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Enough Rexburg in Us

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"Enough Rexburg in Us"

April 7, 2022

Elder Clark G. Gilbert

Dear graduates, what a thrill for Christine and me to be back with you in this sacred setting. We traveled here today with five of our daughters who were all with us as I served as the president of BYU–Idaho. When we travel back to Rexburg, they almost always squeal with enthusiasm the way other children do when their parents tell them they are going to Disneyland. We love BYU–Idaho with our whole hearts.

Part of our love for this place is a love for the faculty and staff who serve here. We admire all they invest to make this such a special place. When President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the creation of BYU–Idaho in 2000, he knew he could say what he did about the future of this institution because he knew the type of faculty who would come to work here. In that announcement, he said: “BYU–Idaho will continue to be teaching oriented. Effective teaching and advising will be the primary responsibilities of its faculty, who are committed to academic excellence.”[1] I am grateful for a faculty and staff who unambiguously and unapologetically make their whole professional focus the students at this university.

Part of our love for this place is the students themselves. We cherish BYU–Idaho students and tonight especially honor those of you who are graduating. President Henry B. Eyring saw what the Lord would help you to become because of the experiences He knew you would have here. Shortly after the creation of BYU–Idaho, President Eyring said the following: “Those graduates of BYU–Idaho will become—and this is a prophecy that I am prepared to make and make solemnly—those graduates of BYU–Idaho will become legendary for their capacity to build the people around them and to add value wherever they serve.”[2] I have seen this prophesy fulfilled countless times and tonight you will commence on a journey where you can see this fulfilled in your own lives. As graduates of BYU–Idaho, you have been prepared to lift and build others in your future homes, the Church, and your communities. Those experiences won’t always come as formal leadership roles, but from the personal opportunities you will have in your lives to quietly teach, mentor, and build others around you.

So, yes, we love the employees and the students of this place. But perhaps the deepest reason for our love of BYU–Idaho is what happened to us while we were here. And I hope that is true for each of you. Alma reflected similarly on his love for the waters of Mormon. And while various artists depict this scene with landscapes of lush and natural beauty, Alma’s feelings for the place were tender and beautiful because of what happened to him and others in that setting: “How beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer.”[3] That’s why this place is so special to me and my family. It was here that we came to a knowledge of our Redeemer. It was here that we started to become who He needed us to become.

Christine and I have had to say goodbye to this special place twice. I once told the faculty and staff that I wished each of them could feel what it was like to leave BYU–Idaho so that they could fully appreciate how unique and spiritually preserved this place really is. Each time we said to ourselves, “I hope there is enough Rexburg in us.” Tonight, you will leave this place too. And I hope you look back on it the way the Gilbert family does. Maybe you won’t squeal the same way our children do, but when you come back, I hope you will look at this temple and this college on the hill[4] and remember what happened to you here. I pray you will also say to yourself, “I hope there is enough Rexburg in me.”

We love you. We are excited for the great things the Lord has in store for you. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

[1] Gordon B. Hinckley, “Announcement: Ricks College to Become BYU–Idaho,” BYUI devotional, Jun. 21, 2000.

[2] Henry B. Eyring, “A Steady Upward Course,” BYUI devotional, Sep. 18, 2001.

[3] Mosiah 18:30.

[4] See Henry B. Eyring, “The Temple and the College on the Hill,” BYUI devotional, Jun. 9, 2009.