Pursuing formal education, lifelong learning and increased capacity to accomplish things are all important aspects of the good life, but none is more satisfying and eternally relevant than helping and lifting others.
That was President Henry B. Eyring’s message to Utah Valley University’s (UVU) 2017 graduating class of more than 5,000 students on Thursday, May 4, 2017.
“The happiness that lasts will come as you feel the joy of those you loved and lifted — and as their happiness becomes your own,” said President Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “For that reason alone, you will want to seek a place in marriages, families, communities and organizations where people put the interests of others at least slightly — but regularly — above their own.”
President Eyring told UVU graduates they are in a good position to heed his counsel because their educational pursuits have changed the way they see other people.
“You have discovered that your increased power to do hard things came largely through the influence of others,” he said. “You came to appreciate the unselfishness of the people around you. You began to see people more as allies than as competitors.”
Following his speech, President Eyring was given an honorary doctorate of humane letters.
“I express appreciation for your letting me feel the spirit of this learning community,” he said. “I will take courage from my experience with you and will treasure happy reports about your futures and will find happiness in the happiness you feel as you lift others. I wish you great accomplishment and lasting joy. And I thank you.”
Prior to his full-time Church service, which began in 1980, President Eyring was president of Ricks College (now BYU–Idaho) from 1971 to 1977. Before that, he was on the faculty at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University for nine years.
He holds a bachelor of science degree in physics from the University of Utah and a master of business administration and a doctorate of business administration from Harvard University.
President Eyring received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Utah in 2015.