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I first connected with President Kevin J Worthen when he was my state and local government professor at the BYU Law School almost thirty years ago. While I was a student, another one of my law professors, Jim Gordon, invited me to be in the bishopric of a student ward a few months after Joy and I had married. How I love him and look forward to hearing from him today, like all of us do.
While it was slightly intimidating spending the Sabbath with one of my law school professors, that connection during those two years created incredible mentoring that changed my life. My most recent BYU connection was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago arranged through the BYU Student Alumni’s BYU Connect.
Gaining an education is hard work, but providing that opportunity also is hard work. The conversation went something like this: Me: “Hi, what’s up? Now this was a very impressive group of people that included university presidents, prominent business leaders, and political figures.
For nine wonderful years I had the pleasant opportunity to say to students and their families that such a thrilling day of academic triumph was more than worth the difficult days it took to get here—on everyone’s part. Some years ago, one of our children was graduating with a bachelor’s degree. It seemed that each participant felt a need to outdo the last in eloquence and in gravitas.
Sister Holland and I come to you newly returned from one of the most remarkable experiences of our lives. And may I say thank you for including your parents.
Can you imagine circling the globe on a worldwide ministering assignment with the Lord’s prophet and his wonderful wife? In those oft-quoted words of Oliver Cowdery, these past two weeks with President and Sister Nelson were truly “days never to be forgotten.”1 This is not the time nor the place to regale you with stories of our experience, but I bear witness to you that President Russell M. Gratefully, we witnessed commencement at his graduate school, and he now knows it is a big deal.
Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered.2 Yet sometimes we live in the past like Napoleon Dynamite’s Uncle Rico, who obsessed that he could be “soakin’ it up in a hot tub with [his] soul mate” if only the coach would have put him in fourth quarter.3 Yes, you probably could have won that intramural T-shirt if not for that one ref who had it out for you. I am sure our experience is not foreign to this audience.
Or you may have been the next Albert Einstein if not for that one failed math test freshman year. It is easy to say that I will be happy once I graduate or once I get accepted to grad school or once I get this job or once I have a house, but having that worldview can keep us from enjoying our current situation.
I may or may not be speaking from personal experiences. Remember, the present is the time when we have freedom and actuality.
On behalf of all of you and our governing board, I thank President Kevin J Worthen, his associates in the administration, those on this marvelous faculty, and all of the efficient staff at this university. You will value your graduation picture of you striding across the stage with your diploma in hand for the rest of your life. Story One: Humor and Humility While I was governor of Utah, I attended a dinner at a mountain resort.
I am grateful for the effort they have all put into making this day what it is for 6,300 graduates and degree recipients. Look, I will pay the .” Sometime later I was standing on the curb at the Los Angeles International Airport, and I received a call from my son. The host asked each of the guests to introduce themselves but then added, “As you do, please tell us an important lesson that you learned during the last year.” One at a time, each person spoke.