Friday, June 5, 1925

Excerpts from "Address to the Graduates"

by David O. McKay

It is a joy as well as a privilege to meet with the Board of Education, Student Association, the Faculty of the Weber College, Mayor Kirkendall, parents, friends, and patrons of the Weber College on this most auspicious occasion.

Before addressing the graduates I am going to be a little reminiscent. In the old building to which this hall is joined, among the 500 students that huddled there 20 years ago, there was a young man who was struggling to get an education. He had been in school for one year. He had done his work well and had returned in the fall. The second year he was struggling almost desperately to get through school. About the middle of the year we learned that that young man was making his struggle without the aid of a father and without the courage and love of a loving mother. More than that, he had two young sisters whom he was supporting in the public schools. They had no support whatsoever except that which he earned with his own muscles in the summer—sometimes in the hay field, sometimes on the range. He struggled through high school and passed every class successfully with high marks. He kept his two young sisters in school until they graduated and were able to support themselves. That young man stood before you tonight, the president of Weber College, and gave the best president's address ever given in the Weber commencement exercises.

If that young man can make that success, so can hundreds of other young men. There should be here next year 500 enrolled in the Weber college, and if we will stand [at the] back of it, fathers and mothers, and encourage the boys and girls to come, we will have the 500 here next year. We will see 1,000 here in the near future. It will be a struggle, but this school should radiate the spirit of its halls into every home.

Fellow students and graduates, I congratulate you. This is one of the happiest days of your life. You do not fully realize it now, but it is. To few of you, perhaps, will come a brighter day than this, when you are presented with the crown of you scholastic efforts. You have had to put forth effort to be where you are tonight. You are not like the boy who came up to his teacher one morning and said, "Professor, I think I don't deserve a zero for that mark." The professor replied, "I know you don't. But it is the lowest mark I am permitted to give."

It is a joy to be with you and to participate in these exercises. You may want fame and distinction in your life. I hope all of you will [obtain that]. But I hope you will appreciate the finer things of life, the sweet cares of a sister or brother who is proud of you. These things are the things that sanctify life. These, after all, are the sweetest memories of life. You are going to forget the technicalities of geography, but you will never forget the finer things. You will never forget the realization that you have accomplished something.

You are graduating from a school that has as its object true religious training. You have been studying theology. Are you theologians or are you truly religious students? Theology, as you know, in the science that treats with the character and attributes of God. Religion is subjective. It is that feeling which directs the acts in accordance with God's laws. While theology may be merely objective, it may not be essential with religion. And there is morality—the moral teaching which deals with man's relations to men. The theologian may not be religious. The moral man may not be a theologian. The religious man may not be moral. Now, you see why I said you are graduating from a school that stands for true religion, not for theology only, but a school that strives to acquaint students with God's laws [. . . .] [and teach that] morals may be an expression of a true religion. This institution has the Church supporting it, and stands for the religion which thinks of God as father, and man as brother. Students, that is the obligation upon us. [ . . . ] You understand the principles for which the church of Christ stands, so let us leave with the assurance in our hearts that we are going to maintain them because they touch the hearts, and it is the right thing to do to live up to the teachings of Christ.

McKay, David O. "Address for the Weber College Commencement Exercises," June 25, 1925. Archives, Weber State University, Ogden,