BYU graduates have an advantage over many other college students because they have gained spirituality stemming from knowledge of the restored gospel along with their academic training, President Howard W. Hunter of the Council of the Twelve said at the school's summer commencement Aug. 13.
Marilyn Arnold, retiring dean of Graduate Studies for BYU, delivered the commencement address. BYU Pres. Rex E. Lee also spoke during the service, at which 6,974 students received degrees, the largest number in the school's history for a summer commencement."You may be successful in the fields for which you have planned your education, but to find true happiness in your endeavors and real success in life, you need to add to your education the elements of spirituality you have learned here by following the footsteps of the Master," President Hunter said. "This will produce the well-balanced individual you hope to become."
He called for an increased focus on strengthening human values.
"A nation is not made great by its fruitful acres, its great forests, its rich mineral deposits, but by the men and women who develop those resources, who cultivate the farms, fell the trees and operate the mines. That nation is greatest which develops most carefully its people by instilling within their hearts a dedication to the loftiest ideals of the human race."
Professor Arnold, whose 23-year career at BYU included four years as assistant to former Pres. Dallin H. Oaks and three years as director of the Center for the Study of Christian Values in Literature, spoke primarily on the subject of gratitude.
"Like you, all of my life I have reaped where I have not sown," she said. "Others have worked and sacrificed to open doors I have merely walked through. The same is true for you."
As an example of the service of those who have gone before, she mentioned Alice Louise Reynolds, a former English teacher at BYU who also edited The Relief Society Magazine and spearheaded a drive to increase BYU's library holdings.
"A couple of years ago," Sister Arnold said, "I ran across her handwritten catalogue of books acquired during that drive; I found there titles that have been helpful in my own studies."
Sister Reynolds was the first woman to teach a college-level course at Brigham Young Academy, as it was called in 1903, and the first woman to become a full professor at BYU, Sister Arnold noted. "And yet, the advancement of her own career seemed less important to her than creating opportunities for others. . . . She was a predicate in love with her subject.
"Your debts, my young friends, are numberless too, though I have been acquiring mine longer; you can construct your own list. Truly, as King Benjamin pointed out [in the Book of MormonT, we are all beggars and we need to remember that we are."
Sister Arnold expressed gratitude to graduate students for teaching several hundred classes and labs each semester, and for being "at the heart" of acquiring new knowledge through research.
"With all my heart I believe that BYU is a better place because we are engaged in the discovery of new knowledge," she said. "I believe that such an enterprise has a ripple effect throughout the campus, invigorating students and faculty alike. But there is another aspect of BYU for which I am even more grateful, and that is the study of revealed knowledge. In that matter we cannot even begin to measure our debt."
Such an institution as BYU, where such knowledge can be pursued, would not be possible without the sacrifice of faithful tithepayers, she acknowledged. "We owe those believers our deepest commitment to sacred truth, in the classroom, the library, the laboratory, the studio, the office, the dormitory."
In his address, Pres. Lee decried intolerance for differences between human beings.
"There is no firmer principle of the restored gospel than the one that teaches the importance of not only accepting our neighbor but going further and looking after his or her welfare," he said.
"The real thrust of the Good Samaritan story, I've always felt, is not simply the generous assistance that was rendered, but the fact that it was rendered by a Samaritan - one whom the larger society had classified in a disfavored classification, a Moor among the Spaniards, an Irishman in 19th Century Boston, a Jew in Hitler's Germany, or a Mormon in Missouri during the days of the extermination order."
Pres. Lee conferred 14 associate degrees, 1,802 bachelor's degrees, 366 master's degrees and 30 doctoral degrees. For associate and bachelor's degree candidates, diplomas were awarded at separate college convocations the next day, Aug. 14.
Graduate students received their diplomas at the commencement exercises, and cheers and such shouts as "Way to go, Mom!" were heard from the audience as diplomas were awarded.
In addition to President Hunter, General Authorities in attendance were Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elders Jacob de Jager, Charles A. Didier and Hugh W. Pinnock of the Seventy, and Elder Robert L. Simpson, emeritus General Authority.