Address to Graduates, May 29, 1929

David O. McKay

Weber College

President Tracy, members of the Board of Education, graduating class, brethren and sisters: President Tracy suggested that we refrain from applauding. It is a good think he didn't ask us to keep from palpitating and the tear drops from starting because we couldn't do it. Individuals radiate personality. Every individual has a halo about him. Some say we way be able to photograph it and tell just what individual is his real self.

So do institutions. Weber College is radiating tonight what it really is. You wonder what this wonderful spirit is; because men have given their lives to this school. I entered the east door tonight, myself, wife and daughter, members of the Board and President Tracy. We walked though that old hall on the walls of which hangs the photographs of the men who headed this institution and carried the load in the beginning. They may have gone to the other side now. And I thought of them, (...) And you brought tears to our eyes as you sang that wonderful song. I have never heard anything more impressive, so appropriate and so beautiful. They have gone, all but one, and I (. . .ed) him here tonight. He may be in the audience, Bishop Wat(. . .). I think all the others are on the other side. You can't (. . .) your life for anything without the spirit living, having a (. . .) effect in the world. That is why our mothers lives (sic) in our hearts because she gives her life for us. None of them, not even the founders have given more of their lives for this institution than President Tracy has and I want to congratulate him and thank him for what he has done for this school.

Springtime and flowers, youth and beauty, sunshine and laughter. What can be more beautiful? What more uplifting, (. . .ful), or faith inspiring. Where are two things more beautiful. (. . .) two. They are happy memories, and friendship. I wouldn't miss the experience, the thrill that I have had tonight as I looked at those old photographs; one of them, the boys and girls, who sat int hat old building nearly forty years ago. I see them, they are here tonight. Those young boys and girls, they are here. It is a joy to meet them but I tell you it is a (. . .) memory to have that picture conceal the spirit of youth and the schooldays of old.

I would like to speak of all of them, but I have chosen tonight to speak not just of springtime and flowers not even the school. But I am going to say before I mention my topic that I haven't imagination sufficient to see or to think of this school under any other name. Might as well ask me to change mother's (. . .) And you students feel just the same way. This school has individuality, it is impraginated (sic) with spirituality. And as long as it stands, and I hope that will be forever, it should (. . .) Its sacred name: Weber. There is a great deal in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet is an old saying that you will never give it another name and you wouldn't like it if anybody attempted to do so. This is Weber. Weber has contributed to us those things which are most high, beautiful, and inspiring that can come to the soul. Tonight, I am impressed with its surroundings and uplifting influence.

It is a joy to be in your presence students. We are younger because of your youth. And it is the spirit of youth about which I wish to speak tonight.

The Conqueror

Room for me, graybeard, room, make room!

Menace me not with you eyes of gloom;

Jostle me not from the place I seek,

For my arms are strong and your own are weak,

And if my plea to you be denied

I'll thrust your wearying forms aside.

Pity you? Yes, but I cannot stay;

I am the spirit of Youth; make way!

Room for me, timid ones, room, make room!

Little I care for your fret and fume--

I dare whatever is mine to meet,

I laugh at sorrow and jeer defeat;

To doubt and doubters I give the lie,

And rear is stilled as I swagger by,

And life's a fight and I seek the fray;

I am the spirit of Youth; make way.

Room for me, mighty ones, room, make room!

I fear no power and dread no doom;

And you who curse me and you who bless

Alike must bow to my dauntlessness.

I topple the king from his golden throne,

I smash old idols of brass and stone,

I am not hampered by yesterday.

Room for the spirit of Youth; make way!

Room for me, all of you, make me room!

Where the rifles clash and the cannon boom,

Where the glory beckons or love or fame

I plunge me heedlessly in the game.

The old, the wary, the wise, the great,

They cannot stay me, for I am Fate,

The brave young master of all good play,

I am the spirit of Youth; make way!

--Berton Braley

Youth is the gay and pleasant spring of life. Springtime; its yours. Spring of life and joy is stirring in the dancing blood and nature calls us with a thousand songs to share her generous feast. Youth is the period of building up in habit, and hope, and faith; not an hour but what is trembling with destinies not a moment once past or which the appointed work can never be done again. Every period of life has its peculiarities and dangers but youth is the time when we are most likely to be ensnared. This preeminently is the formation period. The spring season of disposition and habits. And it is during this season, more than any other, that the character assumes its permanent shape and color; and then youth wants to choose their work for time and for eternity. When I cease to be interested in youth, when by confidence in youth begins to wane; then friends you may know my work is done. And tonight, I just want to take youth into three realms, or to give you three suggestions, may I, as an old teacher. I would like to tell the young how to enjoy youth. Second how to employ youth. Third: how to conserve it. What is more beautiful

There are gains for all our losses,

There are balms for all our pains,

Yet, when youth the dream departs

It takes something from our hearts,

And it never comes again.

