Of Disciples and Higher Education

The opportunity and promise of a higher education at BYU not only includes the highest quality instruction and meaningful research; it also includes the direct influence of heaven. The BYU experience aims to develop faith, intellect, and Christlike character in a quest that will ultimately—in the far distant future—lead to perfection.

BYU Super Graduates

“However, at this time, acting entirely on my own and without authority from anyone else, I hereby confer upon each and every one of you the title of super graduate. You have earned this title by being resilient, durable, and adaptable throughout a global pandemic that has affected this university more than any health crisis in our lifetimes.”

A Firm Foundation

“I express gratitude and appreciation to each student, faculty, and staff member who is building on BYU’s firm foundation of bedrock virtues, values, and principles while learning appropriately when and how to adapt in changing and challenging times.”

“College Song”

I can predict with a high degree of certainty that there will be many times in your postgraduate life when you will face decisions that will ultimately be determined by whether you are motivated by pride and riches on the one hand or whether you are moved to act consistently with truths that resonate in your heart and in your mind on the other.

Little Worlds

We are in the world—and we have come to this university—so that we ourselves might become microcosms of the Divine, that we might have “the image of God engraven” not only upon our countenances but also upon our very existences (Alma 5:19). Of all the microcosms in the world, surely the greatest is the man or woman who strives to become a reflection of the Savior.

“Hold the Banner High”

Though men’s hearts are failing them, you should take heart. There have always been challenging times. We, the generations of your predecessors, have survived daunting challenges, and so will you. The answer to all of these challenges is the same as it has always been. We have a Savior, and He has taught us what we should do.

Why We Appreciate BYU

What we do say will be almost in shorthand form, but hopefully it will reflect our appreciation and gratitude for what has shaped and is influencing the lives of those who are able to have a BYU experience. We believe BYU helps us all be better people, but we must always remember that does not mean that anyone here is better than anyone else not directly connected to this unique university.

Now and the Future

As this group all appreciates, BYU is absolutely unique in the universe of American higher education. Not everyone—individuals or institutions—understands or appreciates who and what we are. Because we are different, aspiring for greatness in both our religious and academic missions, it is absolutely essential that we represent ourselves in the very best and most accurate light.

A Brand of Distinction

We are dedicated to cultivating the Spirit of the Y by keeping you informed and connected to the good works faculty and alumni are doing in the world and by providing opportunities for you to learn, volunteer, contribute, and serve with the students, programs, and activities of your alma mater—keeping you “Connected for Good.”

Simple Truths

The unique and magnificent thing about a BYU education is that in addition to being taught truths that we are meant to question, we are also taught far more important truths that we need not doubt. These truths are simple: God loves us, He sent His Son to save us, and He wants all of His children to be happy.

Learning in the Light

Brothers and sisters, we are like those who stand upon mountain peaks, responsible for transmitting light in these last days darkening with signs of battle before the return of the King. Having seen the light from others who have scaled similar peaks, our task is to reflect light to those on the next peak—over and over, from peak to peak, across the miles and the years until the King returns. We are light bearers in a precious tradition of learning in the light.

Adding Burnish to BYU

Armed with BYU degrees, you will leave this place that has grown sacred to you because of the academic and spiritual opportunities you have been afforded here. You too carry the responsibility to add burnish to the name Brigham Young University. It now becomes your time to demonstrate to your employers, your graduate school professors, your business colleagues, your neighbors, and your friends what a BYU education truly means.

“Hearken unto the Counsels of God”

My list could go on, but the central point is that your BYU education has been much, much more than the mastery of academic subjects or preparation for further education or employment in the workplace, as important as these are. You have been given the extraordinary and unique opportunity to prepare for devoted discipleship and competent leadership to assist you in your families, communities, and professions as well as in your primary quest to obtain eternal life.

As You Stand in the Line

I believe you will clearly see that—as with the parade of students who have passed through these same portals—your most cherished experiences at BYU came because the Spirit of the Lord was undergirding and surrounding your experiences. The Spirit was manifest in dedicated classrooms and on acres of consecrated soil, and it was witnessed to you by leaders with testimonies of the truth.

