A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a distinguished international economist will receive honorary doctoral degrees during Brigham Young University's commencement exercises Thursday and Friday, Aug. 13 and 14.
Elder David B. Haight will be honored with a doctorate of Christian service, and Muhammad Yunus will be awarded a doctorate of humane letters during the Thursday exercises at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. They will address the graduates and their guests.In addition, prominent Utah theater entrepreneurs Nathan and Ruth Hale and Coptic expert and philanthropist Lola Atiya will receive presidential citations at the exercises, which will be under the direction of Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
President James E. Faust of the First Presidency of the LDS Church will preside over the exercises and will give the closing remarks.
Thursday's exercises will begin at 3:15 p.m. in the Abraham Smoot Building parking lot with the traditional academic processional to the Marriott Center. Members of the campus community who are not involved in the exercises will be released at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
On Friday, individual college convocations will begin at 8 a.m. with the David O. McKay School of Education in the Smith Fieldhouse, fine arts and communications in the de Jong Concert Hall, the Marriott School of Management in the Marriott Center and physical and mathematical sciences in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom.
At 10:30 a.m., convocations will include biology and agriculture in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom, engineering and technology in the Smith Fieldhouse, humanities in the Marriott Center and nursing in the Joseph Smith Auditorium.
Convocations at 1 p.m. will be family, home and social sciences in the Marriott Center and health and human performance in the Smith Fieldhouse.
Also on Friday will be the president's reception for graduates and their parents featuring President Merrill J. Bateman and his wife, Marilyn, in the Museum of Art from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Elder Haight was called to the Twelve in 1986 after serving for more than six years as an assistant to the Twelve. A well-known business and civic leader in California before his calling to full-time church service, Elder Haight was mayor of Palo Alto, Calif., from 1959 to 1963.
He was also president of the Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce, director of the Stanford area Boy Scouts of America and a member of the board of directors of the Red Cross. A commander in the Navy during World War II, he received a special citation from Adm. Chester W. Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Yunus is founder of the Grameem Movement, whose bank operates more than 1,000 branches in 36,000 rural Bangladesh villages, offering credit to 2 million of the world's poorest people. The bank's patrons are 94 percent women who have an unparalleled repayment rate of 98 percent. His other innovations to benefit the rural poor include founding the Rural Economics Program at Bangladesh's Chittagong University in 1972 and his highly successful form of village government based on participation by rural peoples that was adopted by the Bangladesh government in 1980.
A former Fulbright scholar, Yunus received his Ph.D. in 1965 and was a professor of economics at Middle Tennessee State University before joining the economics department at Chittagong University in 1969.
Shortly after their marriage in 1933, Nathan and Ruth Hale were asked to produce an LDS ward play. Finding that royalties for most plays outstripped the ward's budget, the Hales determined to write their own script, a decision that turned into a lifetime of writing and producing more than 80 original plays and musicals. Their Glendale, Calif., theater is now in its 51st year, the longest continuing live theater in California, and their Utah-based Hale Center Theatres opened when the Hales decided to "retire," have entertained hundreds of thousands of Utah theatre patrons since the early 1980s.
Although Nathan died in 1993, Ruth continues to actively produce, direct, act and write.
Lola Atiya has made significant contributions to early Christian scholarship, most visibly through her work on the eight-volume Coptic Encyclopedia, a milestone in early Christian studies. Since the passing of her husband almost 10 years ago, she has also completed an annotated index in Arabic and English to a 12-volume, 10th-century manuscript, "History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Orthodox Church." The Atiyas have been enduring friends of BYU and have donated important Muslim and Christian manuscripts to the Lee Library, including the earliest known copy of the Nicene Creed.