University Conference

What Makes Brigham Young University Special?

President of Brigham Young University

August 25, 2009

Speech link copied
As a university dedicated to education for eternity, we do believe in intensive learning, in stimulating inquiry, in commitment to excellence, and in pursuing the full realization of human potential.

Brothers, sisters, and friends, welcome to this year’s Annual University Conference. I trust you have enjoyed the summer—as they say, both days of it! Or, as many asked in the very rainy month of June, “What summer?” We hope all of you, including those who are here for the first time, are refreshed and full of anticipation for a wonderful and busy academic year.

At the outset, let me tell all of you how grateful I am for you and for the way this community of scholars and saints has responded to our difficult economic season. My already high level of regard and appreciation has been significantly enhanced. Almost without exception, colleges, departments, and other organizations have responded to the hiring freeze with good humor, solid support of our board of trustees, and remarkably good and creative responses to the attendant difficulties all have encountered. Likewise, the attitudes and adjustments required in the delays of some projects, the targeted decreases in some support budgets, and especially the uncertainties of the duration of our current challenges have been exemplary. For all of this, I express the sincere thanks of our board of trustees, our BYU administration, and especially our students and friends.

Almost daily, because of the factors with which we are all aware, I am asked when we think this recessionary economic period will come to a close. My answer is that we do not know, and you can quote me on it. It will conclude sometime, and BYU will be well positioned to continue in its progress and advancement. I predict that in some future time all of us will be expressing gratitude for the lessons this season has taught us and for the adjustments that have been made. Again, I express my profound thanks to all of you.

Let me also assure you that I am in almost constant contact with the commissioner and our board of trustees to address our most critical and pressing needs effectively during this unsettled period. They are most supportive and give me—and I hope you—reason for great optimism for our future.

Our theme this year comes from the familiar verse found in Doctrine and Covenants 88:118: “Teach one another words of wisdom.” Sharon and I consider it a great privilege to be part of this very special community known as Brigham Young University. Thank you for your faith, diligence, humility, and excellence in behalf of our students and university community. This includes both the words of wisdom you utter and also the examples of dedicated service you share with me, our students, colleagues, and the many each year who visit our beautiful and inspiring campus.

Some visitors arrive for the first time with little or no background regarding BYU. Others come with some understanding of at least a few aspects of Brigham Young University, and some come with considerable trepidation because of ignorance or misconceptions about this remarkable institution.

Some of our distinguished visitors come in a formal or official capacity, perhaps part of an established exchange program, an institutional or discipline accrediting team, or as international visitors, including ambassadors and other government leaders. Others come less formally, perhaps to visit a friend on campus, consult with a colleague, witness a cultural production or athletic event, or to learn more about an area of research, a program, or a “best practice” taking place on campus.

Our visitors include young children in yellow school buses coming to the Museum of Art, Bean Museum, or Derrick Planetarium. They include students and parents “scouting out” BYU. They include proud grandparents and alumni coming to theircampus, perhaps to reminisce about how they met, to cheer on their now-adult child or grandchild, or to attend a lecture or concert.

Many visitors say they feel something when they come to Brigham Young University. Often they cannot explain it. They try to put their finger on what they are feeling with words such as

“The campus is attractive, clean, and feels safe.”

“Your students are enthusiastic and fun-loving but also so polite and focused.”

“Your faculty is first-rate academically and so caring about students and others.”

In some form these queries ultimately ask, “What makes Brigham Young University special?”

In my time today I will try to address several dimensions of the question “What makes Brigham Young University special?” I will be telling you in the audience things you already know. You are the living examples of BYU. You are the substance of my response to questions I am frequently asked by visitors and friends from other campuses across this nation and from countries around the world.

Also, taking a step back to explain something to someone else helps us clarify for ourselves what we think and understand. Of course I have neither the time nor ability today to address every dimension of this important question, but let us begin.

So, what makes Brigham Young University special?

One of the many reasons I am grateful we have the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center at the doorway of our campus is that it provides a starting point to speak of our commitment as Christians and Latter-day Saints. We believe in God, His Son Jesus Christ, the restoration of gospel truth and priesthood authority through the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the doctrines by which the human soul is enlarged by all that is lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy. We also testify of our status as genuine spiritual daughters and sons of our Heavenly Father. I hope you will all visit the Hinckley Center and then take your friends there when they visit campus.

