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Commencement Speaker

Ben Nemtin To Deliver The 2018 Commencement Address

The University of Utah today announced that Ben Nemtin, No. 1 The New York Times best-selling author and star of MTV’s “The Buried Life,” will deliver the 2018 commencement address on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Nemtin’s journey began 10 years ago when he and his friends set out on a two-week road trip with a camera and a borrowed RV to complete a list of “100 things to do before you die.” For each item accomplished on their list, they helped a stranger cross something off his or her list.

“Graduation is a gateway with paths leading in every direction,” Nemtin said. “Many struggle answering the question, ‘Where do I go from here?’ I am deeply honored to have this opportunity to speak at the University of Utah’s commencement ceremony and share how I answer that question.”

Nemtin and his friends have completed nearly all 100 items and have encouraged millions to believe that anyone can do anything.

”It’s extremely gratifying when I hear others say they have accomplished something outside their comfort zone because of ‘The Buried Life,’” Nemtin said. “While marking off something on the list is a huge accomplishment personally, helping others fulfill their dreams is equally fulfilling for us, sometimes even more so.”

Nemtin’s bucket list quest has taken him to the White House to play basketball with President Barack Obama to doing a sketch with Will Ferrell and even to Oprah Winfrey’s couch. Currently, he is crossing off “make a movie,” with “The Buried Life” feature documentary film set to release this year. From raising over $400,000 for charity to escaping a deserted island, Nemtin’s bucket list quest has inspired millions to chase their dreams.

As co-founder of “The Buried Life” movement, Nemtin’s message of radical possibility has been featured in major media, including NBC’s “Today” show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC News and more.

“Ben Nemtin boldly sets his fears aside to pursue his dreams and inspires others to do the same,” said Saeed Shihab, vice president of student relations for the Associated Students of the University of Utah. “His speech will empower the class of 2018 to use their education as a launching pad to achieve great things and become outstanding ambassadors of the University of Utah in their professional endeavors.”

General commencement exercises will be held Thursday, May 3, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the University of Utah campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Source: @theU article published January 29, 2018

Student Speaker

Hodan AbdiHodan Abdi is from Somalia but grew up in Ethiopia. She is studying chemistry and is planning to start medical school this August at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

“It has been a dream of mine to one day become a doctor so that I can help the poor and those who are caught in the cycle of poverty to overcome their very basic health issues. Since I’m the first person in my family to attend college, I want to make sure I reach my dream," Abdi said. "It is clearly a whole new world for me coming to the USA. I had to learn and become more efficient in a new language, but also I had to become familiar with different cultures from all around the world.”

Hodan would like to share her story of coming to the USA from a refugee camp and her transition to college. She hopes to use this opportunity as a way to inspire graduates and show that you can face challenges and still succeed.

“University of Utah gave me the opportunity to learn and achieve my academic goals. It gave me the chance to meet many wonderful people from all around the world. The professors that I met here go above and beyond their limit, they became my mentors and they supported me in many ways," Abdi said. "I’m so grateful for the great experience I had. In the last five years, I met so many great people in this country that after they met me, have gone out of their way to give me a helping hand so I can achieve my dream.”

Hodan also wants to dedicate her speech to them.

Last Updated: 4/10/18