CHURCH LEADERS ATTEND DEDICATION OF NEW BUILDING
President Gordon B. Hinckley visited BYU–Idaho on Oct. 22, 2002, to participate in the dedication of a new building named in his honor. Also in attendance were President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church, and Elder Henry B. Eyring, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and Commissioner of Education overseeing the Church Educational System.
BYU–Idaho President David A. Bednar says the building is a perfect tribute to President Hinckley, who will “have a legacy and impact on this campus that will last forever.”
The 54,000-square-foot building serves both ecclesiastical and academic purposes. Twelve congregations of students meet for their Sunday services in the new building, which includes a chapel, gymnasium, multipurpose area, two full kitchens and numerous classrooms.
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hank you very much, President Monson, for your very generous words. Thank you, all of you, for your attendance here today. I am grateful to be with you.
President Monson, Elder Eyring, President Bednar, all of you distinguished guests, faculty and students, what a great and singular honor you do me. When President Bednar proposed the naming of this building to the Board of Trustees where I serve as chairman, I was simply flummoxed. (See if you know what that word means.) I did not know what to say. I was taken by surprise. I was stunned. I simply said in the language peculiar to the lawyers, “I recuse myself.” I turned to President Monson, and said, “You run the meeting.”
Someone once asked Abraham Lincoln how it felt to be president. He replied, “Well now, it feels sort of like the fellow they run out of town on a rail. If it wasn’t for the honor of it, I’d just as soon walk!”
I feel I can honestly say that I had no desire for such an honor as you have accorded me. It had never crossed my mind. I did not seek it, but I am deeply grateful for your great kindness in extending it to me. The name of this building will be a constant reminder to me to live worthy of the trust that you have placed in me and a reminder to my posterity that someone honored their forebear and in so doing brought a sacred trust to those who carry his name.
President Monson and President Bednar have taken the time now. That is about enough for one day. But I am told that I am expected to say something. I will try to keep it brief and to the point.
I wish to speak to the students of this great institution. I have a granddaughter who is among them.
Something remarkable is happening on this campus. You may not be entirely aware of it. It was a very long time in coming. Many years ago its destiny was debated very hotly. Some wanted to make of this a four-year school and move it to Idaho Falls. They very strongly argued for their wish. But the Board of Trustees, after listening to everyone who had anything to say, concluded to leave Ricks in Rexburg and continue it as a two-year college. It has thus gone on until two years ago. The announcement that came in the year 2000 was bold and, I believe, prophetic. It came of a desire to offer to the good young people of this Church, in larger numbers, the great privilege of attending and graduating from a Church university. By moving from two years to four years, this could be accomplished.
It happened at the time that President Bednar was in office. There may be others, but I do not know of anyone else who could have overseen and brought about the miracle that has occurred on this campus. I assure you that it is a miracle.
I am deeply grateful that the Ricks family showed no resentment over the change of the name. It is a tribute to them and a recognition of their great faithfulness as Latter-day Saints. Well they might have wished that the school continue under the name of their worthy forebear, Thomas E. Ricks. But it was thought that recognition of the school might be further enhanced by carrying the BYU badge. I believe the wisdom of that has been shown.
A willingness to give up intercollegiate athletics is much appreciated. I remind you that it is not unique for a first-class university to get along without an intercollegiate athletic program. If you wish to regard this as a sacrifice, then take satisfaction from the fact that you are willing to make such a sacrifice. As a matter of fact, I attended the BYU football game last Saturday and almost came to the conclusion that they could get along without an intercollegiate athletic program.
To the faculty who were willing to make adjustments and have given up some treasured prerogatives in that process, I extend my sincere thanks. I hope, I pray, that you are finding greater happiness and increased excitement in the new status which has come to the school.
To the people of Rexburg, I believe you will benefit from this change and I hope that all will unite to assist in this process, realizing that in the presence of this university in this city you have an immense treasure and an institution worthy of your support in all it undertakes to do.
To President Bednar, my sincere thanks again for your herculean efforts; and to Sister Bednar, who has worked with you in this remarkable undertaking, I express deep gratitude.
To the Board of Trustees who embraced the suggestion that we make the effort to go forward with this transition and who have wholeheartedly done everything possible to assist, I express my thanks.
And finally, to the faithful tithe payers throughout the world whose consecrations have made this possible, I express my most sincere appreciation.
Brigham Young University Provo has become a truly great institution (in everything but football), now recognized across the nation for the quality of the education it provides, for the strength of its faculty, and for its unique and large student body. It is a credit to the Church and will continue to be so.
BYU–Hawaii is doing a wonderful work and is accomplishing great things as it goes forward in training thousands of students on its beautiful campus.
And now, BYU–Idaho has become the third institution of growing strength under this unique BYU trilogy of great institutions of learning.
The Church has spent many millions in rebuilding the campus. It has spent these sacred funds to bless the lives of you students who come here. I hope you are grateful. I recognize that it is still costly to attend this university, but it is far less costly than it would be almost anywhere else.