Some visitors come expecting Brigham Young University to be a kind of religious seminary where future LDS missionaries wear white shirts or conservative dresses and ride bicycles two by two. This image is understandable, and it is also true that the Missionary Training Center to the northeast is technically on the BYU campus. A significant number of BYU students do leave the university to offer voluntary Church service worldwide as LDS missionaries—24 months for men and 18 months for women. Likewise, a considerable number of our staff and faculty also serve for extended periods as missionaries, either interrupting their BYU careers for a season or capping their retirement experiences as missionaries.

But such service, given without monetary compensation but valuable for life lessons, is not a formal or credited part of a student’s BYU experience, nor are older missionaries rewarded financially as they serve missions at their own expense. Some Brigham Young University students take language tests for language credit when they return from an international mission just as do students who participate in Study Abroad and other language study programs.

At a more conceptual level, a few visitors can imagine BYU as a religious institution but not also as a rigorously academic university. For a few such visitors, the idea of a religious university—faith and intellect together—seems a modern contradiction in terms. Respectfully, we have a different view, to which I’ll return in greater detail in a moment.

On a strictly academic level, visitors ask what makes BYU special or different among institutions of higher education. Directly or indirectly, such queries also ask what makes Brigham Young University similar to other fine institutions of higher learning.

In this regard, related questions include:

What are the mission and aims of BYU?

Specifically, what is the relationship between undergraduate teaching, your clear emphasis, and some graduate programs of distinction?

How are you funded?

How are you managing financially in these times of economic volatility?

What do you look for in your students as they enter and as they graduate?

What do you look for in your faculty and how are they distinctive or similar to other good faculties?

Where and how do you feel you are being most successful as a university?

Do you have a sense of where you are heading as a university?

These all are fair and important questions, and others occur to you and to our guests. In this setting I have neither time nor capacity to address these questions in the way they each deserve. I will, however, share some observations with those who may be visiting for the first time or the 100th time. And, again, thank you to this audience for your willingness to share together how we respond to these important queries from our visitors.

BYU Mission and Aims

When dealing with important, critical, and central questions about Brigham Young University, a good place to begin is with our foundational and constitutional statements. For this reason I will rely rather liberally for a few minutes on the BYU Mission and Aims documents.

The mission of Brigham Young University—founded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life. That assistance should provide a period of intensive learning in a stimulating setting where a commitment to excellence is expected and the full realization is pursued. . . .

. . . Students at BYU should receive a broad university education. The arts, letters, and sciences provide the core of such an education, which will help students think clearly, communicate effectively, understand important ideas in their own cultural tradition as well as that of others, and establish clear standards of intellectual integrity.

In addition to a strong general education, students should also receive instruction in the special fields of their choice.

Let me continue with some other statements of significance:

The university cannot provide programs in all possible areas of professional or vocational work, but in those it does provide the preparation must be excellent. Students who graduate from BYU should be capable of competing with the best in their fields.

Scholarly research and creative endeavor among both faculty and students, including those in selected graduate programs of real consequence, are essential and will be encouraged. [The Mission of Brigham Young University and The Aims of a BYU Education (Provo: BYU, 1996), 1–2]

Of course I might have quoted the entire mission statement and usefully explored each thought and each sentence contained therein, but I think you see the general pattern emerge of who and what BYU is—perhaps part of what makes us special and also gives us common cause with the great intellectual and scholarly traditions of Western academia. It would not be a waste of your time to review again these documents in their entirety.

As a university dedicated to education for eternity, we do believe in intensive learning, in stimulating inquiry, in commitment to excellence, and in pursuing the full realization of human potential. As do many large and complex institutions of higher education, we are constantly seeking to keep balance and perspective consistent with and deriving from the directions of our board of trustees with respect to teaching and research and undergraduate and graduate education, selecting students who will most thrive in and add to our institution and those from various backgrounds who can also contribute in unique ways to our enriched environment. We attempt to do all of this while also being cognizant of our responsibilities to serve a large student body and many national and international applicants as well.

From our basic core principles, inextricably connected with our sponsoring Church, comes our commitment to the charted course for the education we offer our students and our community. From it derives our university’s central purposes, our values, the way we are funded, why we take seriously the Honor Code, and our deep doctrinal commitment to learn, including the many ways there are to learn and the many manifestations and expressions of what learning is for.

