[Introduction on] President David O. McKay

December 14, 1954

Brigham Young University

[1] The life of President David O. McKay is distinguished by a singular embodiment of the highest ideals—both spiritual and educational—which are espoused by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its people.

He was born September 8, 1873 at Huntsville, Utah, the first son of David and Jennette Evans McKay, and through them received the rich cultural heritage of his Scottish and Welsh forebears. His early life was spent on the family farm in Huntsville where he developed a love of the outdoors, of animals, and of sports, which still characterizes him.

In 1897 he was graduated from the University of Utah as president and valedictorian of his class, and entered directly upon a two-year mission in Great Britain. On his return he became a member of the faculty of Weber Stake Academy at Ogden (later Weber College), and less than three years later, at the age of 29, he became its principal. There his rich talents as teacher and administrator enriched the lives of the many students and associates who came under his influence.

Four years later, in 1906, he was ordained a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and became also a member of the General Superintendency of the Deseret Sunday School Union and a member of the Church Board of Education. He continued as a member of the Board of Trustees of Weber Academy, and later served as Church Commissioner of Education.

President McKay has been one of the greatest missionaries of the Church. In 1920–1921 he made a world tour of the LDS missions, during which he dedicated the land of China for the preaching of the Gospel. The following year he became president of the European Mission, and opened the Armenian Mission in 1924. In recent years he has also visited missions of the church in Europe, South America and South Africa.

In 1934 he was sustained as second counselor to President Heber J. Grant in the First Presidency of the Church, and served in this position for eleven years. He served also in the same capacity during the presidency of George Albert Smith from 1945 to 1951. On April 9, 1951 he was sustained as President of the Church.

President McKay has been an inspiring leader in education throughout his life. In addition to his service on the Church Board of Education and as Church Commissioner of Education from 1919 to 1921, he served as a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Utah, as president of the Board of Trustees of Utah State Agricultural College, and as a member and now president of the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University. In recognition of his great service and leadership there have been conferred upon him honorary doctorate degrees from Brigham Young University, Utah State Agricultural College, University of Utah and Temple University.

President McKay married Emma Ray Riggs on January 2, 1901. They have four sons and two daughters.

[2] President Ernest L. Wilkinson

Tribute—The Early Life of President McKay

One hundred and four years ago, the family of William McKay was converted to the Church in Scotland. In the same year the family of Thomas Evans was converted to the Church in Wales. Neither family knew each other.

Both families, independent of each other, set sail for America in 1856. Both families were obliged for economic reasons to live for three years in other parts of the country before taking the final wagon trail to Salt Lake Valley. Both families, still unknown to each other, arrived in the promised land of religious freedom and hard work within two weeks of each other, in August of 1859.

Some ten years later, David McKay, one of the sons in the McKay clan, then 25 years of age, married Jennette Evans, 18 years of age, one of the daughters of the Evans clan. He took his bride to a new log cabin, which he had built on his homestead in Huntsville, located 12 miles east of Ogden, in Ogden Valley, one of the most beautiful green valleys in all the world.

This valley also includes the town of Eden and Liberty, and over the hill in Cache Valley is the town of Paradise. According to the Huntsville translation of Holy Writ, the sequence of salvation starts first in Eden, where, upon receiving one's freedom, one moves to Liberty, where, after voluntary obedience to the commandments, he moves over the hill to Paradise, from which, at the day of judgement, if he gets a passing grade, he moves back over the hill to Heavenly Huntsville. The other towns dispute this sequence. Paradise, for instance, claims that, if Milton had ever visited there, he would have written, not "Paradise Lost," but "Paradise Found."

As a boy, when I spent my youth trying to farm on arid land west of Ogden, I used to dream that someday I might be able to take just one day off and go to Ogden Valley and lie undisturbed on a warm summer day in its green, verdant fields of timothy, clover, and red top. But that day never came, for, since my father had never had the advantage of even a complete grammar school education, the word vacation fortunately never became a part of his vocabulary. He, too, had come from Scotland and, as you students know, is now living with us and is now in his 91st year. Like his Scotch countrymen, he wants for a nominal consideration to have as long a lease on this life as the good Landlord will permit.