We are better and are stronger,

Under manhood's firmer reign,

Yet we feel that something sweet

Followed youth with flying feet,

But it never comes again.

Something beautiful has vanished,

And we sigh for it in vain,

We behold it everywhere

In the woods and in the air,

But it never comes again.

Then let us enjoy it. Let us conserve it. And that is the ground on which we should meet youth. We do not ask them to waste it. We do not ask them to lose it. We ask them to keep it and use it. That is fair. Now it is a question as to how to do it, isn't it. First, how to enjoy it. Well, you can't enjoy it unless you have health. I do not mean by that, that those who have not been blessed with health haven't had good health. But that sweetness has come through resistance and mastery of handicaps. A little child I saw once in the Chicago Hospital was bedridden. How long it has been there I couldn't learn. Somebody had given it a lower and that morning, its life was full of sunshine. I know that life need not be gloomy and sad even if you haven't health. But a substantial preference to life is health, strength, vision, and vitality. Keep it. Keep that health. Keep that strength if you want to enjoy life; for strength is physical beauty. They are yours, youths. How can you keep them? We will keep them and thereby enjoy youth by maintaining them with all the doubtless courage that God has given as in the ideals of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Your blood will be purer, eyes brighter, and your muscles stronger. Do not take into your bodies those things which will weaken a fiber or a sinew. Main strength of the body is the foundation on which we must build. Prepare your bodies, ever complying with the things that keep it unstained and unweakened by desiccation (sic) or sensualism, either of which will take youth away from you. You know it and so do I.

I read recently the remarks of one of our great railroad magnets. This is what he said to a friend with whom he was riding.

AI am greatly troubled he said to find an assistant superintendent. There are now under me seven young engineers. Every man a graduate of college. Four of them with uncommon ability and all of them relatives of men heavily interested in this network of railroad. But not one of them will do. Three night ago all of them happened to meet in Chicago. They all went out to have what they called a good time. Drinking and so forth. That, in itself is enough to blacklist every man for the position of my assistant and my successor. This road will not entrust its operating management to a man who will willfully make himself less every day and night. Besides that, each of them is steady but not resourceful not even valiant and so forth and so on. We are looking all over the United States for the young man who has the ability, character, health, and habits which my assistant must have.

How? How then shall we employ youth? First: Employ it for life. We want to make a living you say. Yes, that is the first law of nature. Self Preservation. You will make that. We all have a little difficulty just now but every man is entitled to a living. There are three things which I am going to wish for you and this audience tonight. I believe them fundamentally. First: that everyone of you will have work. Everyone, and work you love. Work for which you are adapted whether it is manual work or intellectual effort or whatever it may be. I care not but work. It is God's greatest blessing to man, Work. Second: I would have everyone an assurance of livelihood. And right there, fellow students, let me call your attention to the fact that the whole world is witnessing a change. Everybody feels that we must change. Our present economic system is not right. This old depression will help us in more ways than one. There is something wrong students when one of the students of this school, one of our girls, (. . .ron),, must go hungry and other in Idaho burning wheat for fuel because it is cheaper than coal. And those are facts that have come to my attention within the last week. That is the burning of wheat was last winter. There is a surplus of everything but men and women are hungry. Now there is something to do to bring about and adjustment. That woman who sat in this class (. . .) You are sitting tonight, and it seems only last week is entitled to an assurance of a livelihood and so is her husband. That is the second thing and the third is: That work and that assurance taken together should be for the development of the soul.

Consider the lilies how they grow, consider them and get your lesson. Throwing their roots down into the soil and getting from the earth the substance and pushing up through the soil until the flowers blooms and is perpetuated in its seed. So man with his training, his hands, his nerves, all that God has given him takes form the earth that which gives him a livelihood. What (. . .) That the soul, the spirit, the eternal part of man may blossom in the sunlight of heaven and bask in the sunshine of youth. That is your philosophy of life. Aren't we equal to it? And give everyone a chance. Well, employ your time, in anchoring your thoughts. Study, I needn't tell you that. Nobody can keep you from studying after you have taken these droughts from the well of knowledge. Nobody can keep you from it. You know what those joys and intellects are but be steady in your study.

