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Spring graduates say farewell to Ricks College

REXBURG, Idaho — Show your love of the Lord Jesus Christ through the language you use and the way you live, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve told graduates of Ricks College April 28.

Elder Russell M. Nelson of Quorum of the Twelve, right, and Ricks College President David Bednar lead processional of final April graduation before college becomes BYU-Idaho.

Show love for Christ through your life
Elder Russell M. Nelson of Quorum of the Twelve, right, and Ricks College President David Bednar lead processional of final April graduation before college becomes BYU-Idaho. Show love for Christ through your life Photo: Photo by Michael Lewis

Elder Nelson said, "The institution itself will soon be graduating — to become Brigham Young University-Idaho. Kudos to Ricks College President [David] Bednar, faculty and staff for that significant prospect and promotion."

Elder Nelson was the keynote speaker at the 112th commencement ceremonies. Normally at commencement exercises, he said, the invited speaker is expected to encourage graduates to pursue proud dreams and high hopes. "Sorry, but I won't do that. It is too easy. It is much more difficult, especially in our day and age, to achieve in those areas that really matter most."

He told graduates they need to measure up to their personal potential and to succeed in their family responsibilities. "Your greatest challenges and rewards will be found in mastering yourself and in strengthening your family. Above all else, you should strive to become a good husband or wife, a responsible father or mother, and a respected citizen in the kingdom and family of God."

Elder Nelson said reports in the media generally describe newsworthy events. "But the truly good deeds — the small, everyday actions of ordinary life — generally go unreported. Noteworthy examples are the employee who gives an honest day's work, the employer who rewards loyalty and service and the Samaritan who stops to help someone in need. They include the hiker who carries out his own trash and the craftsman who works with a sense of enduring creation. Especially praiseworthy are the man who accepts responsibility for the children he has fathered, the father who wants the respect of his children more than worldly acclaim, and the mother who nurtures an infant as a sacred trust and not as a second-class chore."

He added that graduates should let their language reflect refinement. "Your manner of speech will then stand in stark contrast to the lazy language of our day, so liberally laced with casual slang and sleazy, filthy and profane expressions. Sloppy language portends sloppy ways."

He told the graduates that their investment of time at Ricks will bring joy to them if they live as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Acquire His qualities of civility and concern for others. Learn to reach out, to lift and encourage people. As you cultivate qualities of kindness, courtesy, and respect for others, your life's work will be more fulfilling than if you were to pursue goals strictly with an eye single to your own glory."

Elder Nelson added: "Enduring joy comes neither from amassing material wealth nor in doing reportable deeds. True joy comes from becoming all that you may become. Your potential for personal greatness will be enhanced as you come unto Christ and become one with Him."

During the final April commencement before Ricks College becomes known as Brigham Young University-Idaho, a proposed new academic building was named after Idaho pioneer Thomas E. Ricks. In paying tribute to the educator, President Bednar said: "It is most appropriate that this new academic building and beautiful garden area bear the name of Thomas E. Ricks as a lasting tribute to his valiant and pioneering educational efforts."

The educator lived from 1828 to 1901 and was the founder of the Latter-day Saint settlement in 1883 that was named Rexburg and the stake president when Bannock Stake Academy was founded in 1888. The academy eventually grew into Ricks College.

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