Pres. Monson dedicates BYU center

President Thomas S. Monson dedicated the BYU Salt Lake Center on Oct. 28 as an "edifice of learning," a place where doubt may be dispelled and faith may "provide that shining light which fills our minds and our souls with truth eternal."

President Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency, offered a prayer of dedication to invoke blessings upon the facility - an existing building that BYU has been remodeling for the past three years - where instructors will "teach with thy spirit as a constant companion."He asked that students and teachers remember the words of Paul, who declared to the Corinthians, "Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor. 3:5.)

President Monson was accompanied to the dedication by his wife, Frances. Also in attendance were BYU president, Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, and his wife, Marilyn.

Before offering the prayer to dedicate the center, located at 3760 S. Highland Dr. in Salt Lake City, President Monson addressed an assembly of some 200 people in the center's new auditorium. He noted that he and his wife have watched the progress of the renovated building, which is located near their home. He passes it each day on his way to his office.

During the renovation, classes have been held at the center - which offers 180 undergraduate courses each semester to about 1,000 BYU students and community members.

In his address, President Monson commented on other quarters the BYU Salt Lake Center has occupied in earlier years.

Ernest L. Wilkinson, former BYU president, established the BYU Salt Lake Adult Continuing Education Center in 1958. Since then, it has been housed in the McCune Mansion at 200 N. Main (1953-1973); an early Veterans Hospital, at 401 Twelfth Avenue (1973-1986); 1521 E. 3900 South (1986-1994); and the current location (1995 to present).

"Literally thousands of students have benefited from this BYU program; and their families have likewise been benefited and uplifted because of the BYU Salt Lake Center," President Monson said. "Among those who praise your offerings and thank Heavenly Father for the facility are members of my own family."

President and Sister Monson's daughter, Ann Monson Dibb, received much of her college education at the BYU Salt Lake Center and offered the opening prayer at the dedication.

President Monson spoke of the vital interest that Church members have in education - even a passion for learning. "This yearning for learning only increases its intensity once a class is taken," he said. . . .

"We live in a complex and rapidly changing society. Our personal learning skills and study at this center will help us prepare for even further changes in the years ahead. A sophisticated economy, based upon power tools and computers, upon engineers and the professional, has no room at the bottom for unskilled labor. `The uneducated need not apply' is the unseen sign on every employment door."

President Monson challenged administrators and teachers to treat their students with dignity and provide their very best. "A teacher affects eternity," he said, quoting Henry Brooks Adams, an American historian. "He can never tell where his influence stops. You not only teach a subject; you also mold human nature."

He asked that all who labor and learn at the facility follow in the footsteps of the Savior, who lived the perfect life, and "grow in wisdom and in stature and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52.)

Director Lee J. Glines said the center appeals to a wide variety of students. He explained that the center is helpful for young people who want to take a few classes before entering the mission field or students who want to complete general education requirements before attending school full-time on another college campus. Other students, he said, travel from Provo for classes they can't fit into their schedule there.

Most important, he said, a large number students who left BYU without finishing courses for their degrees take advantage of classes offered in Salt Lake.

In addition, anyone over 55 years of age can also audit classes, for a minimal fee of $25 to $45, on a space-available basis.

"It is an opportunity for many who would not be able to take advantage of BYU in any other way," he said.

To take classes at the BYU Salt Lake Center, students need not be accepted to BYU. They just need to have completed high school requirements and agree to abide by the university's honor code and dress and grooming standards.

Certificate programs are offered in dietary management, family history and urban elementary teacher education. One master's degree program in public administration is also offered.

In addition, the Salt Lake Center has added a new bachelor's degree to its program. The general studies degree, which was created for non-traditional students desiring to earn a bachelor's degree, includes eight areas of emphasis: American studies, English and American literature, family life, family history, psychology, management, history and writing.

"The dedication of this building gives us an opportunity to reflect on the 40-year history of the center and to recommit ourselves to the center's mission to extend the services and spirit of BYU to those living in the Salt Lake area as we move into the future," said Brother Glines.

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