Follow Brigham's lead, BYU graduates told

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Council of the Twelve counseled the summer graduates of BYU to follow the example of Brigham Young as they look ahead.

"Go forth at full stride - energetic, visionary, faithful, undaunted," he said during the summer commencement Aug. 11. He conducted the graduation services in the Marriott Center, as well as giving concluding remarks.Elder Wirthlin, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and BYU Pres. Rex E. Lee addressed the 2,428 graduates. Justice O'Connor also received an honorary degree from BYU.

Elder Wirthlin told the graduates: "As you look `through a glass darkly' (1 Cor. 13:12) towards an uncertain future filled with awesome - if not fearsome - challenges, may I suggest a role model to guide you through the years that lie ahead, a role model that will help you move forward in a turbulent world. You need look no further than your alma mater's namesake to find an example worthy of emulation."

He then spoke of the new statue of Brigham Young recently unveiled in the rotunda of the Utah State Capitol. He encouraged the graduates to go see the art piece which "portrays a clean-shaven Brigham in the prime of his life, boldly striding forward, his coat flapping open in the wind of his own fearless motion. [Sculptor] Kraig Varner's impressive portrayal of Brigham Young is an unforgettable image of a vibrant, vigorous, dynamic leader."

After briefly describing some of the pioneer prophet's traits, Elder Wirthlin said: "If you are to triumph in overcoming the massive obstacles of our modern world, many of which may appear to be insurmountable, I suggest that you go boldly forward with this energetic image of Brigham Young emblazoned in your memories. No matter how great the obstacle or how difficult the task, like Brigham Young, you must have vision to see and faith to do. You must be men and women of action and indomitable will."

Pres. Lee emphasized the importance of continuing the learning process, even after ending formal schooling.

"During your time at BYU, you have learned the basic techniques," he said. "You have also learned that the available learning tools are not restricted to the rational; sometimes the most effective learning occurs through extra-rational means, learning by faith as well as by study. But whether by one process, or the other, or preferably a combination of both, the learning process must continue. It is significant that we refer to today's exercises not as a termination, not as some kind of end point, but rather as a commencement."

Justice O'Connor passed three points of advice on to the graduates. She said: "The individual can make things happen. . . . Give freely of yourself always to family, community and country. The world will pay you back many fold.

"Secondly, each of us must make it a habit to do our best. Whatever the task you are assigned, do it to the best of your ability, and God will take care of tomorrow. . . .

"Finally, it is important to remember that we live in a free society and under a rule of law. Freedom means many things to different people, but most importantly it means we have the right and the responsibility to discipline ourselves. Part of that inner discipline should be a lifelong effort to leave this world a little better than you found it on your arrival."

During the commencement exercises, Pres. Lee gave presidential citations to Dee F. Andersen, Bruce B. Clark, and William Hobson and the late Evelyn Troup Hobson. The citations were established in 1983 to honor outstanding individuals and groups.

Brother Andersen, currently administrative vice president at BYU, has held many professional positions in the Church, in education and in the private sector.

Brother Clark was the founding dean of the College of Humanities at BYU. He formally retired in 1983, but continued to teach for eight more years. He was an editorial specialist for the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and completed a three-volume history of the BYU College of Humanities.

The Hobsons have been two of BYU's most ardent supporters. Their joint commitment to education is reflected in the many and sizable donations to many of the nation's finest educational institutions.

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