The College of Fine Arts and Communications Honors and Celebrates the Graduating Class of 2022 with Student Speakers and Performers
Following the University Commencement on April 21, the College of Fine Arts and Communications (CFAC) held convocation ceremonies on April 22. The College held separate ceremonies for the School of Communications; the Art Department and Department of Design; and the Department of Dance, School of Music, and Department of Theatre and Media Arts. The six combined departments have over 900 graduates for the 2021–2022 academic year.
Each college convocation ceremony opened with the hymn “Because I Have Been Given Much” as the graduates and their families recognized the support they have received to date. Dean Ed Adams then congratulated the graduates for their academic achievements and their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Here in the College of Fine Arts and Communications we have been especially humbled by your efforts to press ahead toward your educational goals despite unprecedented disruptions and daunting challenges,” Adams said. “Many of you have faced illness, difficulties and even tragedy. You’ve had to adapt to unfamiliar learning platforms and technologies. And yet you have adapted, rolled with the punches and pushed through. It is a testament not just to your talent and hard work, but to your integrity of spirit.”
Following Adams’ remarks, each ceremony featured work or presentations from students who had been selected and mentored to represent their academic units.
School of Communications
In the first student speech of the School of Communications’ convocation ceremony, communications graduate Daniel Andersen spoke on “The Power of Unreasonable.”
Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at two years old, Andersen has spent most of his life in a wheelchair. Throughout his life, Andersen and his parents were consistently told to “be reasonable” when it came to what goals Andersen could set for himself.
But Andersen did not let that discourage him. “It’s unreasonable for a person like me who depends on others to support him living an independent life. … It’s unreasonable to think that I’m speaking at crowds as large as this one, advocating for issues I’m passionate about, and yet here I am. It’s unreasonable for an undergraduate student to make a film that changes hearts and minds just because he heard a song, and yet, here it is.”
Andersen finished with a call to “Dare to stand up. Dare to be heard,” and urged, “in a world that tells you to be reasonable, don’t be afraid to be unreasonable.”
Following Andersen’s remarks, commercial music graduate Kristen Johnson Lloyd performed her original song “My Brave.” She introduced the piece, saying, “I had a lot of anxiety growing up. I came from a broken family. There were… moments when I wondered whether I would have a future. I’m pleased to report that I did.”
After Lloyd’s performance, advertising graduate Madison Hill Rasmussen encouraged her fellow students to “Make Work That Matters.”
“There’s a reason we are graduating from the School of Communications. We’ve been taught to communicate, to teach and to love,” Hill concluded. “We have a responsibility to create messages that connect people with one another, but most importantly, with God… We can use our perspectives to make messages that matter.”
Department of Art and Department of Design
During the art and design departments’ convocation ceremony, art graduate Janessa Lewis spoke on “The Power of Art and Artists.”
Lewis’ address focused on four lessons she learned about art’s power: the power of community and connection, the power of imperfection, the power of authenticity and the power of observation.
“Art has the power to connect individuals in all backgrounds,” she said. “Artists have an irreplaceable and desperately needed ability to forge new ways of thinking and creative solutions to complex questions.”
Following Lewis’ speech, music graduate Madi Wilde performed the first movement of “Sonata for Violin and Piano in D Major, op. 94,” by Sergei Prokofiev.
Animation graduate Kenna Camire then spoke on “The Story That Made Us.”
Camire recounted her experience of creating a short film, “Cenote,” with her classmates and the three main lessons she learned from that experience.
“Number one: everything always breaks. … And yet, while everything always breaks, it doesn’t stay broken. We can always pick up the pieces and start again.”
Camire continued, “Number two: it’s all about people. … Films like this aren’t made alone and lives like this aren’t lived separately.”
She concluded, “Number three: our personal stories—our lives—are not separate. ... Yes, we are individuals, but the greatest moments are made of each of us working together.”
Following Camire, art education graduate Tauna Tenney spoke on how “Weak Things Can Become Strong.”
Tenney reflected on her experience as an art education major struggling to learn ceramics who slowly transformed into a confident artist with time and patience. She urged her fellow graduates to make their artistic voices known, “whether they are extremely successful artists or not.”
She acknowledged the role that God had in this process, saying, “Through patience, working hard, dedication, relying on Christ — he is the most important of all — the places where we need to improve can not only be improved but truly become strengths.”
Following Tenney’s speech, photography graduate Kiana Bates spoke on “Developing Relationships.”
Bates told the audience the story of her grandparents immigrating to the US from Japan and how her relationships and art influenced each other.
She described how involving her grandmother in her photography projects both furthered her knowledge of photography and deepened her relationship with her grandmother and her Japanese heritage. “To me, that’s what photography is all about: building and documenting relationships,” Bates said.
When they immigrated, Bates’ grandparents brought with them a traditional Japanese daruma doll, an item used to mark making and completing a goal by filling in one eye when the goal is set and the other eye when the goal is achieved. Bates’ grandfather put the first eye on his daruma doll with the plan of filling in the other eye after graduating from BYU. Although her grandfather never graduated, Bates concluded by saying, “While it may not be my grandfather finishing his education at BYU, I’m proud to say that I’ve completed his dream and I’m able to fill in the other eye on this daruma.”
Department of Dance, School of Music and Department of Theatre and Media Arts
Music performance major Hyrum Kohler began the student presentations for the final convocation ceremony with a performance of his original piece, “A Tribute to 1924: From the music of Noel Coward, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin,” on the viola.
Students from the acting and music dance theatre programs then performed “For Forever” from the musical “Dear Evan Hansen,” with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, arranged by Jacob Narverud and accompanied by music performance major Sadie Michelle Holdaway.
After these performances, dance graduate Ana Brooks spoke on “Wholehearted Creation.”
“Art is what connects human beings and shared experience and allows us to empathize with one another and feel less alone,” said Brooks. “Your art is completely necessary and must be made. Your talents are absolutely essential, even if you’re not sure how they’ll be used.”
Brooks then gave the final presentation, a performance of “Illaudatus,” with music by Jeff Buckley and choreography by Ana Brooks and fellow dancers, ballet dance minors Sabrina Cannon and Alexandra Clark.
After the speeches, performances and the presentation of diplomas, Dean Ed Adams addressed the audience at each ceremony. Adams asked the students to recognize the “support and love” they received from friends, family members and loved ones as they worked to complete their degrees. He also recognized the “instructing, guiding and mentoring” by faculty and staff.
Adams concluded by asking graduates to “Take a few moments today to commit to giving back and staying connected. It could make all the difference, not just to you, but to all of those within your sphere of influence.”
Congratulations to the class of 2022!
For the 2022 digital convocation program, FAQs, a message from the deanery, and more, check out the CFAC convocation website.
To see more photos of graduates and the ceremonies, visit our full Facebook album here.