• Internationally, BYU is known as “the language university.” The 2017 edition of the pamphlet Y Facts reported that approximately 65 percent of BYU students speak more than one language. Let me do a quick survey to see if those assembled here today are representative of BYU students in general. If you know more than one language, please raise your hand. [The majority of the audience raise
  • You may wonder, as we gather to recognize and celebrate the end of your university career, why we hold a ceremony that we call a commencement. A commencement is, after all, a beginning, not an end. Some may conclude that this apparent misnomer occurs because university administrators, who organize and name such events, are often so confused that they are never sure whether they are coming o
  • I was born in Mountain View, California, the second of (eventually) eleven children. We settled in a relatively quiet neighborhood on the east side of San Jose, not far from the rolling foothills that are crowned by the imposing Mount Hamilton, home to the Lick Observatory, “the first permanently occupied mountaintop observatory in the world.”1 The weather was usually pleasant, even dur
  • Hi, everybody! To all of you—graduates, parents, and other supporters—thank you so much for being here, and thank you even more for what you have done to get here. I also want to say thank you to those who have helped me get here. To my sweet husband, my parents, my siblings, and all my extended ­family, thank you for your wonderful encouragement and support. I will start by letting you all kno
  • Several weeks ago I came home from work and announced at the dinner table to my wife and two of my daughters that I would be speaking at the BYU devotional on September 29. My wife, Lynn, immediately said, “Honey, what an amazing opportunity, and it will still be early enough in the semester that people will actually be there!” Lynn, I am happy to say that you were right—there actually are a lo
  • It is wonderful to see you all here this ­morning and to feel the joy, warmth, and enthusiasm you radiate. I count it as one of the great blessings of my life that I have the opportunity to associate daily with such ­talented, consecrated people whose main focus is to provide our students with the kind of holistic learning experience that President Spencer W. Kimball called “education for eternity
  • I wish to begin my remarks today with an expression of gratitude to the academic administrators on campus. This year the deans of three of our academic colleges completed their service in the office, and their replacements were appointed following a thorough search process. Associate deans have been invited to serve with these new deans in the college leadership. In addition, twelve department cha
  • I feel honored and humbled to have received the assignment from the First Presidency to speak to you precious young people today. I hope that you have an appreciation of how much the prophet and the First Presidency care about you and love you. You are among “the noble and great.”1 [A man arrived] home from work to find a very small girl sitting on the curb in front of his house,
  • I have to tell you how much I love working and living in a college town, where I get to know so many wonderful students. When our youngest, Rob, was about five, we were out shopping, and I bumped into a bunch of students, as frequently happens. It was great because he looked up at me kind of wide-eyed and said, “Mom, every place we go people know you. Are you famous?” Of course I said, “Yes.”
