Friday, May 24, 2024
HomeWorldPresident Nelson Receives Honorary Degree from the University of Utah

President Nelson Receives Honorary Degree from the University of Utah

- Advertisment - Save on Great LDS Gifts

In May of this year, President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was named as a recipient of an honorary doctoral degree during an all-virtual commencement for the University of Utah. On Tuesday, June 15, thanks to the easing of local COVID-19 restrictions, university officials delivered the honorary degree citation and doctoral hood during an in-person visit in the Church Administration Building on Temple Square.


The degree citation notes the prophet’s “significant contributions to medical science” and his “vast accomplishments as a scholar, educator, and religious leader” around the world. Former Presiding Bishop H. David Burton, who serves on the university’s board of trustees, read the citation to those gathered for the occasion before it was given to President Nelson.

Prior to his call to be an Apostle in 1984, President Nelson was a heart surgeon revered and respected the world over. He performed the first open-heart surgery in Utah in 1955. He served as president of the Society for Vascular Surgery, a director of the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, chairman of the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery for the American Heart Association and president of the Utah State Medical Association. He authored numerous chapters in medical textbooks and other publications.


As a physician, President Nelson was perhaps best known for his part in the development of an artificial heart and lung machine small enough to function in an operating room. Made possible by the invaluable support and encouragement of his first wife, Dantzel, it was an achievement that heightened his appreciation for the gift of life.

Dr. Michael L. Good, an anesthesiologist and the interim president of the University of Utah, noted how he and others have been blessed by President Nelson’s pioneering work in developing the artificial lung, which has helped victims with more serious complications of COVID-19.

“Some of these very severe COVID cases so affect the lungs that we have to put the patient on an artificial lung for a period of days. And it can be lifesaving,” Dr. Good said. “So, as a humble anesthesiologist traces back your work to our methods, it’s really an honor to participate in this award.”

President Nelson responded by quoting from the fourth chapter of the gospel of John in the New Testament (John 4:36–37). “A scripture comes to mind as Dr. Good speaks about the generational impact of what one generation means to another,” the prophet said. “One man soweth and another reapeth. And he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.”


Also present Tuesday at the presentation of the degree and doctoral hood were President Nelson’s wife, Wendy W. Nelson; his counselors in the First Presidency, Presidents Dallin H. Oaks and Henry B. Eyring; President M. Russell Ballard and Elders Jeffrey R. Holland, Ronald A. Rasband and Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles; Christian Gardner, chair of the University of Utah board of trustees; and Katie Eccles, vice chair of the university’s board of trustees.

The video interview below with President Nelson, played during the May virtual commencement, honored the prophet’s legacy as a University of Utah student, research professor and director.

President Nelson, the Church’s 17th president, was one of three honorary doctoral degree recipients announced by the University of Utah in May. The others were C. Hope Eccles, an advocate for education, and William J. Rutter, an American biochemist.

This news release was provided by the Church Newsroom.
Join the Discussion!
- Advertisment - LDS Scripture Study
Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

20 Things NOT to Say to Someone Questioning the Church

Navigating conversations about faith and belief can be sensitive, especially when someone is questioning their religious affiliation. Here are 20 things you...

UPDATE: Missionary Couple Passes Away in California Auto Accident

Update: The following statement was released on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. It is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing...

Children Need Christ-Centered Parents | 24 May 2024

Here’s your daily dose of what matters most! Children need devoted parents who have centered their lives on Christ. Check back tomorrow for...

Need Courage to Stand for the Truth? Try This! | 23 May 2024

Here’s your daily dose of what matters most! Struggling to find the courage to stand up for your beliefs? Try these principles...
- Advertisment -Color Scriptures from LDS Bookstore