Mercedes Dreyer is thrilled to receive the honor of representing the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as their 2019 Valedictorian. Dreyer is graduating from Southern Utah University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy, a language emphasis in Greek and a minor in Psychology.

Growing up, Dreyer immensely enjoyed reading books. Reading and rereading her favorite book, The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, sparked her interest and desire for studying languages, ancient civilizations, and meta-aspects of life. She attributes her love for reading to her dedication to philosophy.

“Mercedes was a diligent student, even when taking on an upper-division course outside of her major,” said Associate Professor of English Nozomi Irei, “I admire the way she related her training in philosophy to the Literature and the Absurd class. I wish her all the best in the future.” 

In conjunction with taking several philosophy courses toward her major, Dreyer also participated in the SUU Philosophy Club. She admires the non-competitive atmosphere of the club, and the tight-knit community formed by intellectual discussions. 

“Philosophy has granted me both the ability to dissect and discuss complex works; that is, to contemplate the greater underlying themes and then organize my own thoughts in a manner that can be easily accessed by anyone,” Dreyer said. 

She also planned, organized, and executed a two-week study abroad program to Greece and Italy with her colleagues Veronica McMullen, Matthew Smith and SUU Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Kirk Fitzpatrick. The project was based around classical literature from the Periclean era and designed to be modified to suit the interests of all students. 

“This project has not only enriched my education far beyond what in-class study could do alone, but it has also helped me to mature as an individual,” Dreyer explained. “I feel that in planning and executing this study abroad, I have gained a further understanding and appreciation of my education regarding Ancient Greek literature received from SUU.” 

“Mercedes didn’t limit her experience at SUU to the campus. She traveled to Greece and showed initiative and ambition in her education by co-initiating the trip,” Dr. Fitzpatrick said. 

Dreyer has known for quite some time that she’d like to pursue a career in publishing. Her career goals focus on making academic literature more broadly accessible to the public. 

“I am passionate about making academia more accessible to everyone,” Dreyer said, “Whether it be through tutoring, sharing, and discussing major works of literature, or compiling resources of academic works for an individual to easily access.” 

“Mercedes made a lasting influence on the university. I have taught university for 28 years. She is among the top five percent of the students with whom I have worked.” Dr. Fitzpatrick furthered, “I wish Mercedes the best in her future. She will be a success no matter what she studies.”