I see a great future for this institution. It will go forward under inspired leadership. It will grow in strength under a dedicated and able faculty. It will be increasingly recognized as its graduates move out across the world and fill positions of responsibility.
How do I know this?
I know this because this is an institution of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its mission is well defined. That mission is to impart secular knowledge in a first-class manner while building faith in the Eternal God and His Risen Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
This Church will never fail. Jesus Christ stands at its head. And just as it will never fail, neither will its institutions and programs.
This university will succeed in a wonderful manner. It will take its place among the great learning facilities of our nation as we who have some attachment to it walk and work in faith. That I believe with all my heart and pray that that day will come, as it surely will.
Now, I think we have time and I think I would just like to put away what I have prepared and say a few words further extemporaneously on this occasion to the student body.
First, I want to tell you that I love you. I love you kids, you wonderful young people of this Church. I love you. I believe you are the best generation this Church has ever had. No generation which has gone before measures up to the stature to which you measure up. You are better educated. I think you have greater faith—I think you have shown that faith and are showing that faith–than any other previous generation. I am so thankful for you. I thank you for your strength; for your willingness to do the right thing; for your desire to serve the Lord; for your capacity to help build the kingdom; for the fact that you get on your knees and say your prayers, as I know you do; for the fact that you pray to the Lord to help you, to guide you in the things you do, as I know you do.
God bless you for what you are and who you are.
Now, don’t ever do a cheap or a tawdry or a mean or an evil thing, my dear young friends. You don’t have to engage in these things. The world is on a slippery slide; it is going downhill and it is going fast. And you are as a beacon on a hill—young people of rectitude and virtue and decency and goodness. Remain that way. Do not destroy your effectiveness. Do not become involved in any kind of behavior which would destroy you, injure you, hurt you, debilitate you in any way whatever. You don’t have to do those things. You can stand above them. You must stand above them! The world will look to you as the years pass, of that I have no doubt whatever. For if it continues to go in the direction in which it is going, the disparity between the world and this Church will grow and lengthen and we will become more and more of a peculiar people.
Now, be faithful, be true, go forward, be ambitious. Don’t short-circuit yourself. Don’t stop now. Keep growing. Keep going. Educate your minds and your spirits and never lose sight of the fact that you are a child of God with a divine destiny and capability of doing great and good and wonderful things. Don’t sell yourselves short. Don’t cheapen yourselves. You know who you are. Each of you knows that you are a child of God and that your Heavenly Father expects something great and noble and good of you.
The Lord bless you, my dear young friends. As I look into your faces, I see the future. Keep the faith. You will marry. You will have children. You will have grandchildren. You will go out and do the work of this world, but maintain your integrity. Be honest. Be good. Be decent. Be prayerful and the God of heaven will smile upon you and bless you, and give happiness in your hearts and a sense of peace in your lives.
I wish for you nothing but the best. You are so choice and so wonderful and the future is so great that you can’t afford to betray yourselves in any way or to do anything less than that which each of you is capable of accomplishing. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to be a straight-A student. You just have to do your very best with all the capability you have. You have to do your very best. And somehow, if you do that, God will open the way before you and the sun will shine, and your lives will be fruitful and you will accomplish great good in the world in which you take a part. I couldn’t wish for you anything better as I look into your faces this day.
May heaven smile upon you. May you be blessed. May you be happy. May you have joy in your lives. May your tears be few and your smiles many as you go forward with your lives is my humble prayer as I stand before you and express unto you my love for you and my confidence in you and my hope for you and my prayer for you. You are the very fiber of this Church and this Church will grow as its young people—the young people of this generation—magnify their callings and go forward and serve the Lord and live in loyalty toward Him. God bless you.
There is no end in sight for the good you can do. Do you know it? You are just simple kids. You are not geniuses. I know that. But the work of the world isn’t done by geniuses. It is done by ordinary people who have learned to work in an extraordinary way—people of your kind who can do these things.
I repeat. Don’t sell yourselves short. You look in the mirror every morning—when you boys get up to scrape off the fuzz, and the girls get up to put on the paint—you look into the mirror and say “I can do the right thing today, God being my helper. And I will do it.”
Heaven bless you is my humble prayer for you.
To this good faculty who are here, I would like to say a word to you. Help these young people. I know you do. But reach a little lower to lift them a little higher. Be kind and generous and helpful and patient and encouraging. Do all that you can to stand before them as examples, teaching them the things, the disciplines that you are called upon to teach. But while doing so, stand before them as examples of faith and faithfulness and rectitude and goodness, I humbly pray.
God bless this great institution. May heaven smile upon it and all who come here and use it. May its name be spread for good across the earth as good men and women, educated here and going forth to serve, stand with honesty and integrity before the world as men and women of faith and accomplishment and goodness and integrity, is my humble prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
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