LDS President to Speak at Weber State Commencement

OGDEN, Utah – Weber State University will recognize Thomas S. Monson, Leola L. Davidson, Nancy L. Davidson and Carol Watkins Hurst with honorary degrees at its 135th commencement ceremonies on April 23 at 8 a.m. in the Dee Events Center.

Monson, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will offer the commencement address.

Thomas S. Monson
Monson, a native of Salt Lake City, has had a connection to education in Utah for more than 60 years.

After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he graduated cum laude from the University of Utah in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He later earned a master of business administration degree from Brigham Young University. From 1971 to 1977, Monson served as a member of Utah’s Board of Regents.

Monson had a distinguished career in publishing and printing. He joined the Deseret News in 1948 as an executive in the advertising division and later became the general manager of the Deseret News Press.

Monson served as president of the Canadian Mission of the LDS Church from 1959 to 1962 and was then called to be a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in October 1963. He has been a member of the LDS church’s First Presidency since 1985, serving as the faith’s president since February 2008.

Under his leadership, the LDS Church is now recognized as the fourth largest religious denomination in America, with more than 13 million members worldwide. For more information on Monson, visit

Leola L. Davidson
Davidson is an emeritus professor of nursing at Weber State, where she served as a distinguished faculty member for more than 30 years. She began her career in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps from 1943 to 1946, which took her to England, Japan, the Philippines, Korea and Guam.

Davidson joined the faculty of Weber State as a clinical instructor in 1955 and went on to serve as chair of the Department of Nursing for nearly two decades during a time of tremendous institutional growth.

In the 1980s she served as an associate dean for two years in the then School of Allied Health. Recognized for her expertise in developing nursing curricula and outreach programs,

Davidson has received numerous awards and honors including the Utah Nurse of the Year in 1976 and the Educational Administrative Award in 1980.

By the time she retired in 1988, Davidson had earned a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding mentor who positively influenced the lives of tens of thousands of students.

Nancy L. Davidson
Davidson is renowned for her devotion to public service and volunteer activism in support of worthy causes, especially those dealing with education and quality health care.

She first became committed to community welfare activities while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of North Carolina.

After moving to the Ogden area, Davidson began her tradition of volunteer service by supporting local charitable and nonprofit organizations through highly successful fundraising activities.

Davidson has provided leadership to numerous community organizations in Northern Utah such as the St. Benedict’s and McKay-Dee hospital foundations; the American Red Cross; and the United Way of Northern Utah.

Davidson has a strong commitment to higher education. She has generously supported WSU with significant contributions to the Teacher Assistant Pathway to Teaching program, the Traditional Family Values scholarship endowment and the Wildcat Club, as well as other performing arts, academic and athletic programs.

Carol Watkins Hurst
Hurst has dedicated much of her life to public service and artistic achievement, particularly in the areas of music education and the performing arts.

A native of Ogden, Hurst was a child prodigy who began studying music under the tutelage of her concert pianist mother at age 4. She won a national piano contest at age 5.

After performing extensively at local and regional venues during her teenage years, Hurst joined the performing arts faculty at Weber State as an adjunct instructor and served as accompanist for countless university productions. She also played a key role in obtaining private grants that funded musical instruments for the department.

As a renowned piano teacher for more than six decades, Hurst has positively influenced hundreds of local students by instilling in them a love for classical music.

With her husband Dean, she established the Dean W. and Carol W. Hurst Artist-in-Residence Endowment at WSU, which to date has funded 10 residencies by world famous artists.

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Marsha Richter, assistant to the president
801-626-6573 •
John Kowalewski, director of Media Relations
801-626-7212 •