Neither rain, nor sleet nor whirling winds prevented students, faculty and guests from attending President Kevin J Worthen’s inauguration on Sept. 9. Students huddled under shared umbrellas, trying to avoid the torrents on the way to see President Henry B. Eyring install BYU’s “lucky 13th president.”
The Marriott Center, nearly filled to capacity, bustled with excitement about which general authorities and LDS Church officers would attend the ceremony. President Thomas S. Monson, seated next to his daughter, Ann M. Dibb, presided at the inauguration, while Elder Russell M. Nelson conducted the proceedings.
“It was really exciting to be in the same room as the prophet and general authorities,” said Madeline May, a freshman from Woodland, California.
All four of the surviving, former BYU presidents — Cecil O. Samuelson, Merrill J. Bateman, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland and Elder Dallin H. Oaks — attended. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and his wife, Harriet R. Uchtdorf, also attended, as did Linda K. Burton, the Relief Society General President, and Bonnie L. Oscarson, the Young Women General President.
President Worthen’s wife, Peggy, put the presidential medallion around his neck after President Eyring officially installed him as president. After sharing a quick kiss with his wife, President Worthen took the stage to address the university. He began by praising his wife, saying she has supported him and impacted his success more than any other person. “I think it is safe to say that she did not envision that we would ever be in this position when she agreed to marry me,” President Worthen said.
President Worthen drew laughter from the audience when he joked about his long-windedness as a trained lawyer. He became more serious, however, and choked up as he spoke about the unlikeliness of the small-town boy he was eventually becoming the president “of one of the greatest universities in America.”
Students left the ceremony impressed with the new president’s character. “I love that man already. He drops humility like a bomb,” said Jonathan Kimble, a junior from Alaska. “I learned there’s always another peak to climb or conquer.”