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USUE 80th graduation ceremony Saturday


Dr. Danielle Howa Pendergrass


    Mack Wilberg, music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will be Utah State University Eastern’s 80th graduation speaker on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in the Bunnell-Dmitrich Athletic Center.
    Wilberg was appointed music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in 2008, having served as associate music director of the choir since May 1999.  
    He is a former professor of music at Brigham Young University and is active as a composer, arranger, guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad.
    Meanwhile, non-traditional and traditional students alike will be  represented during commencement ceremonies.     
    The following students are USU Eastern’s top academic performers this graduaton season.
    Robert (Rob) Russell McKibben graduated from Emery High School in 1990 and began attending the College of Eastern Utah. He recognized he wasn’t ready for college life and stepped-out in pursuit of full-time work. Later McKibben realized he needed to complete his degree and returned to USU Eastern in 2015.
    McKibben, who graduates with an associate’s degree and as valedictorian of his class, will continue at USU Eastern and work towards a bachelor’s of science degree in technology systems.
    Serving as salutatorian is student-athlete, Harlee Sue Willoughby. She graduated from Delta High School in 2016 and accepted a scholarship to play on the women’s basketball team.
    While at USU Eastern, Willoughby served as a point guard and team captain. She was named the Female Athletic Scholar of the year and second team academic all-conference plus wrote sports for The Eagle student newspaper. She plans to attend UVU where she hopes to pursue a career in exercise science.
    Dr. Danielle Howa Pendergrass is a Carbon County native who returned home to fulfill a dream of caring for women in her community.             In 2012, she opened Eastern Utah Women’s Health and offers services to over 20,000 underserved women living in Carbon, Emery and Grand Counties.
    She wins this year’s Chancellor’s Medallion.
    She was instrumental in changing Utah’s Medicaid policy to allow nurse practitioners to directly bill and be reimbursed by Medicaid at 100 percent of the physician’s rate. By partnering with local, state and federal agencies, Pendergrass ensures that all women have access to affordable healthcare.  
    A nurse for more than 20 years, Pendergrass earned an associate degree in nursing at College of Eastern Utah, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Weber State University and a master’s and doctorate degree in nursing practice from the University of Utah.  She was the recipient of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Graduate Fellowship.
    The Val J. Halamandaris Award recipient is Nichole Bishop, a 2015 Westlake High School graduate in Eagle Mountain. While at WHS, she served as president of the school’s Community Service Group. At USU Eastern, Bishop served in the Serving Utah Network (SUN) Center where she participated in planning and promoting service on campus and the surrounding areas.
    Her service in the local community benefited programs at the Carbon County Food Bank, Carbon Kids for Caring, HOPE summit, Low Income Housing, and many others.
    She plans to continue her education at USU Eastern and earn a bachelor’s degree in biology to later pursue a career as an optometrist.

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