It‘s not just energy and smarts that Jonathan O. Hafen (BA ’88, JD ’91) brings to his position as the new head of the BYU Alumni Association, although the president of the law firm Parr Brown Gee & Loveless is brimming with both. It’s not just having studied English and law at BYU or having gleaned a lifetime of insight from his father, Bruce C. Hafen (BA ’66), who was dean of the BYU Law School and later the university’s provost. It’s not just a passion for service, though Hafen serves others in countless ways. What Jonathan Hafen brings as the new BYU Alumni Association president is an expansive vision for the future of BYU and the powerful role its 420,000 living alumni can play in shaping that future.
Hafen says he sees a time when alumni won’t graduate and look at BYU only occasionally in the rearview mirror but rather see BYU on the road ahead of them. He sees alumni who fully appreciate what it means to get a quality education in an atmosphere of faith. He sees the spirit of the Y permeating the interactions of graduates with current and future students.
“What would it be like if we had alumni who were so supportive of students and of BYU that we had replenishment grants that enabled all students to graduate from BYU despite personal challenges?” he asks. “What would it be like if all of our alumni were motivated to mentor students, letting them know they’ve got this incredible, caring network looking out for them? Say I’m a BYU grad and need a job or help finding a house or anything like that, I can take a look at my BYU Alumni chapter or list of alumni where I plan to go and know they want to serve me as much as I want to serve them. That makes life better for everyone. Then, we don’t just have a unique BYU experience; [BYU is helping us have] a unique life experience.”
Hafen and his wife, Joy Miner Hafen (BA ’91), have had their own BYU life experiences, following in Hafen’s parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps, all of whom also attended BYU and met their spouses there. He hopes that all alumni can feel blessed by their associations with BYU. To do so, he says, they need to “embrace BYU’s unique mission of delivering academic excellence in an atmosphere of faith and be able to respond, when asked, ‘Are you one of those BYU grads?’—like Joseph F. Smith did when confronted by hostile armed men asking him if he was a Mormon: ‘Yesiree, dyed in the wool, true blue, through and through.’”
Hafen hopes that commitment to BYU translates into a greater commitment among grads to help and mentor each other. He says, “In Doctrine and Covenants section 84:88, the Lord says he’ll be on our right hand and on our left and have angels round about us, bearing us up,” he notes. “Sometimes we need to be those angels to [other] alumni, and other times we need to allow those alumni to be angels to us. As we do that, we will experience a powerful sense of love and belonging that will make our lives better.”
2018 BYU Alumni Executive Board
President: Jonathan O. Hafen (BA ‘88, JD ‘91), see above for bio
Past President: Amy Kunz Fennegan (BA ‘94), a PR consultant who lives in Dallas, Texas
President-Elect: Karen Bybee (BA ‘81), a former sporting-event organizer who lives in Vienna, Virginia
Vice President, Chapter Chairs: Colette Linton McCullough (BA ‘93), a PR consultant who lives in Round Rock Texas
Vice President, Engagement: Julie Bangerter Beck (BS ‘81), former Relief Society general president who lives in Salt Lake City
Vice President, At Large: Ruth Jones Todd (BA ‘93), a NuSkin executive and former news anchor who lives in Salt Lake City
Vice President, Summit Events: Frederick “Fred” C. Roberts (BA ‘07), teacher and former NBA player who lives in Alpine, Utah