Leaders praise BYU-Hawaii, new president

Joining President Howard W. Hunter in speaking at the inauguration of BYU-Hawaii Pres. Eric B. Shumway Nov. 19 were Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve, Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Seventy and Church Commissioner of Education, and BYU Pres. Rex E. Lee of Provo, Utah. (See page 3 for a report on President Hunter's address.)

Elder Maxwell paid tribute to the spirit of community at BYU-Hawaii."This is a special institution," he said. "In addition to its steadily producing student credit hours - an important but by no means total approach to its educational mission, this institution has had, does have and will have an opportunity to demonstrate in an unusual way how a community of Saints can blend with a community of students and scholars.

"In this Eden-like setting 60 different nationalities and 30 different languages are represented on a campus unusually free from ethnic strife and racial bigotry, the very things which savagely divide so much of today's world."

Elder Maxwell said that while the campus is but a small scale in comparison with the world, still it provides a model by which others can follow.

He complimented the students who help support themselves by working at the Polynesian Cultural Center. "As a student's mind expands, there is no harm in having some lubricating sweat of the brow."

He said the challenge that Pres. Shumway will have as he guides the university will be to "stay the course" in a "roiling sea of global and social change."

"The drift away from traditional and religious moorings and toward secularism is real and relentless," he cautioned. He said that as the Church grows, added challenges will come to the BYU-Hawaii campus. Pres. Shumway, he noted, will be a "helmsman who can lead and guide amid such opportunities and challenges."

Elder Maxwell said that the Lord sees no conflict between faith and learning, and that the "pursuit, discovery and preservation of truth remains vital for this institution. Significantly, the gospel of Jesus Christ adds another dimension to our view of truth."

Elder Eyring commended Pres. Shumway for his accomplishments and success. "Your success here is of the greatest importance to all of us in the Church Educational System.

"First, it exemplifies the confidence in the absence of limits on the human potential to learn. Our deeply held religious conviction is that men and women have the potential to become like their Heavenly Father. . . . Your work here has unlocked the capacity to learn in students."

Elder Eyring said that, second, the BYU-Hawaii campus has "shown us the possibility of lifting students to high personal levels of Christian living when the gospel and example of Jesus Christ are held before them as their standard."

"This campus has been a model for us in creating an atmosphere where students choose to keep the dress and grooming standard to which they pledged adherence."

He said this atmosphere has helped develop remarkable unity and harmony. Students tolerate others, but also seek to adopt for themselves the best of what others bring from their cultures. Elder Eyring observed that Pres. Shumway has been a major force in lifting of students to the example and precepts of the Savior.

In his remarks, Pres. Lee described Pres. Shumway as a perfect fit for the job ahead of him. In reference to the new president's association with BYU-Hawaii (formerly the Church College of Hawaii) since 1966 when Pres. Shumway, a native of Arizona, came as an instructor in the English department, Pres. Lee said: "It is as though his entire life - not only the past almost three decades that he has spent in this part of the world, but also the preceding years - has prepared him for and pointed him toward this pinnacle experience in life. The only fair way to describe the impressions that I have formed with our new president is: I have been always impressed, never disappointed."

He said the task ahead is to "raise the component of Brigham Young University that is located here on this beautiful island to new heights of spiritual and academic excellence, above and beyond what we have ever experienced in the past."

Pres. Lee spoke of the achievement of another goal, in addition to seeking for a combined excellence of spirit and excellence of mind.

"The goal of which I speak, and for whose achievement I invite all of us to strive, is to bring our campuses even more closely together than they have been in the past, and to take fuller advantage of the natural synergistic opportunities that exist between the two."

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