Members of one of Brigham Young University's largest graduating classes received degrees and three challenges in commencement exercises at the Marriott Center Thursday.
"I do not hesitate to say that if you pursue only your dream of recognition and monetary reward, and give no attention to these other items I will mention, you will not be successful in your living," President Gordon B. Hinckley told the graduates.President Hinckley, prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, counseled each graduate to keep the faith, plan for and nurture a good marriage and a solid home and continue to pursue knowledge.
"You are living proof of the fact that things of the spirit can be taught and received in a great university where matters secular and temporal are also taught," he said. "All of this from a highly qualified faculty of men and women who have come out of the great educational institutions of the nation, who have taught with skill and expertise in their chosen fields, while at the same time they have lived lives in harmony with divine principles and have imparted of their faith to you, their students. Yours has been a most precious opportunity available to only a relative few among the great numbers who desire to be here as students."
President Hinckley also praised his wife, Marjorie, with whom he will celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary on Saturday.
"I think of how empty my life would have been without her," President Hinckley said. "I think we have experienced the problems that most people experience. But somehow, with the blessing of the Lord, we have made it to this station along the road of immortality and eternal life. It has been a wonderful journey."
Robert W. Fogel, the Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University and 1993 Nobel Prizerecipient, delivered the commencement address to the class of 3,708. Including December graduates, for whom no commencement exercise is held, 5,342 students received degrees.
Fogel, who also received an honorary doctorate from BYU, told the graduates that they are part of the Fourth Great Awakening, a period of religious revival.
"The new religious revival is fueled by a revulsion with the corruptions of contemporary society. It is a rebellion against preoccupation with material acquisition and sexual debauchery," Fogel said. "The leaders of the revival are attempting to win their hearers to piety and to an ethic that extols individual responsibility, hard work, a simple life and dedication to the family."
Fogel also said that the Fourth Great Awakening has led to the recent political swing to the right and that governmental policies are likely to be affected by the new coalition of religious U.S. citizens.
"We have still not solved the national cultural crisis that precipitated the Social Gospel move- ment," he said. "As a consequence, not only members of enthusiastic churches but many in the mainline churches have become convinced that cultural reform must be pursued primarily at this individual level, with an empathy and warmth better achieved by churches and organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous rather than government bureaucracies."
Like Fogel, Daniel H. Ludlow also received an honorary doctorate. Ludlow is the former dean of BYU's religious education program and editor of The Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
BYU President Rex Lee, too, had three suggestions for the new graduates - to consider careers in governmental service, to be truly informed U.S. citizens and to pay their income taxes.
"Citizen participation is the fuel that keeps the fires of government burning," said Lee, who told those in attendance that he has served the government on three different occasions. "I hope many of you will consider full-time governmental employment and consider it not beneath your dignity."
Referring to the recent Oklahoma City bombing, Lee said being a responsible citizen does not include "a generalized vigilante mind set.
"Our job is to be truly informed and then to express our views."
Lee also awarded Presidential Citation awards to Delbert Valentine Groberg and Jennie Holbrook Groberg for their civic, professional and religious accomplishments. The Grobergs financed the BYU Brimhall Gallery and have been active in church groups, as well as being business leaders in Idaho for more than 50 years.
BYU and church officials created the Presidential Citations in 1983 to honor outstanding individuals and groups.