BYU Today

“A Do-Gooder of the Best Kind”

BYU establishes the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work and Social Sciences.

On April 29, near the conclusion of a ceremony honoring his wife, President Gordon B. Hinckley stood at the north end of the Skyroom restaurant to share a few thoughts about Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley, for whom BYU had just named an endowed chair in social work and social sciences.

“I just want to express appreciation for my dear companion of these 66 years. She has been absolutely wonderful. She has been a great mother, a great grandmother, a great friend, and a great neighbor, and a do-gooder of the best kind in all the world. Everybody loves her because. . .”

President Hinckley paused for a moment, filled with emotion. Sister Hinckley turned to him and said, “Keep it up. You’re doing well!”

President and Sister Hinckley
On April 29 BYU established a chair in social work to honor Sister Hinckley. To mark the occasion, she was presented with a delicate glass-blown chair and table set on a music box that plays “Love at Home” (below). It carries the inscription “Marjorie Pay Hinckley, in honor of your commitment to family and community, Brigham Young University, 2003.” Photo by Mark Philbrick.

Support for the exemplary couple on their 66th wedding anniversary was apparent in the room, where members of the Hinckley and Pay families, Presidents Thomas S. Monson and James E. Faust of the First Presidency, and Elders Richard G. Scott and Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, BYU officials, donors, and friends had gathered.

“To honor them at this time is very important,” said BYU president Merrill J. Bateman. “To see the incredible extended family they have raised, it is clear that building faith in people is an intergenerational process. The Hinckleys are role models for family living.”

David B. Magleby, dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, said, “We are pleased to be able to recognize the contributions and legacy of service of Sister Marjorie Pay Hinckley. Her commitment to family, marriage, children, and the community is a wonderful model for students, faculty, and the world.”

According to Magleby, the Hinckley Chair will serve four main purposes: to direct attention to the family through research and education, to expand learning by lectures and mentored-learning experiences, to increase community involvement, and to provide service.

“We will bring distinguished visitors to campus to interact with students and faculty, and we anticipate an annual lecture series as well as research collaborations on and off campus,” he said.

Music Box
Photo by Mark Philbrick

“We will pursue community involvement to let the research and the findings that we have here bless lives throughout the world. We seek to provide service.”

The endowment for the chair was made possible by several donors who were willing to give substantial donations in the name of Sister Hinckley, noted Bateman. “I’d like to indicate that, because of the love and respect these donors have for Sister Hinckley, we raised the funds in less than three weeks,” he said.

The problems facing marriages and families are great, said Bateman, but the life of Sister Hinckley can be a comfort and a blessing to many. “She radiates such joy and optimism.”

“I’m overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Sister Hinckley. “I consider this a great honor and a somewhat uncomfortable surprise. Not only am I honored today by the establishment of this chair, but I am also somewhat tender as we mark our 66th anniversary.”

“There is nothing the world needs more than strong homes and strong families,” she said.

A special video presentation that will be part of Hinckley Chair presentations uses a quotation from Sister Hinckley that encapsulates her focus on the family: “It is what we are at home that tells us the true story of who we are.”