  • As I look over this sea of blue, I see thousands who have taken the challenge that is sculpted near the entrance to BYU: “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve.” Congratulations. You are now a graduate of one of the greatest universities in the world. One of my privileges as alumni president is to officially welcome you into the BYU Alumni Association. I hereby confer upon each of you lifetime memb
  • President Uchtdorf, President Samuelson, trustees, honored guests, distinguished faculty and staff, parents and family members, friends, and graduates: Dear brothers and sisters, it is an honor to be with you on this significant occasion. I offer my congratulations and deep respect for what you have achieved with the degrees now bestowed upon you. I acknowledge the years of commitment, sacrifice,
  • President Uchtdorf, Elder Cardon, President Samuelson, faculty, family, and friends, it is an honor to stand before you today on this special occasion and to express to you the gratitude of each of us as graduates for all of your love and support over the past several years. And to you, my fellow graduates, you are truly an inspiring sight today. I am grateful for this opportunity to share with yo
  • I am always grateful to have this opportunity to reflect with you graduates, faculty, family, and friends on what it is that we are really celebrating in this commencement today. I’m guessing that if we were to survey this large crowd in the Marriott Center, we would be exposed to several responses. Most would be legitimate and understandable, some might be more personal and even unusual, and some
  • I would like to thank BYU for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today. I have had the amazing privilege of teaching at this wonderful university for almost twenty years. I love BYU and what it has meant for my family, my students, and me. Indeed, I would like to thank my family, my colleagues, and my students—but especially my family. I love you all very much. You have made this experience
  • I am happy to be here with you today. I remember when I was a university student. Like some of you, I had trouble deciding what my major should be. First I thought about majoring in economics. That way, if I couldn’t get a job after I graduated, at least I would understand why. Then I thought I might major in physical education. I went down to the gym to lift weights, but the laughter made it d
  • Over the past month our ward has welcomed several newborn babies. Each baby comes to this earth curious and 
eager to learn. They want to taste everything, chew everything, and pull on everything. I imagine that from a baby’s point of view, everything in this world is new and amazing. As we anticipated our exodus from 
the spirit world, we placed great trust in the plan of salvation. We trusted
  • As a scientist, I make observations that help me develop explanations for what I see in the laboratory. These explanations are called hypotheses, and they can be tested in the laboratory to determine whether or not they are true. An example of a hypothesis that I might make is “because chemicals A and B are known to be reactive, I reason, or ‘hypothesize,’ that if A and B are mixed together, they
  • Sister Jensen and I are pleased to be here, along with members of our family. I acknowledge my total dependence upon the Lord, and I have prayed and do pray now that during this devotional we will allow the Holy Ghost to be the true teacher that He is—about which I will say more in my message. The theme of this Campus Education Week and the title to my remarks is “That All May Be Edified,” comi
  • I grew up on a small farm in Sanpete County, Utah, about seventy miles south of Provo. As I have reviewed my life, I have recognized the Lord’s guidance and perhaps even intervention that has directed me onto paths I would never have thought to pursue myself. From a very young age I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. My grandfather owned the local sawmill and logged his own trees. As a li
  • I am truly 
grateful for this recognition. And thanks to all of you for your presence here today, especially to 
my family to whom I owe so much. I’m glad my brother Jim could play the organ today. He and I were 
roommates in Helaman Halls in 1968. With great talents, he is a brother I have always looked up to. 
Also, it is fun to be able to address you here in the de Jong Concert Hall. I remember
  • Brothers and sisters, it is wonderful to be with you this morning. You are a beautiful sight. Each time I come on campus, I can’t help but think of many years ago when I came for a stake conference here with one of the BYU student stakes. We spent the evening with the stake president and his family and had a wonderful dinner. During the evening we visited, and the stake president asked Sister Snow
  • If there is one thing that distinguishes the university from other institutions of learning, it is the expectation to advance knowledge. The mission of most educational institutions is to pass on what is already known. Our high school teachers distilled their lessons from books that had already been written. At the university we engage in this dissemination too, but we have the further obligation
  • President Samuelson; trustees, faculty, and staff of Brigham Young University; honored guests; parents; family members; and graduates: My dear brothers and sisters, Sister Christofferson and I offer our congratulations, respect, and love to all of you. We thank you for the privilege of being with you on this grand occasion and rejoice with you in the achievements that we honor today. We are please
  • Picture in your minds an image of the sun with its rays peeking over the mountains and the sky lit up like a fire. Few visions can surpass the beauty of this scene. In your mind’s eye, is this sun setting or rising? Few moments in life are anticipated as much as graduation from college and the celebration of the hard work that was required. Few experiences can surpass the poignancy of this mome
