Main Navigation

University Resources

SBS Student Commencement Speaker

For the 2024 University of Utah student commencement speaker Eron Powell, a love of learning is one of the most important things he is taking away from his time at the U.

“Outside of college and into the future, I hope to always be able to educate myself,” Powell said. “We are never complete people. We have to keep working on ourselves. That is the fun of living— learning to be a better person who is more kind, more compassionate and more caring.”

Twenty-six-year-old Powell grew up in Emmett, Idaho with his seven siblings. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, he was drawn to the U because of the school’s research opportunities and the prestige of the U’s College of Science.

Though Powell faced many challenges during his first year of college, from health issues to adapting to rigorous course work to finding his place among strangers, there is a lot he will miss about being a U student.

“As we approach commencement, I’m sadder than I thought I would be,” Powell said. “I thought I’d be so excited, but I really loved my experience at the U. So it’s hard that it’s ending.”

While at the U, Powell worked as a teaching assistant for organic chemistry and cell biology and participated in multiple undergraduate research opportunities. He spent three years in leadership for the U’s Vegan Club as the service coordinator. Most recently, Powell’s non-profit, Bloom Collective, received approval to put a monarch waystation on campus.

After graduation, Powell plans on going to medical school. His desire to be a physician grew from the time he spent around healthcare professionals due to his own medical needs.

“One thing that has become really important to me is realizing that I love to do things I find meaningful,” Powell said. “I want to make an impact on the world in whatever way I can.”

When it comes to the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, Powell believes this is about more than being educated, but about what that education does to a person.

The true purpose of college was not merely to become educated but rather to be made excellent,” Powell says. “The University is not interested in supplying a multitude of facts to be forgotten when we enter the workforce. Nor, is it simply interested in creating dedicated workers. Rather the mission of the University of Utah is to welcome new freshmen and shape them into people of excellence who will make exceptional contributions to society.”

The General Commencement ceremony where Powell will speak will be held on Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Read more about the 2024 commencement here.