The Bright Star of BYU - Y Magazine
Check out the latest podcast episode Listen

The Bright Star of BYU

By President Gordon B. Hinckley

You never can foretell the consequences of a dollar invested in education. It goes on multiplying itself. It becomes not an expenditure, but an investment, which pays returns far and wide and through generations to come.

The people of this Church are under a mandate to learn of everything on the earth and under the earth, and beneath the earth and above the earth, as set forth in that great, challenging statement in the 88th section of the Doctrine & Covenants (see D&C 88:78-80). There is no better place than at Brigham Young University. I don’t know of another institution in all the world that could attach to its name, as its motto, anything nearly approaching that marvelous statement: “The glory of God is intelligence,” or to complete the verse, “in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36).

That is the purpose of this university. It is a great and marvelous and successful experiment to demonstrate that there can be excellence in secular education and at the same time spiritual development in those who are being educated. I think there is nothing comparable to it to be found anywhere in this world. This is a unique and wonderful institution, and it is worthy of the very best efforts of all who have an interest in it.

Its reach is so far and for so long. You don’t have to travel too far to find that there are BYU graduates wherever you go. They are in Europe as well as the United States and Canada. They are in Mexico. They are in the Far East. The reach of this school is tremendous, and its influence has been magnificent. I just hope and pray that this capital campaign will succeed in a marvelous and wonderful way—and expeditiously.

This campaign will not diminish the contribution of the Church to the operation of this university. You may be interested to know that BYU is the largest single entity in the budget of this Church. We spend more here out of the total budget of the Church than we do for any other single entity. Now I qualify that by saying that if we include all the buildings we have built and maintain, no. But we spend more here than we do in any other single program under the budget of this Church. And I tell you that it is a very significant amount. It is very large. It really dwarfs, in terms of the years that we are speaking of, the figure of $250 million of which we are speaking in this campaign.

Those funds are sacred. We know they are sacred. We want to see them spent well, efficiently, prudently, and wisely for the accomplishment of the purposes of this great institution. I wish we had millions more. I wish we could duplicate this campus in the eastern part of the United States, and another in Europe, and another in Asia. This Church is growing across the world, and we are having young people worthy of the kind of education received here apply in larger numbers than we can possibly accommodate. Every year the percentage of those who can come here diminishes, in terms of the total Church membership.

This is a shining star and a thing in which to take just pride. It is a blessing to so many thousands. And I repeat, every dollar spent here will become an investment that will bear dividends across the world and for years to come.

This statement of Brigham Young sets forth the attitude that we have, each of us, concerning the acquisition of knowledge. Said he: “The religion embraced by the Latter-day Saints, if only slightly understood, prompts them to search diligently after knowledge. There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn, and understand truth. . . . It is the duty of the Latter-day Saints, according to the revelations, to give their children the best education that can be procured, both from the books of the world and the revelations of the Lord” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 247). Again, no other school of which I am aware can go forward under that kind of a banner.

Well, the goals of this campaign represent a big undertaking, but they certainly are not outside our capacity to achieve. Working together, as people united in a great and singular and wonderful cause, we can do anything we set out to do. I have not the slightest doubt of that. My confidence is strong in this. My faith is sure concerning it. My prayer is that we’ll go to work, tackle it, make it work, do it quickly, and take just pride in the accomplishment of a great and wonderful objective that will go on bearing fruit for good through generations yet to come.

That we may stand tall as we go forward with this great program is my prayer, invoking the blessings of the Lord upon each of you in your endeavors in this great cause.

Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and chairman of the board of trustees of Brigham Young University, delivered these remarks at the public announcement of BYU’s capital campaign, April 4, 1996.