Student Address to Graduates
Devotional or Speech given at
Brigham Young University-Hawaii
April 18, 2015
Bishop and Sister Gary E. Stevenson, President and Sister Wheelwright, Vice President Max Checketts faculty, friends and family, and saving the best for last, graduates, Aloha!
There is something magical about graduation. Maybe because it is the actualization of four years of hard work, maybe it is because we are completely surrounded by our friends and mentors, or maybe it’s because, at least to me, it looks like we are all in wizards robes ready to go to Hogwarts. But in all seriousness, it is magical to be here with so many friendly and familiar faces. Congratulations! We did it.
President David O. McKay said, “The world needs men who cannot be bought or sold, men who will scorn to violate truth, genuine gold. That is what this school is going to produce. More than that, they’ll be leaders. Leaders! Not only on this island, but everywhere. All the world is hungering for them.”
The world is hungering for US! We are genuine gold. It fascinates me that President McKay describes us as men who cannot be bought or sold, but then compares us to gold – a perpetual symbol of money and commerce. I think President McKay said this because the value of things that are bought and sold is determined by men. Gold is inherently valuable by virtue of its natural characteristics. You are valuable.
We share other characteristics with gold. Gold is rarely ever found in nature in its pure state, nor is it generally found in large quantities. It must be mined in a vein, ground up, pulverized, filtered, and heated to intense levels to be purified. You are the vein and BYU–Hawaii is the refiner. We have been ground up, filtered, and at times, even put in a burning forge (I am referring to finals week, all eight of them), but when we come out, we are something much more precious.
While gold is valued as wealth, it is infinitely more valuable when refined because of its enhanced qualities. Refined gold does not corrode, it is the most malleable of all of the metals, it is highly conductive which makes it essential in electronic connections, and it is very unique in color.
Our refining here at BYU–Hawaii has made us unique, adaptable, and prepared to withstand the flowing currents of life that will come our way. We are gold, and we must be like gold. We must be incorruptible to the whims and values of the world, we must seek to develop connections and contacts; and we must be malleable by adapting to our surroundings but not be corroded by them. This is the true value of gold.
Do not be deceived by fool’s gold, which has the appearance of value, but lacks all of the qualities that accompany genuine gold. We need to make sure that we are not fool’s gold. Are we staying busy or just looking busy? Are we actively engaged or are we staring at our phones playing games pretending to work to avoid work? If we truly are gold we must DO or we are worthless. The appearance of doing is not enough. We need to use our qualities to be part of the solution. Our diplomas and the education we have received will open doors for us and make us look like gold. What we do once they are opened will prove whether we are genuine. Let us go and DO.
I would like to finish with a quote by Thomas Jefferson: “Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.”
I believe we are gold – now, 2015 BYU–Hawaii graduates, let's prove it.
Congratulations. It has been an honor to share my time here with all of you. May God be with you as we go our separate ways. Mahalo.