SUU valedictorian represents school’s motto well
From Nikki Koontz
SUU Marketing Communications
CEDAR CITY–Future students would be wise to follow the advice of this year’s valedictorian, Maddie Topham.
“Find a degree you’re interested in and make it ‘live forever’,” said Topham. “Think about what your degree can do for someone else.”
The Southern Utah University motto ‘Learning Lives Forever’ resonated with Topham in a powerful way while she was in high school. From Parowan, Utah, Topham was already in love with southern Utah and SUU’s academic excellence made her choice for college an easy one.
As this year’s valedictorian, Topham represents the very best at SUU and exemplifies the ideal student every institution hopes to find. Topham earned an overall 4.0 GPA, consistently found herself on the Dean’s List, and is a finalist for this year’s “Scholar of the Year” award at SUU.
Topham started the communication program as a powerful force of curiosity and commitment. Sage Platt, director of the Speech and Presentation Center, was immediately drawn to Topham’s questioning mind and caring heart.
“Maddie possesses internal motivation to not only get the job done, but to do it to the best of her ability for each and every assignment or endeavor that she undertakes,” said Platt. “It isn’t about perfection with Maddie, but about striving to give her best effort.”
Topham’s faculty mentors are the driving force behind her. She credits her academic success to their passion and guidance.
“My professors challenged me academically, inspired me to explore new fields, and helped me build a strong foundation in communication,” said Topham. “Sage Platt, Matt Barton, and Jonathan Holiman were great instigators in helping me get the most out of my experience at SUU.”
While at SUU, Topham interned at the Speech and Presentation Center, worked in the SUU Lock Shop, and served as the LDS Institute Council President. Looking back on her college experience, she says balance was a major part of her academic success.
“I did everything I could to make sure that my life was in order,” said Topham. “Priorities were clear to me, and as I focused on the things that were the most important, everything else fell into place. This balance allowed me to get the very most out of my degree and create beautiful, lasting relationships with others.”
Topham’s goal is to become an LDS seminary teacher. After graduating in December with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, Topham is currently in her last semester of student teaching and will find out this summer what full-time options are available to her and her husband, who is also finishing his student teaching.
“Maddie is a wonderful representative of the history and foundation of Southern Utah University,” said Platt. “She will make the many founders of this University smile as they recognize in her the same qualities, commitment, motivation, and love that saw the need for, and the benefits of, a hallowed place of higher learning for all. We are witnessing her go forward from SUU to care for, and to change for the better, our world.”