Piqued interest in Mormonism and academic notoriety bring visitors to BYU


White golfs carts roam around BYU campus, and its passengers are wide-eyed visitors taking a guided tour of BYU.

Photo Credit: Kenny Crookston
Campus tours are given to many visitors of BYU

Jabari Parker, CNN reporter Richard Quest, and countless prospective students toured BYU’s campus this year.

Some have come to BYU because of their interest in Mitt Romney’s alma mater, others because of an interest in Mormonism, and others because of the academic reputation that BYU holds. Each visitor comes away from BYU with a different perspective on the campus and the students.

Richard Quest, an international business correspondent for CNN International, visited BYU as a part of his series “American Quest.” He was drawn to BYU because of Mitt Romney’s candidacy in the election.

“I didn’t really know what to expect when I got to Provo, Utah,” Quest wrote in his CNN article. “I knew that many people here were followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, better known as the Mormons.”

What Quest discovered was a unique campus environment and a very “smiley” student body.

“Everyone smiles. The woman at the ice cream shop smiled. The guides showing me round the university smiled. The student who handed me Mormon literature smiled. It was hard to imagine any of these clean-cut youths suddenly bursting into a bout of obscenities as they stubbed a toe or dropped a plate,” Quest wrote. “Respectable and respectful throughout is the best way to describe them.”

Quinn Alkonis, a sophomore majoring in exercise science, thinks there is a distinct difference in the BYU campus and students. She also believes that the gospel is what makes the campus so unique.

“The environment that students bring to BYU is so different from any other college campuses,” Alkonis said. “When you have the gospel, you are going to have the desire to learn. (As a result), I think that students at BYU are more eager to learn than other students at different universities.”

Jabari Parker, the No. 1 ranked high school basketball player in the nation, recently visited BYU to help him make his decision of which college to attend. Robert Smith, his high school coach, told ESPN that he is “earnest” about his decision on whether or not to attend BYU.

“He’s really thinking about BYU. I know his faith has a lot to do with it,” Smith said. “The coaching staff has been great with him. They’ve been a winning program. That’s one of his choices.”

BYU remains a university of interest to many athletes, academics and people of faith, and is slowly making the world its campus.


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