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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Students make their walk to the the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square for LDS Business College commencement exercises Friday, April 11, 2014, in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — Life is what you make it.

This was the message to LDS Business College graduates Friday from Elder S. Gifford Nielsen during commencement exercises. He is a member of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a former BYU and NFL quarterback.

“You can write your own story and choose the kind of person you want to be. Your attitude about every circumstance that confronts you in life will determine just who and what you become. Your life will be exactly what you make it,” Elder Nielsen said.

Sunlight poured in through the windows at the Tabernacle on Temple Square as speakers, including LDS Business College President J. Lawrence Richards and Distinguished Alumnus recipient Randall S. Burgoyne followed a theme of using education as a way to be a light for others. Elder Nielsen gave graduates advice on how to do this.

First, he told them to trust Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, and invite them in every day. Next, he told graduates to follow “the Lord’s chosen leaders,” meaning the prophets and apostles for the LDS Church. He then encouraged graduates to pay a full tithe, which for Latter-day Saints is 10 percent of their annual income. Finally, he told graduates to keep the Sabbath day holy by using it as a day to worship God.

“No two people are alike, and regardless of our circumstances, each of us has a divine mission to fulfill. I learned during my frightening first game with the Pittsburgh Steelers that I had to face my fears. I made it through that game with only a few bumps and bruises. ... I discovered that I am stronger and braver than I realized,” he said.

The LDS Business College awarded 260 two-year degrees and 50 certificates to 448 students from across the United States and almost 60 countries.

The college aims to give students skills-based education in an LDS setting, by offering two-year programs and one-year certificates.

Well-known alumni include former LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, Elder Russell M. Nelson of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and Patricia Holland, wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland.

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