U of U commencement speaker: Take a chance on yourself

May 4, 2023, 8:00 PM | Updated: 8:27 pm

University of Utah impact scholar Tim Shriver, right, meets with members of Students for Dignity, i...

University of Utah impact scholar Tim Shriver, right, meets with members of Students for Dignity, including Preston Brightwell, left, and Maddie Hair at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Shriver gave the keynote address at the University of Utah commencement ceremony Thursday night. He joined Inside Sources on Thursday to discuss the speech, plus his work with Special Olympics. Photo credit: Kristin Murphy/Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — During Thursday evening’s commencement ceremony at the University of Utah, keynote speaker Tim Shriver told the graduating class of 2023 to take a chance on themselves. 

Before his speech at the Huntsman Center, Shriver joined Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson to preview his speech. He is also an impact scholar for the University of Utah.

Shriver has been the chairman of the Special Olympics since 1996 and is the founder of UNITE. Shriver and Matheson also discuss his work with Special Olympics. 

“I’m gonna try to just tell the stories on campus and off of the people who have changed my life with big ideas,” Shriver said. “And hopefully, connect big ideas to big change.”

Shriver goes on to say the one thing that brings individuals the most happiness is the kind of relationships that they have.

“We’ve known for years that the thing that brings us the most happiness is the power and quality of our relationships,” he said. “But we don’t always translate that into strategies in schools for how to build and strengthen relationships.”

The healing of Special Olympics

Matheson asks, “Just describe for us how you’ve been able to make that applicable lesson from Special Olympics that applies on campus, in a business, in a community?”

Shriver says there is a huge gap between what traditional culture views as valuable and individuals with intellectual disabilities who are seen as not valuable.

“The reason I cry when I got to Special Olympics events is because I can feel that gap healed,” Shriver said. “That there are no people who are not valuable.”

He says it’s a lesson he tries to share with other people when they think that way of people from other political parties, different religions or ethnic groups.

“We spend so much time labeling and stereotyping,” Shriver said. “And then using labels and stereotypes to exclude those people. That’s exactly a language that Special Olympics is designed to heal.”

Take a chance on yourself

Matheson asked, “What is it that these young people who are graduating? What is that you hope they walk away with?”

Shriver says the theme of his speech will be to take a chance.

“I fear that many of these graduates are entering their adult lives with a lot of people telling them don’t take a chance,” he said.

He says 57% of Americans believe the country can’t find a solution to its own problems.

“I want to remind them that’s not them,” he said. “That’s not you. That’s not us here. (And) that’s not who we are at our best.”

He advises graduates to ignore the noise and tune in to the best of themselves. 

Listen to the entire two segments.


Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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