Do not neglect spiritual learning, graduates urged

REXBURG, Idaho — Ricks College awarded 632 degrees during summer commencement exercises June 2, bringing the total number of degrees awarded during the school year to a record 3,683.

The traditional summer commencement followed the first five-week summer term that ended June 1, and included students who are completing graduation requirements during one of the three summer terms.

LaMar Barrus, who will be retiring the end of August as a longtime music faculty member and manager of KRIC-FM radio, was the graduation speaker. The Sugar City, Idaho, native and Ricks alumnus joined the college music faculty in 1960 at age 25.

He told graduates that they live in a remarkable time in the world's history. "The tremendous advances in science and technology during my lifetime are without parallel in human history," he said. "It is widely acknowledged, however, that our technological advances have not been accompanied by a corresponding growth in spirituality."

He encouraged the graduates to overcome the spiritual challenges they will face as they continue their education and enter the workforce. "As you meet such environments, may I plead with you to remember this most important truth — that you are a child of God."

Brother Barrus added: "Do not limit the extent of your learning by believing that vocation and professional training is unimportant when compared with spiritual or inspirational matters. But at the same time, let me repeat, do not become so enamored with the learning of the world that you neglect the spiritual, for true joy in this life is realized only as we become one with our Heavenly Father, as our life reflects His will."

Ricks Pres. David A. Bednar told students that graduation is a day of "intersection" between the past and future of their lives. "I have learned that days of intersection frequently pit the certainty and comfort and success of the past against the ambiguity and fear of failure and excitement of the future. On such days many of us yearn to both linger in the past and press forward into the future.

He added: "As our sons have left our home for college and on missions, Sister Bednar and I have shared with them the following counsel: Remember that you represent the Savior, remember that you represent your family, remember that you represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And as you now are leaving Ricks College, let me add one more item to this list: Remember that you represent Ricks College."