  • It is a privilege to be here today, but I have to tell you that it is pretty intimidating to be the poor fellow who has to follow Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell. I actually want to follow up on something that was evident as I listened to him speak: it is possible to be both professionally excellent and to be a person of faith. I am going to tell you today that striving for this kind of balance in
  • It is my distinct privilege and pleasure to welcome all of you and to extend my commendations and congratulations to those before us who are recognized in our program of the day and are adorned in the apparel earned by their accomplishments. As we will emphasize later, none has trod this path of achievement alone, and so in our adulation we include all who have contributed in any way to the succes
  • Thank you, President Samuelson. Thank you for your excellent service and exemplary leadership. We admire you and Sister Samuelson greatly. We also express our gratitude to the faculty and staff for their help to these choice students at Brigham Young University. Wendy and I are grateful to be here with you today. We are very pleased that President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has been awarded an honorary
  • President Samuelson, honored guests, parents, family members, graduates, my dear brothers and sisters—Sister Uchtdorf and I extend our congratulations, commendation, and deep love to all of you whom we honor on this happy day. Even nature seems to be honoring you with the beauties of springtime as we mark the culmination of many years of hard work and study. It is a great privilege for us to be
  • Across the eastern face of the new Joseph F. Smith Building, which was dedicated three years ago, runs a 200-foot curved glass curtain. This curtain encloses a grand gallery on the second and third floors. In this gallery, a permanent multimedia exhibit opened its doors this fall. The exhibit is entitled Education in Zion, and its theme is how our Zion tradition of learning and faith has always be
  • It is my great pleasure to welcome you formally to another exciting fall semester. I hope and anticipate that this academic year will be a wonderfully productive and happy experience for all of us. Today I would like to talk with you—in a way possible only at a place like Brigham Young University—about learning. Because of our doctrine, we can understand much about how we may learn, what things we
  • My beloved brothers and sisters, I rejoice with you on this special day. Sister Bednar and I have loved watching you happy graduates and grateful family members celebrate a truly important accomplishment. Cameras are clicking, recorders are running, text messages are flying, and smiles are beaming all over this campus. Tonight and tomorrow convocations will convene, festive meals will be enjoyed,
  • Graduates, families, members of the faculty, brothers, sisters, and friends, it is a pleasure to be together with you on this special day of celebration. Of course we not only celebrate the signal achievements and accomplishments of this distinguished class, but we also gratefully acknowledge the contributions of so many of you who have assisted, encouraged, and supported these impressive graduate
  • Graduates, families, brothers, sisters, and friends, it is a wonderful privilege to be with you and witness the various expressions of excitement, elation, and anticipation for the future. I see in you relief that it is finally over and also mutual and reciprocal feelings of appreciation for each other and for special experiences that have been part of your BYU journey. We are certainly pleased
  • Once again it is an exciting and anticipatory pleasure for Sister Samuelson and me to welcome each of you to a new school year. I am confident we will have a special and enlightening series of devotional and forum assemblies this semester that will complement, supplement, and, we hope, enrich what will also be a very productive period in your classrooms, laboratories, and libraries. We look forwar
  • As I prepared for this talk, wondering what I might say or do that would make any lasting difference, I recalled the example of another Miltonist turned administrator. When the Renaissance scholar Bart Giamatti became president of Yale, he wondered: What was it that Yale needed most, wanted most, and would most contribute to solving our deficit, enhancing our quality, and making me a Manager
  • It is my privilege to be able to say a few words to you. I would like to begin by offering my personal congratulations to the graduates and to the families and friends here today. It is a day of joy and a day when we praise the Lord for the many mercies He has given us. My husband, John, just had a birthday. As we gathered to give him our gifts, our celebration looked a little different from th
  • I appreciate this opportunity to address you in this devotional setting. Let me be among the first to welcome you to this summer term of 2004. I remember a summer term 29 years ago when I was interviewed and offered a job in Special Collections at the library. I remember the exhilaration of beginning my career. I also remember looking young enough to pass for a student here. Look at the full head
  • Nephi said, “My soul delighteth in plainness unto my people, that they may learn” (2 Nephi 25:4). He later explains that “after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men” (2 Nephi 31:3). The Lord truly does work according to plainness. Plain means pure, clear, uncomplicated, honest, simple, and without ornamentation (Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, s.v.