Before I left for Los Angeles last week, there was placed on my desk a letter, a part of which I was going to read to you. The post script to it said: Brother McKay will you read this please, and let me know what you think of it. He states his reasons for or why he cannot believe in the immortality of man. And scientifically, he states that he must in everything accept only that which he can prove, which he can demonstrate in the ch(. . .) room or in the chemical laboratory. He says there are only two churches with which he can deal in regard to this subject and one of them is the Mormon Church. Now you would expect a man like this to deal with it scientifically, and he says he has studied, while I doubt him, I question that he gives the scientific test to our Church, because he mentions the Book of Mormon. If that was only once, we would say that it was a typographical error but three times mentioned which shows that he is not even acquainted with our literature at all. Aren't there things which you know but which you cannot be demonstrated? That which you know as you know nothing else in this world, but you cannot demonstrate it, you can't even express it to me, and yet you know as you know nothing else, is the most real thing to you in the world. What is it? Your thought. You say you know that flower but you students know that you can analyze it and soon get down to the atom and then to the electron and what do you know about it. You know that old world don't you but it would be a different old world if you were up in the air ten miles and looking down through the mist that surrounds it. There are worlds you cannot see with the human eye alone but when you put the telescope in the heavens then these real things aren't real with you. You know I can't present the (. . .) Ought to you. I remember that I told to the students of this very school that old story that you can't express you thought anymore than a teacher could express the new word narrative to her class. The little children never heard it before but the teacher knew it. It was very common to her. She told them that a narrative was a short tale. She told the class to go home and write for her a story in which they used correctly the word narrative. Alright, Johnnie was the boy that came prepared the next morning. When the teacher asked for the story eh rose and read the following story, AMy rabbit has two big ears, two eyes, and a narrative.

A short tail meant an entirely different thing to him. The thought may not be expressed but you know it. Can you prove love? No, but you know when you love. Of course you boys thought you have when you didn't. But the love of your mother for that little baby, you know mother as you know nothing else. You can't demonstrate it. We have listened to inspiring music, well you know something about music. Miss Emmitt knows something about it. The authors know the notes, the themes; but she knows the music and expressed it but there is something she can't prove. A murderer can perform an experiment and do it in a given time but only the righteous can prove that god inspires. Only the pure in heart can see god. It takes ages perhaps, but righteousness will exalt a nation and you know it will.

(Tells of a letter a father received saying that his son was having trouble in away at school. Various responses from fathers sent by telegram were given.) A(. . .) I will but you off without a schilling if you disgrace the family. And a fifth father said: Steady my boy. Steady. Father. That is all I want to say. You are employing your youth, getting (. . .tting) everything the old world can give you from every source. Anchor steady before you launch off into any conclusions contrary to the ideals of old Weber of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

How shall we conserve our keep youth as we go on and the old thoughts of winter of life comes to us after we can still be young? (. . .) you will have those experiences which will fill your age, the (. . .ll), the autumn, and the winter of life with pleasant memories (. . .n) cherish your friends. It is the sweetest possession in all the world. You have only a few, just a few but keep them, and in that way you get them by doing something for them; loosing yourself for the good of others. That is the way and while you go through youth, keep your bodies clean and pure and never wrong a woman nor a man.

Do you remember that passage in As You Like It? I think it is one of the gems of that great play. It is expressed by Adam. You remember the story when Orlando was being driven out by his jealous brothers, cut off without a schilling. Orlando didn't know what to do but finally he concluded to go and take the fortune, the savings of his old servant, Adam, but he didn't want to take his servant. That picture of that old servant saying: Take me along, is one of the beautiful sayings in that play. What he said about the winter of age is full of lesson tonight: Let me be your servant: though I look old, yet I am strong and lusty; in my youth I never did apply how and rebellious liquors to my blood, nor did not with unbashful forehead woo the means of meanness and debility therefore my age is as a lusty winter, frosty, and kindly.

Students, enjoy your youth, employ it, conserve it. And who (. . .) about forty years hence, forty years there may be a discovery of a world. For there are world to be discovered, there are wars to win, there are scientific truths to give to the world, there are poems to be written, there are sermons to be preached, there are nations to be saved, there are new forms of government to be established. Youth go out and make these discoveries. May I conclude in word that are better than my own.

Opportunity

With doubt and dismay you are smitten

You think there's no chance for you, son?

Why, the best books haven't been written

The best race hasn't been run,

The best score hasn't been made yet,

The best song hasn't been sung,

The best tune hasn't been played yet,

Cheer up, for the world is young.

No chance? Why the world is just eager

For things that you ought to create

Its store of true wealth is still meager

Its need are incessant and great,

It yearns for more power and beauty

More laughter and love and romance,

More loyalty, labor and duty,

No change--why there's nothing but chance!

For the best verse hasn't been rhymed yet,

The best house hasn't been planned,

The highest peak hasn't been climbed yet,

The mightiest rivers aren't spanned,

Don't worry and fret, fainthearted,

The changes have just begun,

For the best jobs haven't been started,

The best work hasn't been done.

--Berton Braley

May these blessings come to you students who leave this old college and I ask it in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

McKay, D. O. "Address to the Graduates." Weber College, 29 May 1929. Archives, Weber State University, Ogden, UT.