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Elder L. Whitney Clayton to speak at BYU's April Commencement Exercises

Elder L. Whitney Clayton, senior president of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is scheduled to be the presiding authority and speaker during Brigham Young University's Commencement Exercises on Thursday, April 21, at 4 p.m., in the Marriott Center. BYU President Kevin J Worthen will conduct the exercises. 

Scholar, diplomat and expert on Chinese-American relations Ambassador Su Ge will receive an honorary Doctor of International Leadership. (See below for his bio.) 

The student speaker for the commencement will be Alicia Stanton, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology and a minor in editing. Stanton grew up in Spring, Texas, and will continue employment with the LDS Church History Department after graduation.

A total of 5929 students from 10 colleges will be receiving degrees at the ceremonies, with 5038 students receiving bachelor's degrees, 688 students receiving master's degrees and 203 receiving doctoral degrees. (Numbers as of March 29, 2016.)

Tickets are not required for commencement or for college convocations. 

Commencement exercises will be broadcast live on BYU TV, BYU Radio, Classical 89 KBYU-FM and  byutv.org

Thursday, April 21 Commencement Schedule

  • 2 p.m.: Marriott Center doors open
  • 2:30 p.m.: Closing time for most campus offices
  • 3 p.m.: Graduates meet in the parking lot on the north side of the Smoot Administration Building (ASB)
  • 3:15 p.m.: Family, friends and guests of the graduates should be seated in the Marriott Center. Faculty members are invited to march in the processional; meet on the east or west side of the ASB (in the event of inclement weather, faculty should go directly to the Marriott Center by 3:45 p.m.). 
  • 3:20 p.m. Processional of the graduates begins
  • 4-5:30 p.m.: Commencement in the Marriott Center 

Friday, April 22 College Convocation Schedule

8 a.m.

  • Humanities (Marriott Center)
  • School of Education (Smith Fieldhouse)
  • Kennedy Center for International Studies (JSB Auditorium)
  • Fine Arts and Communications (Communications) (de Jong Concert Hall, HFAC)
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences (Ballroom, Wilkinson Student Center)
  • Religious Education (W-111 Benson Building)

11 a.m.

  • Family, Home, and Social Sciences (Marriott Center) 
  • Engineering and Technology (Engineering) (Smith Fieldhouse)
  • Nursing (Auditorium, Joseph Smith Building)
  • Fine Arts and Communications (Art, Design) (de Jong Concert Hall, HFAC)

2 p.m.

  • Life Sciences (Marriott Center)
  • Engineering and Technology (Technology) (Ballroom, Wilkinson Student Center)
  • Fine Arts and Communications (Dance, Music, MDT, TMA) (de Jong Concert Hall, HFAC)

5 p.m.

  • Marriott School of Management (Marriott Center)
  • Law School (de Jong Concert Hall, HFAC)

 
The Army ROTC will be commissioning four cadets on Thursday at 11 a.m., in room 251 of the Tanner Building. Lieutenant General Kevin W. Mangum will speak at the ceremony.

The Air Force ROTC will hold its commissioning ceremony for nine cadets on Thursday at 10 a.m., in the Wilkinson Student Center Varsity Theatre. Colonel John Czelusta will speak.  

For additional information about graduation at BYU:  graduation.byu.edu

 

About the Speaker

Elder L. Whitney Clayton was sustained as a General Authority Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on March 31, 2001. He has served as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy since 2008 and was named Senior President of the Quorums of the Seventy on October 6, 2015. He assists Elder Dallin H. Oaks in supervising the Mexico Area and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in supervising the Middle East/Africa North Area. 

Elder Clayton served as a counselor in the South America South Area Presidency in 2002 to 2003 and as President from 2003 to 2006 while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Previously he served as an Area Seventy for the North America West Area for six years.

He has served in a number of Church callings, including full-time missionary in Peru, regional representative, counselor in a mission presidency, stake high councilor, bishop, stake mission president, and Gospel Doctrine teacher.

Elder Clayton earned a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Utah and a law degree at the University of the Pacific. He was an attorney in California, USA, from 1978 to 2001.

Elder Clayton was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 24, 1950. He married Kathy Ann Kipp in August 1973. They are parents of seven children.

 

About the Honorary Degree Recipient

Su Ge has had a distinguished career as a scholar, diplomat, and expert on Chinese–American relations. After a prominent academic career, he served as a diplomat for a decade and he has since returned to an academic post as president of the China Institute of International Studies, one of China’s premier foreign policy think tanks that is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. 

Ambassador Su Ge’s diplomatic career started in 2003 when he was appointed as Minister Counselor at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., where he served until 2006. He was then appointed as China’s ambassador to two countries: the Republic of Suriname (2006–2009) and the Republic of Iceland (2009–2013). He continued as an advisor to China’s foreign ministry and in 2015 was appointed president of the China Institute of International Studies. 

Following a postdoctoral appointment at Harvard University, Su Ge returned to China in 1988. He eventually took a position as a professor of international studies at the Foreign Affairs College, China’s top school of international relations. He was subsequently awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship for study at Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, and George Washington Universities. In recognition of his academic accomplishments, he became a senior research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies and thereafter the vice president in charge of research and foreign affairs. 

Su Ge received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Xi’an Foreign Language Institute and was a professor of English there when he came to BYU in 1982 as a visiting scholar. He was also the first student from the People’s Republic of China following the 1979 normalization of U.S.–China diplomatic relations to receive a BYU scholarship. While at BYU he completed an Master of Arts in American studies and a PhD in American history.

Elder L. Whitney Clayton

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