Our board of trustees is actively involved in the setting of broad principles and policies while entrusting us at the university to govern ourselves while pursuing the board mandate to make BYU the best it can be (see Cecil O. Samuelson, “A More Excellent Way: A Changing BYU in a Changing World [BYU Annual University Conference, 24 August 2004], and “The BYU Way” [BYU Annual University Conference, 23 August 2005]). As noted in our mission statement, to be the best BYU can be requires attention and focus. We are a large, comprehensive university. Our 560-acre campus includes four museums, two libraries, and more than 300 total buildings—about half of which are for student housing and the majority of the remainder for academic programs. We have slightly more than 30,000 daytime students, including about 3,000 graduate students, and the vast majority being undergraduates. Our faculty currently is about 1,300 strong, and our full-time administrative and staff associates number approximately 2,800 with another 1,000 part-time faculty, administrative, and staff personnel and currently close to 13,000 part-time student employees.

However large and complex BYU may be, no university, including BYU, can be all things to all people. There are necessarily some things we can do and some we cannot. Former BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland put it this way: “We cannot do everything but what we choose to do we will do superbly well” (“We Cannot Do Everything but What We Choose to Do We Will Do Superbly Well,” BYU Today, December 1981, 16).

Let me offer a corollary to what President Holland said. It may seem particularly relevant in our current economic times, though its application is not limited to economic times that require choices, but it is part of what BYU is generally. In the spirit of “we cannot do everything but what we choose to do we will do superbly well,” we also ask, “What should we do more of, and what could we do less of?” This is a natural phenomenon: If we want to add, we need to ask, what will we subtract? And, naturally, we want to add or intensify or improve that which is most central and that which is done excellently. Conversely, we should do less of that which, while important, may be less central or less able to be done well. In addition, our world and our disciplines are changing, and both require our regular and thoughtful response in a timely manner.

BYU Students

Another element of the answer to the question “What makes BYU special?” is our students! Everyone knows that a major secret to any university’s success is the students who choose to attend. BYU students come from all 50 states and more than 100 different nations. More than 2,000 international students attend BYU yearly; 75 percent of BYU students speak a second language; nearly 50 percent of BYU students have lived outside the United States, including having been participants in about 158 student programs located in 58 countries around the world.

In a typical entering class, such as our 2009 freshman class, to use a specific example, BYU has had 10,345 applicants, with 6,983 admitted. Many universities pride themselves on having as many applicants as possible. We do not. In fact, our exemplary admissions and advisory staff work very hard to help high school students who are interested in BYU but who are likely not to achieve admission find alternative higher education options where they may have a greater chance for academic success. I’m grateful this is a place that cares about all students, including those not enrolled at BYU. Happily, some who are not initially successful in entering Brigham Young University eventually qualify elsewhere and are able to transfer here and ultimately graduate from BYU.

Of those who are admitted, we project 5,600 will be enrolled. Our very high percentage of enrolled students among those admitted is second in the country. Our students really want to come to BYU!

This year, among our admitted students, 660 are from the first generation of their families to attend a university. The average high school GPA of the entering class is almost 3.8, and the average ACT score is almost 28. Twelve percent, that is 824 students, received 4.0 GPAs in high school, and we have 592 valedictorians. With 40 percent of our incoming class having 3.9-plus GPAs, it is not surprising that our top incoming student cohort looks—by standardized test scores, grade point averages, and demonstrated talents, interests, and service—like an Ivy League entering class. Where they absolutely differ is that all students who are admitted to BYU also must have a very strong and detailed ecclesiastical endorsement from their priesthood leaders, if LDS, or their clergy, if of another faith.

While BYU pays significant attention to GPA and ACT scores as proven, accurate predictors of likely academic fit and success at BYU, we also read carefully each application as part of our overall dedication to finding students who really want to be at BYU for the reasons that will help them excel and contribute as part of our commitment to an enriched environment. In addition, but not as part of the freshman class, a considerable number of “late bloomers” who have shown themselves capable of success at BYU by their performance at other institutions are admitted as transfer students each year.

