Headshot of Deon Price speaking at Commencement

Deon Price, C'14, Alumni Commencement Speaker

May 10, 2023

SPCS Commencement

Deon Price, C’14, a 2014 graduate of the University of Richmond School of Professional & Continuing Studies, was nominated by members of the SPCS Alumni Association board of directors to receive the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award at SPCS 2023 Commencement Exercises on May 6, 2023. 

As award winner, Price addressed graduating students during the ceremony. In his speech, reproduced below, Price encouraged graduating students to enjoy every minute of the day because they had  “set a goal and believed in it, were motivated to work for it, and achieved it.”

Video Address

Starts with Annette Ardler’s introduction of Price as Gibb Family award recipient.

Commencement Address

To President Hallock, Dean Wilson, Provost Legro, faculty, alumni, graduates, family and friends… good morning!

I am honored to receive the Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni award this year. When I received the call from Dean Wilson to inform me about the award, I was a bit surprised, honored, and excited. Dean Wilson later informed me in the call that I had to prepare a speech and instantly that excitement turned into nervousness — it felt like I was back here on campus and tasked with an assignment and due date. But my spider instincts kicked in, and I realized that as a spider, there is no challenge too great. So here I am.

The University of Richmond has opened a lot of doors for me. With every job role I landed in the Richmond area to-date, there was always a Spider behind the scenes that rooted for and vouched for me — what an awesome web we weave. I felt it was my obligation to give back my time and energy to a university that changed my livelihood for the better.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to engage with current students while serving on SPCS Student Government Association while in pursuit of my undergraduate degree here and later after graduation serve on the SPCS Alumni Board with the previous six Gibb Family Distinguished Alumni Award winners, Duan Hobbs, Margaret Dalton, Eric Beatty, Greg Mays, Robert Reed, and Catherine Eagles. Spiders with whom I still keep in close contact, and they continue to motivate me to this day.

We define motivation as “having an incentive or a strong desire to do well or succeed in some pursuit.” As I reflect over my life and my educational pursuits, I ask myself what motivated me to get where I am, before you today?

Was it my grandpa telling my father and uncles to pursue their education at his expense — teaching them that obtaining an education was their meal ticket? Or was it my grandma who told me after long summer “stay-cays” that no matter what, I needed an education to have a meaningful life? Or was it my mother, who I watched working off and on over 17 years to complete her degree to advance her career or was it watching my dad who transformed his life from a carpenter to executive by attending night school while on crutches to pursue and obtain his degree? (Both of which later obtained master’s degrees, one of which was from SPCS.) Maybe it was my beautiful wife who I met while in pursuit of my degree at UR who l watched graduate a year earlier than me, and was the first in her generation to do so.

Better yet, maybe it was the SPCS professors, Dean Narduzzi and Dean Wilson who went above and beyond to push me to new heights academically and professionally. Or maybe it was my SPCS cohorts like you in the crowd who met with me late nights and weekends in the Boatwright Memorial Library to collaborate on assignments and exams?

I definitely see some motivated spiders in this crowd, with a strong desire and in pursuit of a better life for you and your family. If you look beside you, you can see them, too. I have realized that motivation is infectious and being in a Spider web of motivation — motivates us, inspires us, and connects us. As they say, We are UR!!

If I could wish the class of 2023 anything, it would be to enjoy every minute of today and tomorrow because you set a goal and believed in it, you were motivated to work for it, and achieved it. No one could ever take away your education or knowledge gained here, it is permanently yours and it’s priceless. I would strongly encourage you to join or volunteer for the SPCS Alumni Board upon graduation and participate in alumni events and continue to expand your web of connections.

I think it’s fair to say, I wouldn’t be up here if it wasn’t for the SPCS Alumni Board. That organization has allowed me to meet incredible people, hone leadership skills, and have a ton of fun while doing it. Each of you can now leave your unique fingerprint on the University or the board with your time, energy, and effort. I encourage you take advantage of the opportunity to give back to the next generation of spiders.

Thank you to everyone that helped me along the way. Dean Wilson, James Campbell and his team are the superstars behind the scenes. Thank you to all the board members over the past six years. A special thank you to my wife, Keosha, my children, Princeton and Langston, and my parents and grandparents and other friends and family.

May each of you remain motivated and stay connected to your spider web years after graduation. Thank you.

I have realized that motivation is infectious and being in a Spider web of motivation — motives us, inspires us, and connects us. As they say, We are UR!! 

Deon Price, C'14
Gibb Family Alumni Award Recipient

Biographical Sketch

Deon Price, C’14, began his undergraduate studies in Information Technology Management at the School of Professional & Continuing Studies by following his mother’s footsteps, Deborah A. Jones, GC’10, who graduated from the SPCS with a master's degree in Human Resource Management.

Price is currently an IT Asset Manager for the Virginia State Corporation Commission, a regulatory agency that oversees businesses across the state in several industries. During his undergraduate career at UR, Price also started his own business, iLikeTech, providing IT consulting, sales, repair, and training. He credits his professional career growth to his UR Spider web of alumni connections and continues to promote Spider talent when given the opportunity.