A chapter of life is complete once a formal education ends, but the game of life is just beginning for Brigham Young University graduates, Elder Marvin J. Ashton told those receiving degrees during BYU's 114th annual commencement Friday.
During his commencement address, Elder Ashton, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, encouraged graduates to focus on the future, plan for the future, plan to succeed and be proud of who they are.The commencement was the last under the direction of BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland. He was recently called to be a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church.
"I thank the men who preside over this church and school who have given me the privilege of serving here, and with whom I now have the honor of serving in a humbling, remarkable work, indeed a marvelous work and a wonder," Elder Holland said.
"With the abiding religious faith and resolute academic devotion of such a legendary figure (Karl G. Maeser) called to your memory, I salute them with you and ask you to remember their visions and dreams for BYU always. We pass those dreams on to you and in doing so, step aside, expressing love for you and testifying of Him who makes all our joy possible, even the sacred name of Jesus Christ." President Gordon B. Hinckley, first counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, conducted the ceremonies. More than 2,800 students received undergraduate and graduate degrees at the commencement exercises in the Marriott Center.
Presidential Citations were also awarded to Lynn S. and Lucille Covey Richards, a Salt Lake City couple noted for their lives of service, and B.Z. (Bud) Kastler, former president and chairman of Mountain Fuel Supply Co.
The citations were established in 1983 to honor outstanding individuals and groups for their civic, professional and religious accomplishments.
Elder Ashton received an honorary doctorate of humanities as well for his life commitment to youth and Scouting.
"Go forth and use what you have to make your future exciting and successful," Elder Ashton told graduates.
"In these past years you have stretched your mind and found that it doesn't break. It can serve you well. As long as there is life, education in one form or another never ceases."
As life unfolds no one should get so busy that he or she forgets to study the scriptures and the words of the prophets, Elder Ashton said. "As specific needs come into our lives, formerly unseen wisdom is there to give us added knowledge."
To reach the highest level of competency, it is necessary to learn to govern tempers and passions, he said. "Strive for the peace of mind that comes from being in charge of yourself.
"The development of character through self-mastery is part of the game plan of life's winners. Have self-respect, self-pride, self-discipline."
A positive attitude is also mandatory for great accomplishments in life, Elder Ashton said. "Most of us see what we are looking for. Stride into the future with determination and confidence."
Brigitte Condie Madrian, student commencement speaker, said, "One goal of an education is to help us bridge this gap between the world that we observe and the world that actually exists.
"To bridge this gap, we must first question those perceptions that initially seem apparent and that blind us, in a sense, to a larger vision of our world and of our own possibilities."
With the questions come seeds of greatness within us. And with the answers, we will come to see a world that has not yet been conceived, she said.