Friday, April 28, 2017

BYU Graduation 2017

The main purpose of our trip to Utah was to celebrate Steven's graduation from BYU.

He graduated summa cum laude (kept a 4.0 gpa all eight semesters!) in Electrical Engineering, and is off to the University of Michigan for grad school this summer. As you can imagine, to say we're extremely proud of him would be an understatement.

Thursday's commencement speakers** were actually quite good - interesting, entertaining, and informative. That isn't always the case, so we were grateful for that.

Friday we attended the college convocation exercises. While we never did figure out where Steven was sitting the day before, after he walked across the stage, we were able to follow him to his seat (just to the right of the graduate with the white stole).

When we walked out of the building it was snowing! That was a bit miserable for our Florida blood, so we didn't spend a lot of time taking pictures. Sorry about that! But maybe you're grateful there are only three.

It wouldn't be a celebration without food! And just to keep with tradition we had three special meals. First was lunch before commencement at the MOA Cafe. After commencement, our graduate chose to have his celebratory meal at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in downtown Salt Lake. It was a nice experience, and I'm glad I could cross eating there off my bucket list, but my Mother's Day steak (purchased from Costco and grilled at home) was more tender and delicious. Finally, the whole crew joined us after Friday's convocation for a late lunch at Brick Oven Pizza in Provo.

Congratulations on your Graduation, Steven!

Dad is thrilled that all of his children graduated from his alma mater. He's pretty pleased that all of the daughters-in-law did as well. We'll see what the next generation decides!

**You can read the news articles for the Commencement Exercises here and here.

President Worthen started by sharing a couple of pieces of advice he was sure the graduates had never heard before:
  • Be awful.
  • Don't pejorate; ameliorate.
So, I learned a new word: Pejorate - verb - To make worse; to cause to deteriorate. In later use also: to endow (a word) with a less favourable meaning. He talked about how "awful" used to mean "full of awe" and great and majestic. Over time people realized that great and majestic things like volcanoes and lightning bolts caused great problems and distress, so the meaning of the word "awful" changed, or pejorated. He counseled them to be awful in the orginal meaning of the word. That's pretty good advice!

Baroness Nicholson, who received an honorary doctorate, also spoke, and what impressed me from her speech was her humility and graciousness. She's done amazing things (starting a humanitarian charity to help Middle Eastern refugees, serving in the House of Lords, etc.) and yet she was truly honored and grateful to be considered part of the BYU community. I appreciated that.

Elder Foster, in the keynote address, shared Three Secrets of Life:
  • God has given everyone both time and the opportunity to choose what to do with it.
  • Know who you are in relation to God and each other.
  • Happiness is not measured in zeros, but in relationships.
That may be helpful to the graduations; however, here's what stood out to me from his speech:
  • To be like the Savior, develop the ability to look past appearances and really know the heart of a person.
  • Never love anything that can't love you back.
  • Life is about contribution, not accumulation, so do good things for others.
  • Leave behind a legacy. Live so that when you die, others cry and you rejoice.
  • The past is history and the future is mystery, that's why the present is a gift.

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