Especially in these unsettled and challenging economic times, some recognize, as reflected in various national rankings, that BYU offers tremendous, in fact, nationally ranked, value—that is, an excellent education at a generally affordable cost. This pleases us, but it also frankly worries us. We always want value and values to go together. While we always want expenses to the students and their families to be as low as possible, we also would be disappointed to have students come only or primarily because of favorable cost comparisons—thus the extra care given to the “whole student” in the admissions process. We are delighted our great students come to BYU for its spiritual environment and Honor Code as well as for our outstanding academics. This may help give additional insight to our recent efforts to strengthen and improve our ecclesiastical endorsement procedures.

It would be reasonable to ask, “Do or should all good LDS students come to BYU?”

The answer, of course, is a resounding “no” to both questions. We do encourage all LDS students to participate in the institutes of religion wherever they may be if not at a Church institution. We recognize not all good LDS students can or should come. We are grateful for those who do. We understand those who do not and are grateful for the contributions they make wherever they study.

BYU is pleased with our student retention. Those who enter as freshmen and return for their sophomore year within three years are 87 percent. This duration accounts for the 24 or 18 months of voluntary Church missionary service in which so many of our students participate. The retention rate reaches 93 percent after four years and 94 percent after five years—again, also accounting for students who don’t leave on missions or return at the exact beginning of semesters or who may work or be elsewhere involved before returning to the university.

In the process of time, our students graduate. This past April 2009, for example, there were 3,891 bachelor’s degree graduates, 515 master’s degree graduates, and 152 doctoral graduates. In our most recent graduation of 12 days ago, we recognized an additional 2,423 students. Ninety-one percent of the men graduating had served full-time LDS missions, and 19 percent of the women were also returned missionaries.

Regardless of the economic times, recruiters and BYU students both know the value of a BYU education in terms of long-term and immediately marketable skills and training. This is why 133 of the Fortune 500 companies recruit at BYU, why BYU is one of the top five schools recruited by Exxon Mobil in computer science, and why BYU nurses and public school teachers are highly recruited, among many others that you can also identify.

And three years after graduation, when we ask every BYU graduate to participate in our alumni questionnaire, we are pleased to see almost unanimously positive responses. For example, if we look at the graduating class of 2005, which was surveyed in 2008, we find that 97 percent rate their BYU experience as good and excellent with 96 percent saying they would attend BYU again if they were to make a new decision as to their university of choice.

BYU Faculty and Staff

Along with its students, a university’s contributions and reputation are measured largely by its faculty and staff. BYU has a very dedicated and highly talented faculty and staff who largely hold terminal degrees in their individual fields from many of the most impressive institutions in the United States and throughout the world. Many also have additional academic or professional recognition and credentials. Like our students, our faculty come from almost everywhere and, if they chose, could be virtually anywhere. We are very grateful they are so committed not just to their disciplines but also to the unique mission of Brigham Young University.

This means BYU faculty come with a spirit of consecration. Many feel as if they were called to be at BYU, although each understands their positions are technically professional and not ecclesiastical. The result of this is a group of leading and outstanding scholars and professionals who have a sense of dedication seldom seen or experienced elsewhere.

Having chosen BYU, these remarkable faculty members have also brought with them a commitment, as I discussed last year, to real and consequential teaching, research, and citizenship. This comes from a deep understanding of the mission of BYU and, for most, a similar understanding and covenant relationship with our sponsoring Church.

As we have said before, Brigham Young University is an undergraduate teaching and learning institution with some graduate programs of distinction. In this statement we find much that explains BYU’s identity, purpose, and views on how we determine and measure excellence and what we are striving to become.

Student mentoring is important at BYU. While the concept of student mentoring is by no means new—we have previously traced its roots back to the very beginning with Karl G. Maeser and his associates—it may still seem unusual to some to see undergraduates involved so directly with faculty in research and other creative work. Sharing important activities like planning, publishing, presenting, and promulgating creative works and research results are very much a part of the BYU fabric and mission.

There is, however, a subtle balance necessary for our faculty in involving students in research. The balance is not only quantitative—not doing less than is desirable or more than is practical—but also qualitative—making sure that the necessary work gets done but also that important learning for all participating is accomplished. This is why so many BYU faculty, excellent and contributing in every way, know their greatest long-term achievement will be in the success of their students.

This means BYU faculty are student-centric. It is very different for faculty to tolerate undergraduate students as a necessary requirement for a position at a university and for faculty like our own who see the purpose of the university as the nurturing of the students with whom they interact and teach.

