Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

In the past month, graduates from Utah and LDS colleges and universities have listened to commencement speakers ranging from leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the first Iranian in space, from a two-time presidential candidate to a president of a sports apparel brand.

Their counsel to graduates varied, though they usually led to the same point: preparation and proper choices are key to finding success in the future.

The statewide commencement ceremonies will wrap up when Westminster welcomes Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford to its ceremony June 1.

BYU, Elder L. Tom Perry
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: L. Tom Perry, member of the Quorum of the Twelve, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Commencement date: April 26

Perry said: “The choices you make will make all of the difference in what you want to achieve. With all of these new decisions and challenges before you, could I encourage you to seek and find a balance in your future life?”

University of Utah, Elizabeth Murray
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: Elizabeth Murray, New York Times best-selling author for her book, "Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard"

Commencement date: May 2

Murray said: "It seemed that no matter who I heard from, no matter what kind of paths they had walked in their lives, everyone had experienced adversity." Murray encouraged graduates to ask themselves, with every challenge they face, "How can I grow from this?"

Weber State University, Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: Jon M. Huntsman Jr., former Utah governor

Commencement date: April 26

Huntsman said: "Your life will never be complete until you find your most deep-rooted passion, and you'll never find your passion until you learn to follow your heart. Be you, find a cause, embrace failure, find someone to love, give back and never forget to rock and roll."

Utah State University, Charlie Denson
USU Public Relations and Marketing

Commencement speaker: Charlie Denson, Nike president

Commencement date: May 4

Denson said: “You’re smart, smarter than any generation before you. But you’re not wise. Wisdom comes with time. Respect it.”

Southern Utah University, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
Shmuley for Congress campaign

Commencement speaker: Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author, speaker and reality TV host

Commencement date: May 3

Boteach said (according to the St. George Spectrum): "There’s room for competition in life, my friends, but only in what you do and never in who and what you are. You must never allow that competitiveness to breach your soul.”

Utah Valley University, Anousheh Ansari
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: Anousheh Ansari, who self-funded a trip to the International Space Station, becoming the first Iranian in space; she is also the chairwoman and CEO for Telecom Technologies, Inc. and chairwoman for Prodea Systems.

Commencement date: April 25

Ansari said: "Imagination is the greatest gift we have as humans. We can imagine things that are not, we can imagine places we’ve never been to, or perhaps don’t exist. We can design things that never existed before."

Dixie State University, F. Ann Millner
Mike Terry, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: F. Ann Millner, Weber State University President from 2002-12

Commencement date: May 3

Millner said: "My father once said to me, 'the greatest gift I can give you is a college education — it is something that no one can ever take away from you and it will equip you for life and work.' I believe higher education is priceless — it is an incredible gift that enables you to fulfill your dreams."

LDS Business College, Elder L. Whitney Clayton
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: L. Whitney Clayton of the Presidency of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Commencement date: April 12

Clayton said: "Success in life is a matter of degrees. You will need to be wise as you go forward. Life will throw choices at you. Some will be obviously good and others equally obviously poor. However, often the choices you will confront will be harder to discern.”

Salt Lake Community College, Derreck Kayongo

Commencement speaker: Derreck Kayongo, founder of the Global Soap Project

Commencement date: May 9

Kayongo said: "Don't lose your spirit to fight for success!"

Snow College, Dr. Robert W. Prince

Commencement speaker: Robert W. Prince, D.D.S., board member on the Utah System of Higher Education Board of Regents

Commencement date: May 3

Westminster College, Robert Redford
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Commencement speaker: Robert Redford, actor and director, founder of the Sundance Institute

Commencement date: June 1, 1:45 p.m., The Maverick Center in West Valley City

Southern Virginia University, Mitt Romney
Lindsey Morgan, Southern Virginia University

Commencement speaker: Mitt Romney, two-time presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor

Commencement date: April 27

Romney said: "Our worldly success can’t be guaranteed, but our ability to achieve spiritual success is entirely up to us, thanks to the grace of God. The best advice I know is to give those worldly things your best but never your all, reserving your ultimate hope for the only one who can grant it.”

BYU-Idaho, Elder Gary E. Stevenson
Steven Eaton

Commencement speaker: Gary E. Stevenson, presiding bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Commencement date: April 12

Stevenson said: “Understanding … follows intelligence, knowledge, experience, wisdom, and promptings from the Holy Ghost, all of which lead us to understanding to know and do what is right.”

BYU-Hawaii, Elder Richard J. Maynes
Courtesy Monique Saenz

Commencement speaker: Richard J. Maynes of the Presidency of the Seventy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Commencement date: April 13

Maynes said: “What we believe and what we say and what we do should all be the same.”