  • Learning a new language as an adult can be a very difficult and frustrating process. Languages have a huge, seemingly endless supply of new words, idiomatic expressions, and unpredictable grammatical constructions, and they come from unfamiliar systems of politeness and culture. Students, even very advanced ones, often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of material left to learn. To be perfec
  • Brothers, sisters, and friends, it is my great privilege on this happy day to add my welcome to all of you and my congratulations to those we honor. We are grateful for the presence of Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve and chairman of the executive committee of the board of trustees, Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve, and other honored and special guests. For me
  • Sister Bateman and I are particularly pleased to welcome you to the new 2002–2003 school year at Brigham Young University. Normally the two of us share the podium during the devotionals. Because of a health challenge, Sister Bateman has asked that I represent the two of us today. We have been sweethearts for more than 40 years. Her experience during the last month has reinforced in my mind and hea
  • Elder Bateman: We welcome you to the first, official devotional of the 2001–2002 school year. We welcome a television audience that stretches across the United States and around the earth via satellite. One week ago Sister Bateman and I were prepared to address this same forum when tragedy struck New York City and the Pentagon. The events of that day have had an impact not only on the Unite
  • I am humbled by the invitation to speak today. As I have prepared my remarks, I have had particularly in mind the 900 new freshmen who arrived on campus less than two weeks ago. The rest of you will, I hope, find something of value in what I say, but I especially pray that I can help the youngest students among us understand some of the unique opportunities that lie before you. I have entitled
  • I am honored and humbled by the opportunity to speak to you today. I want to discuss some features of the most prominent activity on campus—at least it should be the most prominent—that of learning. Learning has been important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the beginning of the Restoration. There have been instructions about learning that have become part of our
  • It is frightening to be asked to speak to you today. It is even more frightening when I hear those who have sacred callings in the Church—those much closer to the Spirit than I—acknowledge the great responsibility they feel when asked to speak at a BYU devotional. I don’t know that I will say anything profound today, but I will tell you a few things I have learned from others and from my own exper
  • Before I begin the formal part of my talk, I wish to express appreciation to Sister Bateman for the wise counsel given today and for the extraordinary companion she has been to me through four decades. While I have tried to fulfill my dreams, many of which pertained to a temporal setting, she has focused solely on matters of eternal consequence. Her time and energy have been given to supporting a
  • It is common at graduation time to receive a few student letters expressing thanks for the opportunity to study at Brigham Young University. Almost all students feel a sense of gratitude for the BYU experience. They appreciate faculty and staff members who have been a special influence in their lives--both in terms of the learning associated with a particular discipline and the wise counsel receiv
  • Brothers and sisters, friends: welcome to the Brigham Young University 1999 fall semester. It is good to be here today. It is awe inspiring to look out over this vast congregation. We are all in the right place at the right time. How very blessed we are to be at this great university to increase our knowledge of truth, both secular and spiritual. The quest for learning is a ceaseless quest for tru
  • President Bateman, distinguished faculty, students—brothers and sisters all—coming to Brigham Young University is always a pleasure for many reasons. One is the special spirit on this campus. Another is the friendly, understanding atmosphere that obtains between students and faculty. A few years ago the Reader’s Digest printed the following account from a student at this university: D
  • One of the reasons I love to come to this campus is to see you, the young people of the Church. Invariably it seems to me that you look even better than you did the last time I was with you. Because I came today expecting that experience, I was reminded of an account written a number of years ago by General James Gavin. He was a young general in the American army during World War II. He commanded
  • My dear fellow students seeking learning, even by study and also by faith: I salute you in this noble effort. I consider myself doubly blessed to be permitted to serve some of you as a faculty mentor, others as a campus bishop. My life and that of my family is unmeasurably richer because of our associations with BYU students, whom Linda and I (sort of as doting surrogate parents) consider to be th
