SALT LAKE CITY — BYU's honor code had long interested Rahul Karad, but when he finally got to visit the campus this week, he wanted to know whether it was for real.
So Karad, executive president of MIT World Peace University in India, spontaneously stopped separate, random groups of students during his visit and quizzed them whether they follow the honor code.
"You can discover the real pulse of an institution by its students," he said.
Karad, whose school last year bestowed its World Peace Prize on Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns and operates BYU, said Wednesday that the university's students impressed him.
The students told Karad they follow the honor code. When he asked why, one said, "Because of the covenants I've made." Separately, another said, "I have made a commitment to God."
Karad also said he was impressed to see thousands of students attend Tuesday's campus devotional and see some running across campus to see BYU President Kevin Worthen and his wife Peggy speak.
"At this age, to have that enlightenment is remarkable," he said. "I understand that it is family values that instill this. You can't just summon it from nothing at age 18."
Karad learned about BYU's honor code from his father, Vishwanath Karad, who previously visited Utah and BYU. The elder Karad is founder and head of MIT World Peace University, which now has 40,000 students and a primary and secondary school system with another 22,000 students.
The Karads and Latter-day Saints leaders are interested in continued partnerships, especially surrounding education.
On Oct. 2, the Karads will dedicate the World Peace Dome near their university in the city of Pune in central India. Elder Don R. Clarke, an emeritus General Authority Seventy, will travel to Pune for the event and deliver a major speech on Latter-day Saint scripture related to education during the university's World Parliament of Science, Religion and Philosophy.
Elder Christofferson was the ninth person to receive the World Peace Prize. No prize will be awarded this year because of the dome dedication, Karad said, but the university plans to bestow another honor in 2019.
"It was a great honor when the honorable Elder Christofferson came to our university and accepted the World Peace Prize," Karad said.
Karad visited Utah with his wife, Aditi Karad, the executive director of MIT's Vishwaraj Hospital. They spent Tuesday morning at BYU and met with Worthen, then toured the church's humanitarian sites in Salt Lake City in the afternoon.
On Wednesday morning, they met with administrators at Salt Lake Community College and lunched with Elder Kent F. Richards, an emeritus General Authority Seventy and director of church hosting, and his wife, Marsha, who explained the temple covenants the BYU students referred to when Karad asked them about the honor code.
In the afternoon, the Karads met with Elder Christofferson, Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve, who supervises the church's Southeast Asia Area and Elder Robert C. Gay of the Presidency of the Seventy. They also visited with Clark Gilbert, president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
The World Peace Dome will be the largest dome in the world by diameter, Karad said, surpassing Rome's St. Peter's Basilica, which remains the world's tallest. The Pantheon in Rome has been the world's largest dome by diameter.9 comments on this story
The dome is 160 feet in diameter and 263 feet tall. It includes 54 statues of world religious leaders, philosophers and scientists, from Jesus Christ to Mahatma Gandhi and Galileo to Socrates.
"It is the world's biggest structure to unify the world and create harmony," Karad said. "It is a union of religious founders and others who laid the foundation for world society."
Karad expects the dome which can hold 3,200 people at a time, will draw 2,000 visitors a day.
The dome will house a library and prayer hall named for the Philosopher Saint Shri Dnyaneshwara, whose name is also part of the World Peace Prize.