A photo of Squaw Peak and misty clouds.
Photo by Nathaniel R. Edwards

It would be no small advantage if every college were . . . located at the base of a mountain. . . . Some will remember, no doubt, not only that they went to the college, but that they went to the mountain.” —Henry David Thoreau

“Thoreau’s observation was not just a plea to include physical activity as part of a well-rounded curriculum,” explained President Kevin J Worthen (BA ‘79, JD ‘82) in his 2014 inaugural address. “For Thoreau, mountains were places where people could be ‘elevated and . . . etherealized.’ Etherealize is not a word we use often. It means ‘to refine, exalt, or spiritualize (something).’* Mountains are thus locations where people can be enlightened, uplifted, and changed.

“The learning process to which we are committed should do the same. It should be education that elevates and etherealizes. . . . It describes well the kind of education I hope we provide at Brigham Young University, . . . and I hope the mountains that surround us will be reminders of that aspiration.”

*Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. “etherealize.”

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