Speakers at BYU’s summer commencement exercises on Aug. 11, 2016 urged graduates to see this moment of their lives as the start of greater things to come.
In his greeting address, President Kevin J. Worthen said college graduation should be the beginning of a lifetime of learning.
“Calling this ceremony a commencement hopefully serves to remind you that while you are graduating from this university, you have not concluded the learning phase of your life,” President Worthen said. “Instead, you are at the other end of that process: the beginning, the commencement.”
Commencement speaker Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Presidency of the Seventy also encouraged students to begin preparing for a great future by planning out the small and simple means required to get there.
“Commencement ceremonies naturally point to the future; to the exciting opportunities ahead and to everything you hope to accomplish,” Elder Christensen said. “But to a great extent, your success in life and how you prepare for responsibilities that will ultimately be yours is the accumulation of the small and simple things you do each and every day.”
This was one of four prominent admonitions in the Book of Mormon from Alma to his sons that Elder Christensen used as the framework for his commencement address. The other three admonitions included learning to trust in the Lord, keeping the commandments and bridling passions by focusing energy on things that matter most.
Marcos Felipe Nazareth Gallo, an honors student graduating with a bachelor’s in economics, gave an address at the commencement exercises focusing on the meaning of nostalgia during this moment of reflection in many graduates’ lives.
“The memories we’ll keep from this campus are indeed gifts, possibly the greatest gifts this institution could give us,” Gallo said
Melissa Morgan, who was conferred a bachelor’s degree in English at this commencement, said one of her biggest takeaways from BYU was learning that “your education is never complete.”
“It’s a lifelong pursuit regardless of whether you have a degree or not, or if you have multiple degrees or not. You’re always learning,” Morgan said. “It’s always a part of your life.”
Information technology graduate David Christofferson said that since his BYU education started in 2005, the greatest lesson he has learned is, “The only person responsible for my success is me.”
Exercise science graduate Kelly Clinger said her BYU experience taught her that life progresses differently for everyone.
“Everybody has their own path,” Clinger said. “As long as you’re working toward something, then you’re doing the right thing.”
Ryan Hendrickson, who also graduated with a bachelor’s in exercise science, said the lesson he’ll remember most from BYU is the importance of setting goals and plans.
“It’s made a big difference in my life knowing how to find what I want and then make a plan to get it,” Hendrickson said.
(photographs by Ari Davis)