany Ting said they became great friends while studying photography. They all graduated with bachelor’s degrees in photography.

Anna Richey, Ashley Palmer and Brittany Ting all graduated with degrees in photography. (Kaleena McKell)

Ting said her favorite part of this year at BYU was a diversity project she did, which was displayed in the Harris Fine Arts Center.

“I like that (diversity project) because I actually got a message out in the world, or on campus at least, and that was through photography,” Ting said.

Palmer said she liked the photography program because it’s smaller, so she had the opportunity to get to know her professors and make lasting friendships.

“My favorite thing is being from BYU because I do a lot of stuff with people outside of BYU and outside of Utah, so I enjoy being able to represent BYU and what it stands for,” Richey said.

The three graduates said their freshman year felt like yesterday, but at the same time they had experienced much over the last few years.

“I feel like I’ve learned so much and grown so much from being a part of BYU and the standards that they teach,” Richey said.

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