SALT LAKE CITY — LDS Business College graduates from all fifty states and 67 countries and their supporters filled the Tabernacle on Temple Square on Friday afternoon to participate in the college's 125th commencement exercises. This year's graduating class includes students earning 344 two-year degrees and 146 certificates.
Each year, the college recognizes a former LDS Business College student with the college's highest honor — the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
During the historic 125th graduation, Patricia T. Holland, wife of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, who is an apostle for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The honor is given to those who have an outstanding record of making contributions to family, the Church and their communities.
"Sister Holland, you represent all that is good in our graduates," said J. Lawrence Richards, president of LDS Business College. "And we are proud to have you associated with the college."
Sister Holland, who attended the college in 1961 and studied what would today be the executive assistants degree. She also studied at Dixie College in Southern Utah, and spent a year at The Juilliard School in New York.
"I love this school," Sister Holland said after receiving the award. "It has now grown to such new heights, both academically and spiritually since I attended here. My time here was a time of gaining confidence, skills and talents, and most important it was a time of increasing my faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ."
It is through education, Sister Holland believes, that individuals are able to become leaders.
"I believe with all my heart that people's leadership skills are improved with education," Sister Holland said. "Education does more than just teach skills and abilities. It gives people confidence to become leaders. The more education a person has, the greater their leadership skills are, and the deeper their religiosity becomes."
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke during the commencement and told graduates of the satisfaction that comes through giving service.
"In addition to true fulfillment and happiness, a devotion to service will give balance to your life," Elder Christofferson said. "If there is ever present in your soul a desire to be of service, it will keep other virtuous motivations from becoming vices, as sometimes happens." Elder Christofferson shared the example of individuals having a desire to make a comfortable living for themselves and their family and how that can evolve over time into greed that can, if unchecked, manifest itself in unethical, even criminal conduct.
"Motivation toward self-improvement or self-fulfillment if taken to the extreme can morph into selfishness and narcissism," he said. "Service will be your antidote against selfishness and the sense of entitlement that more and more afflict societies around the world. The desire to serve people will act as a governor over other motivations keeping those that are good in their proper channel and eliminating those that are unworthy. Your service will bless others, but it will also protect you. ...
"Remember that even when it involves sacrifice or menial tasks that some would see as drudgery, service is not servility. All service, great or small is ennobling and worthwhile."