Joining Brigham Young University's April 2009 graduating class in receiving a degree of his own, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, counseled the 6,192 graduates to use their time wisely, to continue to learn and to always seek the spirit of the Lord.During Thursday's commencement at the Marriott Center, President Uchtdorf, who is second vice-chair of BYU's Board of Trustees, received an honorary doctorate degree of international leadership.Also attending were numerous church leaders and BYU trustees, including Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve and Sister Julie B. Beck, general president of the Relief Society.President Uchtdorf highlighted setting and achieving of goals in wisely using time."In reality, time is perhaps the only commodity of life that is divided equally among every person in the world," he said. "Think about it — we all have 24 hours in a day.Though some people have more demands on their time than others, we all have an equal opportunity to use those 24 hours wisely."Besides the encouragement for as much schooling as possible, he emphasized the importance of spiritual learning and trusting in God and his promises."Because he is our father, he has an intense interest in our education. He knows what we need to learn to fulfill our mission in life. Let us always be his students. Let us always open his textbooks. Let us sit at his feet and learn from him," he said, adding that God will teach in a way each can understand. "Let us always seek further light and knowledge from him, the only real source of truth and light."President Uchtdorf also underscored the importance of a point of eternal consistency and reliability."Do nothing without the Spirit of God," he said. "The presence of the Spirit of God will bring focus, certainty and confidence in your life."Elder Nelson, who chairs the BYU Board's executive committee, told graduates to prepare for their "final graduation day" at mortality's end by trusting in God, understanding that man's learning has limitations and that a chosen occupation is merely a means to an end."The end for which you should strive is to be the person that you can become — the person that God wants you to be," he said."Much more important than what you have done for a living is what kind of person you have become. On your final graduation day ... what you have become will matter most."Acknowledging one purpose of education is to learn to avoid mistakes, BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, a member of the Quorums of Seventy, said individuals can learn significant lessons from mistakes.But a truly educated person never repeats the same mistake and avoids foolish mistakes without ever personally experiencing them."We do not need to make most mistakes ourselves to learn critical lessons of life. If we, like Mormon, are 'quick to observe,' we will be able to steer our way clear of major errors and poor judgments."Also speaking Thursday were Dee Allsop, BYU Alumni Association president, and graduate Joseph R. Nance. College convocations continue through Friday.
Pres. Uchtdorf receives honorary doctorate from BYU