Something BYU shares with the best universities everywhere is our commitment and passion to the “aha” expression of curiosity—the fire of intellectual exploration and learning. In our case, we seek to be bilingual or multilingual in both the languages of various lands and in the languages of our disciplines while also being competent in the things of the Spirit. We strive to do all of this in order to further the quest and seek to advance the frontiers of new knowledge through all available sources of both insight and inspiration.

These forms of learning “by study and also by faith” (D&C 88:118) are complementary. They coordinate faith and intellect. They complement both and compromise neither.

I have shared some views about what makes BYU special. Let me now also try to emphasize where and how BYU is similar to other fine institutions of higher education. My list is not all-inclusive but suggests some basic and important commonalities.

We are committed to open inquiry and to academic freedom. I hope you are aware of the inquiry conference we held last February. The proceedings will be available in the weeks ahead, and I invite you who did not attend to review the content and summaries of the presentations and discussions. In addition to remarkable presenters from both our faculty and elsewhere, including Dr. Sandra Ellman of our Northwest Accreditation agency, we were treated to wonderful summary comments by President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency. I was very impressed and touched by both the depth of scholarly consideration and also by the deep understanding expressed in terms of the importance of institutional and individual academic freedom as valued at BYU. We will be announcing soon the exact time of availability of the proceedings of this important event that we will likely repeat in some format from time to time.

We are committed to contributing to knowledge that is the product of our research and other creative works. It is no longer a secret in the broader academic community or here at home that we have much work of great significance coming from BYU. Weekly I have the privilege of reviewing print media, especially newspapers, and I think there is never a week that goes by that someone or some group at BYU is not recognized for a newsworthy discovery or contribution. It is not the publicity that is so important, helpful as it may be, but the evidence of the learning that has occurred as new knowledge has been discovered or created.

We are demonstrably committed to excellent learning and teaching. Here I would submit that perhaps the best evidence for these achievements is found in the students themselves. While I have already mentioned with pleasure the high level of their subjective satisfaction and appreciation for their BYU educational experiences, we also have impressive objective data that supports how well our graduates do. Not only are the ones seeking employment at the time of graduation highly sought after, but our students wishing to continue in graduate programs and professional schools are also finding great success. We must remember that these favorable conditions are not only the result of the impressiveness of current students and graduates but also the result of the performance of our students and graduates who have gone before in years past.

We are committed to good citizenship and to contributing to our families, communities, the world, and also to the academic community generally. Think of so many of our alumni who are prominent in virtually every walk of public life. Think of those who serve in their churches, in the charitable organizations of their communities, in leadership positions in industry and commerce as well as the broader academy. While perhaps not as well known publicly, the numbers of our faculty who contribute to their disciplines on editorial review boards and committees and in accreditation site visits to other institutions and prestigious commissions are impressive and laudatory. If time permitted, we could mention other activities and contributions as well.

We work closely through an arrangement we call “Shared Services” with our other Church Educational System sister institutions: BYU–Idaho, BYU–Hawaii, and LDS Business College. We also interact with the Church’s seminaries and institutes when it makes good sense to do so. The boards and leaders of each of these entities meet together monthly. In the face of this close coordination, each institution has its own distinct identity and mission. For example, we at BYU have the only charter for significant research and graduate education among the LDS Church–sponsored institutions.

Likewise, we try to be good academic citizens in our state. On many issues and projects, we work closely with Utah Valley University, the University of Utah, Utah State University, and the other state institutions of higher education, including community colleges and universities. While we compete vigorously and with considerable success athletically with our natural in-state rivals, we, like they, understand the value and importance of collegiality and cooperation, and all of our universities are thus strengthened. The sharing agreements between our libraries and joint participation on research grants and contracts are only two examples of the many we could mention.

We strive to be good academic citizens in the nation also, as I have already mentioned. We work with a wide diversity of educational associations and groups at the local, regional, and national levels. This includes editorial boards, national organizations, scholarly and professional societies, as well as groups such as the Mountain West Conference in athletics, the American Association of Presidents of Independent Colleges and Universities, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, and the U.S. Department of Education.

While we cooperate and interact as we can, we stand independent of all external institutions when we must, just as does our sponsoring Church (see D&C 78:14). We try to join with others when we can in a spirit of genuine engagement and mutual contribution in support of good and worthy causes. But there are some things we cannot and will not do.

