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Matthew S. Holland inaugurated at UVU

Matthew S. Holland inaugurated at UVU

Speaking at the President's Inaugural & Scholarship Ball on the Utah Valley University campus in Orem, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve urged college students to collectively seize the day by obtaining an education in spite of ominous societal circumstances. Elder Holland's address occurred Oct. 9 as part of festivities surrounding the inauguration of his son, Matthew S. Holland, as president of UVU.

"This is a difficult time in our nation and in our world," Elder Holland said. "We face the most serious global economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is a time of considerable anxiety and certainly a time of limited resources for both individuals and families as well as the public-at-large. … Times like this can discourage young people.

"I wish to reassure these students that the world has always had challenges, that there have always been personal and public problems, and there always will be. By definition, there has never been an ideal time or an ideal world. But this is our time, your time for these students, and it will prove to be a wonderful time just as ages past have proven they would be. It is a time for great character, for great young people to step up and step forward in seeking an education."

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, encouraged Utah Valley University

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, from the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, encouraged Utah Valley University students "to step up and step forward in seeking an education."

Weston Colton, Utah Valley University

Elder Holland also took the opportunity to share some insight about his oldest son.

"One of the first things the UVU community needs to know about Matt," he said, "is how tender his heart is and how genuinely he will feel the needs, the hopes, the dreams and the disappointments of other people. That quality is of course both a blessing and a curse for one who assumes the kind of responsibility he assumes today. …

"He can and will make courageous decisions, but that does not counter the fact that he will carry some personal pain anytime he thinks anyone has been disappointed with a policy or a practice. This is the burden of leadership, but thank heaven for leaders who do feel and who do care and who do have tender hearts."

President Holland, who began his tenure as president of UVU on June 1, ascended to the lectern following his father. During his speech, he provided an anecdote about how his mother, Pat, helped him learn to strive for excellence.

"I came home one day in sixth grade with my report card — straight C's," President Holland said. "I told my mother, 'I don't see this as too bad. It's average. It's not great; it's not terrible. It's just average. Isn't that OK?'

"She grabbed me by the lapels and she put that finger of hers in my face and she said, 'You are not average.' She marched me back down to the school that afternoon and we met with my teacher to figure out what it is I needed to do to become a better student. It was a transformational moment in my life. By the next year, I was an honors student and on my way to a path of experience and accomplishment and education that has made all the difference in the world."

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