President and Sister Samuelson spoke side by side at the Jan. 7 Devotional, dedicating their remarks to “the reason we do some of the things we do at BYU.”
Sister Samuelson introduced 2014 as an opportunity for BYU to have one of its best years yet. She focused her words on the aspects of the university that extend beyond the “culture and environment we on campus experience and enjoy.”
President Samuelson began by quoting Gordon B. Hinckley in a 1999 General Conference address in which he explained that the Church’s goal is to “testify of Jesus Christ’s living reality,” and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should be involved with activities and programs that contribute to that mission.
The Samuelsons explained that the Church contributes heavily to BYU, not only because of the doctrinal significance of education, but also because of its hand in extending the light and truth of Christ through various channels.
Sister Samuelson first credited the students of BYU for being its cornerstone of success. She proceeded to challenge the students to “strive to be the best they can be,” for the university to reach its full potential and be a light unto the world.
Next, the Samuelsons addressed the university’s continuous effort to improve in both “narrow and broad ways” by hiring faculty with prestigious accreditation, thereby outputting students with exceptional qualification that represents their school and church valiantly.
Finally, Sister Samuelson stressed, “We have the responsibility to become a light unto the world wherever we can,” through academics, athletics and more.
The Samuelsons gave examples of BYU’s expansive reach beyond hosting various people of prominence on campus. For instance, BYU sponsors high-profile conferences, like the Law and Religion Symposium, that gain widespread attention. BYUtv has grown significantly and now reaches vast audiences. The university sends volunteers internationally to teach English and Western philosophy, through which connections and friendships are rooted.
Of this, Sister Samuelson said, “All of these things are expensive, and all are opportunities that bring friendships, gratitude and recognition to and an understanding of BYU and of our sponsoring Church.”
President Samuelson added, “BYU is a great institution established by the Lord’s prophets to fulfill sacred purposes and has prospered under the hands of heaven.”
President and Sister Samuelson closed the Devotional by encouraging students to appreciate, respect and add value to the BYU community.