  • I was asked to address myself today to my experiences at the intersection of my studies and my beliefs. I have chosen to consider what I would call the development of the searching mind. Because I was asked to speak on some aspect of the integration of faith and reason, it occurred to me that I needed to take a moment and dedicate this talk to my husband. So much of what I think and what I am i
  • I love the words to the song our choir just performed: Write [thy] blessed name, O Lord,  upon my heart There to remain so indelibly engraved  that no prosperity or adversity shall ever move me from thy love. [D. Grotenhuis and Thomas à Kempis (Dayton, Ohio: The Sacred Music Press, 1991)] When Thomas à Kempis penned those lines more than 500 yea
  • As you enter the BYU campus, prominently displayed is the challenge “Enter to Learn—Go Forth to Serve.” This challenge not only applies to BYU students but could apply to others as well. It would also be appropriate and correct to say this challenge represents the purpose of our mortal experience. I would imagine all of us have moments when we sit, ponder, and meditate on who we are and how we
  • It is both a privilege and an honor to speak to you on this occasion and to represent the faculty of this wonderful institution. I am conscious of the hope and faith that has brought you here this morning and of the obligation that is now mine to offer something worthy of your trust. My only request is that you listen actively, rather than passively, and become part of a silent dialogue that will
  • Janet has announced a principle that is both straightforward and important. Over this coming school year, everyone of you is going to experience some disappointments and some setbacks. Some of them will be rather profound and laden with sorrow, but we can learn and grow from these sorrow-laden experiences if we will resolve to do so. For my part, I propose to discuss two related propositions th
  • My dear young friends in the gospel of Jesus Christ, I am grateful for the opportunity of being with you this evening in the company of my sweetheart of fifty years, whom I met and fell in love with at the BYU. My being invited to speak to you provides an opportunity for you to see that spending one’s professional life in scientific research does not preclude the development of faith in our Lor
  • From the time I started the first grade, the early fall season has always held a special fascination for me because it marks the beginning of a new school term. And now it’s here again, carrying the same set of pleasant reactions. With you, I look forward to this school year. For some of you this will be your first BYU experience, others are just returning from missions, and for many the next few
  • About three months ago, Rex and I attended a commencement exercise for our oldest son Tom, who was graduating from law school. On graduation day, as I strained to get a glimpse of Tom in the sea of caps and gowns, my eyes searched for his face, but my heart and mind were traveling through time to years gone by. My momentary vision was blurred by a flood of memories mixed with tears. Let me share j
  • When I open my eyes I see a world full of color with millions of shades of green and yellow and blue. It is hard for me to imagine the world any other way. And yet my eyes don’t see everything. Despite the rainbow of colors ranging from red to purple around me, honeybees can see the ultraviolet light that I can’t. At night I stumble unless I turn a light on, but cats and owls see things in the dar
  • On Being Learners In the Book of Mormon we read: “And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls” (Moroni 6:5). This also seems like an important time to meet together often to fast and to pray and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of our souls. Some of us may experience too many meet
  • I am tempted to use this unique occasion to address my remarks, not to 15,000 people, but to one. I understand that your brilliant and handsome president, one of my dearest friends, has yet to become converted to the joys of jogging or the gospel according to Moody, Fisher, and Zimmerman. Even worse, of late his public pronouncements have been riddled with aerobic agnosticism. However, I have conc
  • I received a call from the BYU Music Department just a few days before Christmas requesting the subject of my talk this evening. They wanted to coordinate the music with the topic I had selected. Then in a very nice way, they explained that this was the holiday season and it would be necessary to prepare the music early. If it would be convenient, they wondered if I could fit their theme rather th
  • President Oaks, brothers and sisters, it’s good to be home. I wasn’t sure I qualified for continuing membership in this intellectual community after I read a definition the other day of an intellectual as “any individual who can hear the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger.” I don’t pass that test, but I’m glad to be home. Mention was made by President Oaks in his gene
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