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Writer: Writer: Andy Cargal
President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, addressed a near-capacity crowd at the Brigham Young University-Idaho Center today. Thousands more tuned in via live television, radio and Internet broadcasts, as President Eyring dedicated that building and the Hyrum Manwaring Student Center. Elder Russell M. Nelson and Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark also spoke.
President Eyring began by speaking about his experience as president of Ricks College, from 1971 to 1977, and marveled at the institution's growth. He also recounted his opportunity to address the student body in 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
"There was no postponement of my assignment," he said. "They [the First Presidency] sent me here as planned, with encouragement to testify that change brings opportunities for getting better, for seeking inspiration and being blessed with innovation. That has always been true at this institution."
He then spoke more about change and about the future of BYU-Idaho. He explained that there is an increased need for the relatively low-cost, high-quality education BYU-Idaho offers.
"I am not sure of what the Lord has planned for this university," President Eyring said. "Some future growth seems likely, and the university seems to have been prepared to respond. These two facilities we dedicate today may be part of that preparation.... These facilities, along with other buildings on this campus and the temple on the hill above it, have been constructed in accordance with His plans. The university is on a steady, upward course that will allow it to play a remarkable role in the Church and in the world."
After his remarks, President Eyring offered a dedicatory prayer, expressing gratitude for the prophetic vision that guided the creation of the new buildings and giving a blessing to those who will use the facilities.
"We bless those who will teach, learn, direct, perform, and serve in these buildings," he said. "May those who come here do so with gratitude and respect for the sacrifice which made these buildings and this university possible."
President Clark conducted the meeting and spoke briefly about the significance of the two new buildings. He said as impressive as the structures are, the work that will take place inside the buildings is even more impressive, as people will gather and be instructed together.
Elder Bednar reiterated the subject he addressed before the groundbreaking for the new buildings on Oct. 31, 2006. He warned that intellectual arrogance, a lack of appreciation, and a spirit of entitlement could extinguish the "Spirit of Ricks," if allowed on campus. "Conversely, as long as intellectual modesty, humility, gratitude, obedience, and frugality continue to characterize those who learn and serve at and who support BYU-Idaho, then this university will shine forth ever brighter as a beacon of righteousness and of inspired educational innovation," he said.
Elder Nelson spoke about the examples BYU-Idaho presidents have set in emulating the life of Jesus Christ. He offered four points on how each individual can better follow those examples. He told listeners to pray regularly, regard others respectfully, study spiritual and secular subjects symmetrically, and tithe faithfully.