Year in Review: Prominent people visit BYU

Sarah Hill
Elizabeth Smart speaks at the Heritage School in Provo. (Sarah Hill)

Jan. 28, 2014: Wal-Mart Senior VP Andrea Thomas

The senior VP of marketing for Wal-Mart stores in the United States challenged listeners to make a difference in the world by enduring to the end.

Andrea Thomas, the Jan. 28 forum speaker, gave four steps to successfully making a difference in the world: make your world bigger, don’t think or talk — act, have passion and courage and hold yourself accountable to do your best every day.

“You can learn so much about what to do and what not to do by interacting with others,” Thomas said. “Life can be a great teacher if you allow it to be.”

March 5, 2014: Elizabeth Smart

Elizabeth Smart recounted her experience with abuse to BYU students, putting her audience into the mind of a victim as part of a campaign to end violence against women.

Smart, famous for her nine-month abduction at the age of 14, spoke about her personal experience and the true mentality of those who are victims of abuse, as well as advocated for the BYU Women’s Services and Resources Office Voices of Courage campaign.

Meagan Larsen
TEDxBYU, hosted by BYU’s Ballard Center in the Marriott School of Management MSM Theme: “At the Intersection” in the Joseph Smith Building Auditorium. (Meagan Larsen/BYU)

March 21, 2014: TEDx at BYU

BYU held its fourth annual TEDxBYU talks, x meaning an independently organized event, in the Joseph Smith Building.

This year’s theme was “At the Intersection.” Speakers shared their insights on extreme poverty, creativity, asking more questions and social change.

Apr. 8, 2014: Llamas at BYU

Llamas visited campus to help Davis Smith, the founder of Cotopaxi, promote an upcoming event called Questival.

“I’ve never seen a bigger smile than when people

have their arms around a llama’s neck,” said Cotopaxi’s marketing intern, Liam McNally. “Llamas are the best marketing strategy in the world.”

Aug. 19, 2014: Elder David A. Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar continued his 2009 BYU-Idaho fireside about the role of cyberspace in Church members’ lives at BYU Education Week.

“I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth, messages that are authentic, edifying and praiseworthy and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood,” he said.

Elliott Miller
Elder Bednar speaks about the potential in sharing the gospel through social media in the 2014 Education Week Devotional address. (Elliott Miller)

Elder Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve, repeated his warnings about the improper use of technology but emphasized using modern communication tools for good.

Elder Bednar said members have successfully begun harnessing the power of modern communication but that it is only a beginning.

“I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place, this day,” he said about spreading the gospel via modern media.

Sept. 9, 2014: President Kevin J Worthen’s inauguration

The sleet did not prevent students, faculty and the entire First Presidency 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.”

President Thomas S. Monson, seated next to his daughter, Ann M. Dibb, presided at the inauguration, while Elder Russell M. Nelson conducted the proceedings.

09 13:07:44
President Eyring and Peggy Worthen help place a medallion around President Worthen’s neck at Inauguration. (Elliott Miller)

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 urged students to “go to the mountains” during his inaugural address, and during Homecoming week, President Worthen and his wife, Peggy Worthen, took their own advice and joined students in hiking and lighting the Y.

Nov. 14, 2014: Fight the New Drug

Fight the New Drug, an anti-pornography organization, urged BYU students to join its movement against pornography in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium.

The organization’s message is clear — the members’ shirts read “Porn Kills Love” and “Become a Fighter,” making it obvious the organization won’t back down until society recognizes the harmful effects of pornography.

Melissa Richardson, Andrew Dixon and Cory Cooper, of the BYU Unraveling Pornography Club, introduced the presentation. Richardson, who is also serving as Miss Provo, has made fighting against pornography one of her major causes.

The presentation began with a quick video detailing decision-making and how it affects society. The video described how pornography flooded the web when Internet access began to be normalized.

Men and women wear Fight the New Drug apparel in an effort to spread awareness. The campaign kicked off Nov. 14 in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium. (Clay Olsen)
Men and women wear Fight the New Drug apparel in an effort to spread awareness. The campaign kicked off Nov. 14 in the Joseph Smith Building auditorium. (Clay Olsen)

Clay Olsen, one of the founders of Fight the New Drug, spoke about the core message of the presentation. “If you take one message home with you today, I hope you remember that pornography is harmful and research has proven it,” he said.

Olsen opened his presentation by talking about how slow science is to catch up with truth. As an example, an ad flashed across the screen for cocaine toothache drops from March 1885. Since this date, research has shown that cocaine is harmful. “We learn and move on,” he said.

Nov. 18, 2014: Mitt Romney

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney returned to his alma mater to speak about lessons learned from his presidential campaign at the BYU Forum in the Marriott Center.

Elliott Miller
Mitt Romney gives the devotional address on November 18, 2014. (Elliott Miller)

Students packed the Marriott Center long before the University Forum began. The audience greeted Romney and his wife, Ann, with cheers, whistles and a standing ovation as they walked to the stand.

Romney said although he lost his presidential bid, running for president was one of his life’s most remarkable journeys. He continued by sharing life lessons he had learned from experiences during his campaign.


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