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CEU Commencement Scheduled Saturday

Sun Advocate reporter

Raymond Joseph Smithson
Barbara Killion Strate

The College of Eastern Utah will celebrate student achievements on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. when the 69th commencement will take place.

Two students with 4.0 grade point averages have been selected as valedictorians for the graduating class, announced Brad King, provost and vice president of academics at CEU.

Barbara Killion Strate was born and raised in Southern California.

She came to Utah in 1970 where she met and later married her husband, Gene Strate of Price.

For 20 years, she taught piano and was active in the Utah Music Teachers Association, having served as president of the local chapter.

In 1998, she pursued a career in dental assisting and developed an interest in becoming a dental hygienist. The interest brought her back to college, where she maintains a perfect grade point average while continuing her employment.

Strate and her husband , Gene, a 1970 CEU graduate, are the parents of four daughters and one son. Three of the couple's daughters graduated from CEU and their son is currently enrolled at the college.

Raymond Joseph Smithson is the son of Joseph Smithson and Carol Woodburn of Orem.

A graduate of Timpview High School in 2001, he was named to the Utah All-State and the northern Utah 4-A All-Star baseball teams.

He also played on a baseball team representing New Mexico in the 2001 Connie Mack World Series.

While at CEU, Smithson served as the vice president of the college business club and was a national qualifier in the 2007 Utah DEX business competition.

He attended CEU on an academic scholarship. He plans to further his education at the University of Utah while maintaining an academic scholarship.

Troy Justesen, the assistant secretary for the office of vocational and adult education at the United States Department of Education, will serve as the colleges commencement speaker.

Justesedn serves as the principal adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings on departmental matters related to career, technical and adult education; high schools; lifelong learning; and community colleges as well as workforce and economic development.

Jensen also serves as the U.S. Department of Education's senior representative on matters related to new Americans with the Homeland Security and the Federal Interagency Aerospace Revitalization Task Force.

Justesen is the former associate director for domestic policy at the White House where he was responsible for disability policy and Native American and Pacific Islander policy on all matters except gaming policy.

Justesen is the former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

He is also the former director of special education programs and the former deputy commissioner of the U.S. Rehabilitation Services Administration within the department.

In the mid-1990s while working at the U.S. Department of Justice, Justesen was assigned lead oversight of the design and construction of sporting venue stadiums for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., which at that time, was the largest investigation of its kind.

Early in 2007, Justesen was appointed to lead two U.S. foreign delegations, one to France before the United Nations Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development and one to the Kingdom of Denmark.

He has published and lectured in the fields of education law and policy, health care policy and international human rights at several of the nation's leading universities.

Justesen was born in Price and raised in Orangeville. He is a 1986 graduate of Emery High and a 1987 CEU graduate. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1989 cum laude and master's degree from Utah State University. He received a doctorate degree from Vanderbilt University.

Justesen keeps a home in Emery County, where he maintains his residency.

Another speaker at the CEU commencement will be studentbody president Aaron Hales of Henderson, Nev.

In addition, F. Keith Stepan, director of Utah's Division of Facilities Construction and Management, will receive an honorary doctorate degree from CEU.

Stepan is a nationally licensed architect who earned a bachelor of arts and bachelor of fine arts degree in architectural design from the University of Utah.

Stephan's professional experience includes 23 years in private practice and 13 years with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as managing director of the corporation's temple construction department.

"Keith's impact on eastern Utah is easily visible. His work includes what is now the Holiday Inn in Price and the new LDS temple in Monticello," said Ryan Thomas, CEU president.

"More importantly, Keith has been a great supporter of CEU," continued Thomas. "As chairman of the state building board, he spearheaded funding for the new Reeves Building and in his current role has allocated more than a million dollars to take care of projects on both the Price and Blanding campuses."

Stephan was a member of the state building board four years and served as the panel's chair two years.

Stepan also served as member and president of the Salt Lake City School Board and Salt Lake City Airport Authority Board.

Utah's Division of Facilities and Management is located in Salt Lake City and provides professional services to assist the state entities in meeting their facility needs for the benefit of the public.

There will also be other awards presented at the CEU commencement.

The honors include one special faculty award, a distinguished teaching award, a 2007 distinguished award and the Val Halamandaris Caring Award.

The recipients of the awards will be announced at the ceremonies, according to the college.

Graduates will represent three foreign countries, seven states and 21 counties in the state of Utah.

The College of Eastern Utah will graduate 341 students at the Price campus.

The 2007 graduates include 273 students obtaining associate of science and 26 completing associate of arts degrees.

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