Scott quoted in the Desert News

scottdeseretnews.jpgDeseret Morning News, Saturday, May 27, 2006

Neumont honors first graduates

By Erin Stewart
Deseret Morning News

Neumont University sent its first graduating class into the workforce Friday, marking the third anniversary of the school’s founding.

The university tweaked the traditional four-year degree into a more hands-on 30 -month curriculum just for students earning bachelor’s of science degrees in computer science.

That new approach earned the accolades of both Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. and Nicholas Donofrio, IBM executive vice president of innovation and technology, at Friday’s ceremony.

“It’s not just IBM that’s interested in what’s going on at Neumont University. The whole country needs to pay attention to what’s happening in Salt Lake,” Donofrio told the 28 graduates at the Rose Wagner Theater.

Donofrio also told graduates they will have to adapt to a changing market to keep pace with the computer science industry and become lifelong learners.

“This is the end of nothing for you. This is the beginning,” he said. “You leave with a sense of your ability to learn and a need to continue to learn.”

All 28 of the graduates from the South Jordan university have accepted jobs or are mulling over several offers, valedictorian Scott Baldwin noted. That rate is a testament to the success of the school, which focuses on one-on-one instruction and real-world practice, he said.

Like many of his fellow graduates, Baldwin left a career in computer science to get the additional training offered by Neumont. Now, Baldwin has a job with IBM as a WebSphere consultant.

“What we have risked is real and it’s paying off,” he said.

Huntsman noted this year’s graduates are pioneers in alternative methods of higher education and will likely become a model for schools to provide a better-trained crop of entry-level professionals.

“This is a first. You are beginning to blaze a trail that many will follow. The nation is taking note,” he said.

Huntsman also noted all but one of the graduates plan to work in Utah, providing a boost to the information technology workforce in the state.


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