Happily, our history provides patterns of how we can and must deal with external realities, both opportunities and challenges. As an example, BYU Broadcasting has had to deal with potential challenges to KBYU, our Public Broadcasting Service television station, over our continuing to carry religious programming. While the media may have made more of the situation than really existed—because at no time was our programming in serious jeopardy—it highlights the fact that not everyone will understand or agree to everything we believe to be fundamental.

As you all know, we do not have coeducational student housing at BYU, nor will we have it in the future. During Elder Oaks’ presidency, there were Title IX challenges to our values and practices. With some very good legal work and help from heaven, we have been able to continue our essential and nonnegotiable policies and practices on student housing. There are just some things we cannot and will not do. We know that other challenges exist and are coming, but we face them with confidence, with faith, and with courage because we know that BYU is a very special place and receives very special help when it is merited and needed. Our challenge is to continue to be vigilant and do the very best we can so that perceived mediocrity in one area might not be used as an excuse for assaults against our basic values or our unique educational mission.

A further commonality we experience with all universities and institutions in this nation and in most of the world is the current economic uncertainty and challenge. Because of the prudence of our board leaders and the solid position of the university generally, we have been affected less severely than have other institutions of which we are aware.

Some very excellent universities in this country have had dramatic budget cuts with both program and staff eliminations and layoffs. While it is true that we have been asked to curtail or reduce spending where we can and in certain categories, it is also true that we have been spared blanket layoffs or draconian cuts.

It is true that BYU, like all Church entities, has been under a hiring freeze for several months. It is also true that we have been asked to do more with less. Because not all faculty who have either left or retired have been able to be replaced, we have had to ask our faculty to teach more and larger sections and eliminate some courses that might be attractive but not essential. It is also true that with the permission of the board we have been able to bring in just a few more visiting faculty than usual to help us with the load. As I said at the outset, our board of trustees is committed to and supportive of our current efforts and also to our future stability and continuing improvement.

Nevertheless, it has been a somewhat stressful time that may yet continue for a while. Let me take this occasion to thank our entire community publicly and profoundly for handling this difficult time with so much care, class, and understanding. Many sacrifices have and are being made, and we are grateful for what is being done. I think we all recognize how fortunate we are to have employment and the solid backing of the board and leadership of the Church. Some institutions may fail or even go away, but neither will be the lot of BYU.

Brigham Young University will continue to strive to be the best it can be. There is much current discussion about what is described by some as the “new normal.” In society generally, examples include the understanding that children will not automatically live in larger homes than did their parents nor have the expanding discretionary spendable resources some have thought to be inexhaustible for several generations. I find it quite interesting to hear various financial advisors give advice as if it were new, while the prophets of this dispensation have been counseling us clearly in this regard for decades.

I believe it fair to say that none of us yet fully understands what the “new normal” might mean for BYU. What we in the leadership do understand is that we will need to be even more careful, more thoughtful, and more courageous in doing more with less, in deciding what we must do less of or eliminate in order to keep this hallowed institution on track to becoming the best it can be, and in doing all that is necessary to meet the obligations and opportunities appropriately placed before us. As good as BYU is—and I believe this university is very good—we have much yet to do to achieve the expectations and promises that exist for us.

You will see us do some reorganizing and streamlining. You will see us delay some projects that can properly wait for a later time, but you will also see us move ahead with things that must continue. Our new BYU Broadcasting facility just east of us will be completed on time not only because of its importance to the university but also because of its importance to the kingdom. Needed maintenance on the campus will continue, but we will also be a little more patient with some things we would like to do than we have been in the past. Conditions will change, and we will adapt with the counsel and direction of our leaders to assist us.

I have sought to introduce or review some of what I think makes BYU special in response to the questions of so many who feel something on our campus and want to know what it means. Thanks to all of you for letting me share these thoughts and considerations with you. It is always an honor and pleasure to welcome friends and visitors to Brigham Young University and a very special and valued privilege to greet and meet with your colleagues and associates.

A special thanks once again to this audience for all you do as we continue our efforts to fulfill the trust given us by our Brigham Young University Board of Trustees, presided over by the First Presidency, to help continue making BYU, and ourselves in the process, the best we can be.

© Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Cecil O. Samuelson

Cecil O. Samuelson was president of Brigham Young University when this address was given at the BYU Annual University Conference on 25 August 2009.