Congratulations to all of you newly minted BYU graduates! You have just graduated from one of the greatest universities in the world. My name is Terry Seamons, president of the BYU Alumni Association. One of my privileges as alumni president is to officially welcome all of you into the BYU Alumni Association. So I hereby confer on each of you lifetime membership in the Brigham Young University Alumni Association. Welcome to this great association of more than 407,000 living alumni.
As you know, the mission of BYU “is to assist individuals in their quest for perfection and eternal life” (The Mission of Brigham Young University and The Aims of a BYU Education [Provo: BYU, 2014], 1). This mission does not end today at graduation. Your learning doesn’t end, the quest doesn’t end, and our relationships don’t end. Our mission is to extend the BYU experience beyond graduation and to build lifelong relationships with alumni and friends. Consider those spiritual and temporal lessons that you learned while you were here. We hope you will stay connected for good throughout the rest of your lives.
Check in with us from time to time and let us know what you are doing and how you are doing. Do that through our BYU Alumni RISE campaign. Through that campaign we have collected the stories of more than 3,000 of our former students. We have heard from a mother and a father whose greatest joy is having each of their eight children attend BYU. We have heard from a scientist who uses a specialized machine to extract DNA in forensics cases in a way that has never before been possible. We have heard from an alum who initially struggled but who used the business principles he learned here at BYU to launch a lucrative business. We would love to hear your stories. We invite you to share them at rise.byu.edu.
I would like to leave you with one final thought. Some of you may have seen the musical The Wiz. At the end of the movie, when the Lion realized he had developed courage, the Tin Man had recognized his heart, and the Scarecrow had recognized his brain, Dorothy was disappointed because she didn’t know how to get her wish, which was to return to Kansas. It was then that Glinda the Good came to her and sang what is so appropriate for us today: “Believe in yourself as I believe in you.” It was then that Dorothy realized that she had the power to return by believing in herself and clicking her red shoes together (“Believe in Yourself,” The Wiz ).
Well, we believe in you, my dear brothers and sisters, and so does our Heavenly Father. I pray that you will follow His counsel for you throughout the eternities because He sees in you the power to become perfect and to dwell with Him eternally. This is my prayer for you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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Terry R. Seamons was president of the BYU Alumni Association when this commencement address was given on 23 April 2015.