U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor urged Brigham Young University graduates Thursday to learn to deal with today's problems and make the best of even a difficult situation.
Also addressing graduates, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged them to follow worthy role models, citing the example of early church leader Brigham Young.O'Connor, who received an honorary doctorate degree of laws and public service, counseled graduates, "Give freely of yourself always to your family, to your community and to your country. The world will pay you back many fold.
"Freedom means many things to different people, but most importantly it means we have the right and the responsibility to discipline ourselves."
That discipline will turn life's challenges into meaningful lessons that may be turned into later successes, she said.
The justice spoke specifically to women, encouraging them to take on careers and traditional female roles.
"As students today your challenges will come not so much in breaking new paths . . . but in deciding which of the many paths now open to you to choose and in knowing how you should travel along those paths," she said.
"I speak from experience as a wife and a mother of three sons," she said. "As far as I am concerned, it's worth every bit of the extra effort I put into it to have a family as well as a career. There is plenty of time to enjoy both the world of work and of the family."
She also urged graduates - men and women - to remain open-minded and dedicated to progress.
"As large numbers of women enter the work force, and occupy positions in business and the professions, we may have to help make changes in how our families are run, how jobs are designed, and in our cultural and institutional attitudes towards women," she added.
Elder Wirthlin, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, urged the 2,428 graduates to look to Brigham Young as a "role model to guide you through the years that lie ahead, a role model that will help you move forward in a turbulent world."
Elder Wirthlin extolled President Young's virtues - courage, determination, vision and faith - and encouraged graduates to move ahead with his bold courage as they tackle life's challenges.
"I hope that you will also hold in your hearts a continuing commitment to live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness," he said.
BYU President Rex Lee urged graduates to continue combining secular and spiritual knowledge.
"For us, the mind and the soul are both tools for gaining understanding; for this purpose, they are not antagonistic, but synergistic," he said.