BYU’s Unsung Heroes

My question is: Who are the unsung heroes here at BYU who deserve our recognition and acclaim? I don’t know that we have many Congressional Medal of Honor recipients among us or serving largely behind the scenes at BYU. I do know that in this extraordinary community of students, staff, faculty, and administrators there are many who deserve our respect, admiration, and appreciation.

Your Contract with BYU

Missionaries are taught that part of their responsibility is to “invite all to come unto Christ.” Surely if all are worthy of an invitation to come unto Christ, they are worthy of an invitation to join a study group or to come to a dance. Let our campus be an inclusive community, not an exclusive fraternity.

Learn Throughout Your Lives

We hope and expect that you have grown in your understanding of the knowledge of the world and also in your convictions concerning the truthfulness of the revelations from heaven. Most important, we pray with confidence that the skills you have acquired and the talents you have magnified will allow and assist you to continue to learn throughout your lives “by study and also by faith.”

Measuring Up to the Mission

As graduates you may think you have completed your last final exams. I must remind you, however, that one final examination remains for us all. This will be a comprehensive final exam, and it will include an ultimate accounting of our personal stewardships—what we have learned, what we have done with what we have learned, and who and what we have become.

This I Believe

I believe you are the hope of things to come in the sciences, the home, politics, technology, medicine, engineering, the arts, and society as a whole. There is no better time than today to catch—then realize—the vision of your possibilities.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

I pray that your experiences will have taught you this university’s divine mission and that you will faithfully accept your very personal responsibility to carry the Spirit of the Y into every corner of your life, safeguarding its reputation and sharing its light with all around you.

BYU Spring 2005 Commencement

Having faith in Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice and in the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ helps you to overcome, by faith, each and every obstacle and challenge you will experience, have experienced at BYU, and might possibly experience in the future.

The Spirit of the Y

I pray that you will understand clearly BYU’s divine mission and that you will faithfully accept your very personal responsibility to carry the Spirit of the Y into every corner of your life, safeguarding its reputation and sharing its light with all around you.

A More Excellent Way: A Changing BYU in a Changing World

We know who we are. We know that we have made the commitment to do our parts in advancing scholarly excellence while lifting and strengthening the faith and testimonies of our students. Without apology, we affirm the supremacy of Deity, the reality of the Restoration unfolded through the Prophet Joseph, and our allegiance to today’s presiding high priests who are also the officers of our board of trustees.

High Expectations

We promise we will never forget you and expect that you will not forget BYU. You will demonstrate your great love for this institution and all that it represents by the way you live your life. You will live in such a way that objective observers will be able to tell that you are different—in a very positive way. They will usually not know exactly how or why, but they will appreciate the goodness and example of your life.

Some of BYU’s Responses to “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”

My address today is related to the topic of strengthening marriages and families. It’s a topic I’m generally comfortable with. But I’m not comfortable—and not just because I feel inadequate to address this audience. Family has been a popular topic for speeches on this campus recently. Both President Bateman and Elder Eyring have recently addressed us on the topic of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” (Ensign, November 1995, p.…

What I Now Believe About a BYU Education That I Wish I Had Believed When I First Came

I can imagine no greater honor or responsibility for a member of this faculty than to be privileged to speak with you for a few minutes in this capacity. In fact, for the life of me, I could not imagine why I was even considered for this opportunity until I received an interesting letter from KBYU informing me that the devotional addresses I gave in October 1980 and November 1981…

“Come, Come, Ye Saints”

I welcome the BYU community this morning as we begin another school year. I especially welcome those who are new among us. In many searches and circumstances, we have prayed you here, just as you have prayed about coming here. We who gather today in the Marriott Center are the largest part, but not the entirety, of the BYU community, whose members and influence now stretch into a far-flung empire…

On the Lord’s Errand

My remarks this morning will be a little different from those I have given in years past. Each fall in this setting I have given a report on several aspects of our university work or discussed the ongoing cycle of our administrative review or explained the allocation of resources or on and on and on. And usually I have gone on and on and on. My mood and my feelings…

The Y in Y-o-u

As I contemplated the Y on the mountain above this campus, and how students hike each year to keep it white and clean, I thought, "I hope there is a Y in each of your hearts, and that you examine it daily to keep it pure and clean."