When Linda M. Palmer (BS ’71) entered BYU as a freshman, she was a recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ eager to join others who shared her new faith. She got that—and a lot more.
“BYU made all the difference in the world to me, especially in terms of my testimony,” she says. “I absolutely cherished my years here and began a lifelong love of the university. Here is a place that can change people’s lives both on the campus and beyond.”
After graduating, Palmer left BYU to pursue a career, but she returned in the early 1990s to work with LDS Philanthropies. She has recently been named the executive director of the Alumni Association, where she says it is her job “to cultivate the Spirit of the Y.”
“Our success is not necessarily measured by the association, but rather by the individual lives of our alumni,” she says. “Their affiliation and loyalty to BYU are vital.”
She knows from experience that the Spirit of the Y must be fostered. “Time and distance take a toll on your memories and the feelings you have experienced. In my own life, I let that spirit die a little bit, but when I was recruited back, the magic resurfaced. I hope to help promote the vision of the university in a way that prompts our alumni to affiliate with us.”
While Palmer is interested in providing services for alumni, she is also committed to helping alumni serve. “It’s reminiscent of John F. Kennedy’s famous ‘Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country’ speech. I want alumni to seek not so much for what the Alumni Association can do for them but more for what they can do for BYU.”
Palmer hopes the Alumni Association can inspire alumni not only to serve their alma mater but also to share the blessings of their BYU education with others. “We have a responsibility to make the name of this institution stand for all that is noble and good,” she says. “As alumni we should be going out to make a difference and make life better for others.”