BYU holds first in-person commencement ceremony since COVID-19 began, honors Class of 2022

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The BYU graduating class of 2022 was the first one to attend an in-person commencement ceremony since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic two years ago.

The Marriott Center was filled with professors, family and friends who were there in support of the 6,873 graduates attending the event.

Elder S. Mark Palmer of the Presidency of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints presided over the event, and BYU President Kevin J Worthen conducted the ceremony.

Among the commencement speakers were Elder Palmer, President Worthen, BYU Alumni Association president Karen Bybee and graduating student Emilee L. Carr.

The speakers talked about the graduates’ future and emphasized that in spite of potential uncertainties, hope and peace can be found through assurance from their education and from the Savior.

President Worthen summarized this year’s graduating class in the word “propinquity,” meaning “nearness.”

“Relationships seem to develop and prosper when people are physically near each other often, where there is propinquity,” President Worthen said.

He also suggested that graduates could make propinquity a positive factor in their lives by consciously seeking in-person contact with others, in-person interaction with those with whom they disagree, and nearness in their relationship with the Lord.

“While literal, physical face-to-face contact with Christ may be rare during our mortal existence, Christ invites us to have regular and frequent close communication and contact with Him, with the promise that our relationship with Him will deepen and strengthen as a result,” President Worthen said.

Elder Palmer spoke about how he did not remember much from his own graduation from BYU, but shared ways students could make theirs memorable.

He explained how by focusing, centering and recentering their subject, students could take great pictures to remember their special moment. He added that those three tips would also take them far in life.

“Above all, as you leave with diplomas in hand, I invite you to focus on what is within your control, to center your faith and life on Jesus Christ and His gospel, and as needed, to recenter your life on Him,” Elder Palmer said. “I promise that doing so will lead to true and lasting joy.”

Biology graduate Emilee Carr spoke about companionship, and asked graduates to check in on others as well as appreciate those who check in on them.

“We are never trudging the sidewalk alone. God will send angels,” Carr said. “We are not meandering to an unknown destination. We are on the same sidewalk, we are headed to the same place, and it is not a race.”

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