With her 9-month-old baby in one arm and her new diploma in the other, Rosa Baker walked proudly across the stage of the Salt Lake Tabernacle, smiling as Elders Dale G. Renlund and Kim B. Clark waited to shake her hand.
As one of 335 graduates honored at LDS Business College’s graduation ceremony held on Temple Square on April 13, Baker stood out as she walked across the stage with her baby in her arms. But the small gesture was symbolic of the family and faith-centered community that the Church’s 131-year-old college provides for its students.
With students from more than 35 countries, LDSBC offers a uniquely gospel-centered learning environment. And as LDSBC President Bruce C. Kusch said in his address to the graduates, LDSBC is “a global community of saints, learning from and lifting one another.”
Speaking of why he loved his time at LDSBC, Ricard Sanz from Brazil said, “The environment is totally different than another regular school. You can combine the Spirit from God and the knowledge, the secular knowledge. This combination was good for me.”
And to help offer their diverse student body access to more learning opportunities, President Kusch announced during the ceremony that the Board of Trustees of the Church Educational System has given approval for all LDSBC associate degree graduates to receive direct acceptance into the BYU-Idaho online program.
“We are excited for this wonderful blessing and opportunity for our graduates to continue their education from any location,” President Kusch said.
Elder Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who offered the keynote address, and Elder Clark, a General Authority Seventy and commissioner of the Church Educational System, who also spoke, encouraged graduates to seek the guidance and companionship of the Holy Ghost and to trust in the Lord and serve one another.
“Gaining an education, skill or trade is a wonderful way to prepare for your future,” Elder Renlund said. But even more important, he added, is the need to remain loyal to Jesus Christ and to be receptive to the Holy Ghost.
“I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation,” Elder Renlund said. Quoting President Russell M. Nelson, Elder Renlund then promised students that by doing so, they would be provided with the “knowledge and understanding [they] seek.”
Giving the graduates four points to focus on for their futures, Elder Renlund said, “First, be loyal to Christ and what you know to be true. … Second, be receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. … Third, magnify your God-given talents. … Fourth, serve and bless God’s children.”
By following these steps, Elder Renlund said the graduates would be “prepared for whatever you face in this life.”
Reflecting on the words of Elder Renlund, Baker said the ceremony reminded her of how much she has been able to “rely on the Holy Ghost to seek for inspiration.”
Originally from Guatemala, Baker said she was blessed with the opportunity to study at LDSBC thanks to the kindness and support of family and friends who sponsored her financially and helped with balancing her time as a student, wife, mother and employee.
“Sometimes the Lord’s plan for stretching us is hard,” Elder Clark said during his address. But as Baker has proved to herself, that stretching process is worth it.
Now, having completed three degrees and one certificate in her time at LDSBC, Baker explained that her challenges have also served as blessings that have stretched her and have helped her to grow.
Like most international students, Baker faced challenges due to language and cultural barriers, but she said that with hard work and a reliance on the Spirit to help her work even harder, she knew she could get through it.
“It was completely worth it, I think, looking back,” she said. And she hopes her example will serve her son in the future when he too faces challenges.
“If he ever finds it difficult to finish school or whatever difficulty he may have, he can look back and know that he can do it,” she said. “I did it, so he can too.”
Explaining why she decided to carry her baby with her for the graduation procession, Baker said, “[He] was a big part of my education. He motivated me to finish it and do excellent.”
With plans to continue her studies at Utah Valley University next year, Baker, like many of the recent graduates from LDSBC, has taken seriously the charge of apostles of the Church to seek out education and continue in the paths of learning provided.
The LDS Church News is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The publication's content supports the doctrines, principles and practices of the Church.