The magic of a university lies within its faculty, staff, students and administrators, not in the university president, outgoing BYU President Jeffrey R. Holland said Wednesday.
Responding to a tribute and numerous gifts presented in honor of the Brigham Young University president and his wife Patricia, he said, "It is not right that we be singled out for gifts and . . . such love."University presidents are a dime a dozen. The magic of this university is in this room. Everyone of you means everything in the world to us. Our love is surely here forever to stay."
Mrs. Holland said, "You have paid honor and respect to us when you really have used your physical strength to provide the music that the Hollands might perform to."
"Our respect is deep for the faculty members. You literally are the soul of the university."
Faculty, staff and administrators paid final tribute to the Hollands Wednesday in a special ceremony on campus. The University Singers also honored them in song.
Elder Holland, the ninth president of BYU, was recently called to serve as a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints - a full-time, lifetime call - and will be soon be replaced as the university's president.
Speaking to a tearful audience, Elder Holland said, "It is one thing to bury the dead, but it's another thing to bury the living and yet another to continue to bury the dead and have them exhume the body again and again. It's a little hard on the cadavers."
During the tribute, Alton Wade, the president of BYU-Hawaii, presented the Hollands with Hawaiian leis and a Hawaiian flower arrangement.
Eugene Bramhall, assistant to the president and general counsel, presented Elder Holland with a Mohonri Young bust of Brigham Young and Mrs. Holland with a photo album marking the Holland years from 1980 to 1989.
John Stohlton, executive vice president, gave the Hollands their favorite piece of furniture from the president's home, an antique chair. A painting of the east side of Mount Timpanogos was also presented.
Ronald Hyde, assistant to the president over university relations, unveiled the president's portrait to conclude the tribute. Elder Holland was portrayed by Knud Edsberg, a member of the LDS Church in Denmark and one of Northern Europe's most active and celebrated portraitists.
Jae R. Ballif, provost and academic vice president, said remarkable men and women gave their very lives to the dream of seeing Temple Hill filled with buildings and great temples of learning.
"I believe history will justify my belief that the Hollands led us to the fulfillment of the dream to become a university," he said. "President Holland leaves us a university. We have awakened and the dream has become a reality."
"It is not goodbye but God bless you, Pat and Jeff," Ballif said.