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Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Students from LDS Business College participate in commencement exercises at Temple Square.

Not many business schools have commencement ceremonies in a church building, but as speakers said Thursday, a hallmark of LDS Business College is a unique blend of academics and faith.

The school's 121st commencement at Assembly Hall on Temple Square featured 295 students receiving a total of 461 two-year degrees and certificates. Nearly all of the college's 1,367 students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the institution.

"You may have asked yourself the purpose of introducing gospel topics into academic subjects, but if you were wise ... and went about expanding your foundation, you fortified your walls, even when you didn't understand, and when the rains of adversity come — and they always will come — you will find that you have built thick, durable walls on a true foundation, and your house will not fall," college President Stephen K. Woodhouse told the graduates.

Woodhouse noted that many institutions offer a great education, "but our goal has been to give you learning to fill your soul with light and truth."

Student Cynthia Alvaradejo described the college as "a place where we have been touched by excellence in learning not only in accounting, but spiritual learning as well."

Alvaradejo said some graduates will continue their education at a university, while others have learned valuable skills to attain a better job. "Whatever the reason is, we were here, and we learned how to fly higher, at faster speeds and even in the dark," she said. "No matter what the experience, what the story is, yours or mine, we are better people because we came here."

Student Cynthia Broadhead said the college "combined our temporal learning with spiritual background," resulting in a formula that "creates a strength unlike any other education."

The college's instructors helped the students learn, grow and prepare for life after college, and its "family-like atmosphere has helped us thrive in our schooling and the knowledge it has given us will help us flourish in our lives," she said.

Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged the graduates to develop their character.

"Good character is something you have to develop for yourself," he said. "It cannot be a gift from your parents. You cannot create it by having unfair advantage. It isn't a gift of birth, wealth, talent or station. It is the result of your own endeavor. It is the reward that comes from living good principles and manifesting a virtuous and honorable life."

Thursday's ceremonies also included Allen J. Muhlestein, retired president of Bear River Mutual Insurance and director of Utah operations for Germantown Mutual. He received the college's 2008 Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Several of this year's graduates began their education at the college when it was still housed at the Mansion Campus at 400 E. South Temple. They completed their schooling at the new Triad Campus at North Temple and 300 West.

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