The August 2016 convocation for the College of Humanities celebrated 203 graduates.
PROVO, Utah (August 12, 2016)—“What a joyous occasion. This is no regular day; it is one of those days, the kind we dream about for years, plan for, anticipate eagerly, give up on, struggle to retain the vision for, nearly lose, see divine interventions along the way to and finally arrive at, pinching ourselves because we can’t believe it has finally happened. This is that kind of day.”
Such was how Dean Scott Miller addressed the 203 graduates and their well-wishers at the August 2016 convocation for the College of Humanities. The college awarded 179 bachelor degrees and 34 graduate degrees. Among those students, one graduated summa cum laude, 13 magna cum laude and 18 cum laude, with seven students graduating with University Honors.
And did I give you what
you needed in your life, even so?
And what did you need?
To feel Thy love through others, to sing
Thy praises on the earth.
Miller expressed hope that the graduates had felt loved while at school, but also that they would go on to act upon the love they had received. “We need and want to acknowledge and honor the source of that love, give praise and glory to God,” he said. “How better to come to call God blessed, to sing His praises on the earth, than through translating and adapting His gifts within us, and His influence within our lives, to serve wherever life takes us?”
Graduate Kaia Hodgson has already explored surprising paths of service, made possible by her training in the humanities. After serving a Church mission in Ukraine, Hodgson returned to BYU to major in Russian. Her studies in turn took her to Russia as an intern in the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. There she acted as an observer and communicator, sitting in on closed-door meetings between U.S. and Russian officials and reporting on the proceedings. Speaking to her fellow graduates after Miller, Hodgson said, “I was amazed by where the Lord had led me and what he had enabled me to do with my humanities knowledge.”
But then Hodson posed a question: “You and I have been the recipients of great knowledge here: we have been taught and we have sought to learn more, but now what?” She answered, “It is now our turn to go forward, empowered by these temples of learning, and take what we have learned, and who we have become, to the ends of the earth.”
William Eggington echoed Hodgson in his closing remarks, invoking 3 Nephi 20:25, which reads, “And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.”
Eggington explained, “We are children of the prophets as Church members. We are also children of the prophets because we are graduates . . . of a university that listens and tries as much as it can to follow the prophets. . . . The challenge is to take that knowledge that you have learned . . . coupled with the spirit, and serve all the kindred of the earth . . . And you are specially equipped to do that.”
—Samuel Wright (B.A. American Studies ’16)