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Distinguished alumna will address grads at USU commencement

Nicole Young

The commencement speaker for USU Eastern on Saturday is Nicole Young, who started her college career here when it was the College of Eastern Utah.

Today she is the vice president of Business Development with the Mandalay Entertainment Group and sought after for her expertise in product development and creating and implementing branding and marketing strategies. She will address the graduates at 10 a.m. in the Bunnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center.

Commencement proceedings will include Chancellor Joe Peterson awarding the Chancellor's Medallion to Major General (Retired) Lynn Stevens, former vice president of the Northrop Grumman Corporation. He is a former San Juan County commissioner, former director of Public Land Policy under Gov. Jon Huntsman, former trustee for the College of Eastern Utah and current member the USU Eastern Regional Advisory Board.

Student speakers include Valedictorian Jordan Sanders, of Castle Dale, majoring in business; Salutatorian Sung Jae Park, of Daegu, South Korea, a nursing major; and Student Body President Matt Gochis, of Stansbury Park, majoring in recreation.

Sanders graduated from high school in 2008 as an honor student and then served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in San Fernando, Calif. While a USU Eastern student, he said being involved in the SUN Center was a large part of his experience. Service has always been a part of his life, whether scholastically, ecclesiastically or civically.

Park is the first international student to represent the class as salutatorian. At 19, he served an LDS mission in Sacramento, Calif. While on his mission, Park witnessed a terrible accident. He saved a person's life by performing CPR that he learned in high school. He said he came to know the joy of saving lives of others and losing himself in the service of others. He said that is what motivated his decision to become a nurse.

In addition, Emma Rowley, from Duchesne County, will be awarded the Val J. Halamandaris Caring Award. As a student at USU Eastern, her service reads like an encyclopedia of inspiration to serve others, including service to special needs children and tutoring for struggling readers.

The Price and Blanding campuses together are graduating 312 students - 192 female, 120 male - ranging in ages 17-57. The majority of the graduates, 274, are from Utah with a few dozen more spread across eight states and seven countries.

The top 10 most popular majors among the graduates are: associate of science, associate of arts, RN nursing, LPN nursing, criminal justice, medical assisting, welding, business, cosmetology and accounting.

Young was responsible for the strategy, development, launch and monetization of "Tell to Win," which became a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Mandalay Entertainment Group is a leader in providing high quality motion pictures, cutting edge television, professional sports events and location-based entertainment worldwide.

Prior to her work at Mandalay, Young worked at Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman, a pre-eminent entertainment law firm. As an executive with the firm, she explored and evaluated opportunities for organization growth developed and implemented marketing and communications strategies and analyzed business and market trends.

After receiving her associate of science degree from CEU where she was active in student government and the dance department, Young received a bachelor's degree, cum laude, in English from Utah State University culminating with a law degree from Brigham Young University.

She recently served as vice chair of the Los Angeles chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society. She is a member of the Utah Bar Association and the State Bar of Utah.

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