In any event, it was in Huntsville, of this sacred marriage, that David O. McKay, the son of David McKay, was born on September 8, 1873, the third child and first son. Two daughters had been borne [3] in the original log cabin, but by the time of his birth his enterprising father had built a stone home and David was the first to be born in the new home. Thus, his father's industry deprived him of the historical honor of having been born in a log cabin. Seven other children, a total of ten, were eventually to bless his father's and mother's home.

David was ushered into the world by Mary Heathman Smith, lovingly known as "Grandma Smith," a more than an ordinary midwife, who delivered all ten of the McKay children. Young David was a very energetic child. Once his mother asked his aunt to take care of him while she prepared to cook for the "threshers." After a short interval, the aunt proposed, "If you'll just take care of that boy, I'll cook for the threshers."

"His childhood was a happy one; his pleasures were those every child longs for and enjoys. He owned a dog, a pony, pigeons, rabbits, and a magpie that learned to talk."

His first great sorrow came when he was only seven. That year, Margaret, his oldest sister, became ill with rheumatic fever, from which she died. On the day of her funeral, the second daughter died of pneumonia. The first grave was enlarged, and the two were placed side by side as they had always been during their short lives of nine and eleven years.

"...one year later...David O.'s father received a call to do missionary work in Scotland. Another baby was expected shortly, and the father was reluctant to leave his wife with the responsibility of the family and the farm, for which the last payment had recently been made," and which they were planning to enlarge.

However, the mother, Jennette Evans McKay, equal to any sacrifice, insisted on her husband's accepting the call and leaving with the company of missionaries he was expected to join. And so, in 1881, the father left, and David O.'s childhood came to an end. His father had asked him to "take care of mama" during his absence, and from that moment he assumed responsibility far beyond his years.

"The new baby daughter, the sixth in the family, arrived ten days after her father's departure, but the news of her birth did not reach him until after he was settled in Scotland. Then, as always during his mission, the mother would write, 'Everything at home is going smoothly, and we are all well, so you must not worry about us.'"

By surmounting all difficulties, this great mother kept her two sons, David O. and Thomas E., in school. They were taught to assume their part of the home duties, which they did willingly because it was "helping mamma." David was taught to take his turn in family prayer, and the little group was united more closely than it could have been without this wonderful institution.

With the assistance of her husband's Priesthood quorum, the spring planting was done, and the season was a good one for bounteous crops. Hay brought a good price, but grain was down, so the family was advised to keep that part of the harvest until prices advanced. At some sacrifice, this was done, and in the spring the price of grains was higher than it had ever been before, and as a result, there was a fair-sized bank account at the end of the season.

"Encouraged by their success, the mother and son found the following year profitable, and their bank account increased until they felt justified in making the addition to the home which had previously been planned..." This addition was made without the knowledge of the absent missionary and was a wonderful surprise when he returned in 1883.

When the father returned, he was made bishop of the Eden Ward; later, bishop of the Huntsville Ward, which position he held for 20 years. Later he was appointed Patriarch of the Weber Stake and, as such, was loved and honored by his stake in much the same way and to the same degree as the people of the Church today love, honor, and respect his son.

When David O. was only 13 years old, John Smith, the Patriarch to the Church, called at the McKay home and, while there, gave young David a patriarchal blessing, in which he exhorted him to "be taught of thy parents the way of life and salvation, that at an early day you may be prepared for a responsible position, for the eye of the Lord is upon thee...The Lord has a work for thee to do in which thou shalt see much of the world, assist in gathering scattered Israel, and also labor in the ministry. It shall be thy lot to sit in counsel with they brethren and to preside among the people and exhort the Saints to Faithfulness.

From these tragedies and serious events it should not be thought that young David O.'s childhood was devoid of fun or boyhood sports. He knew and enjoyed all of the crooks and crannies of the old swimming hole in Ogden River, was an avid horseback rider, his great love being that of "breaking horses," playing second baseman on the village baseball team, went in for dancing in the good old days, when you danced with at least 20 girls in the same evening instead of having your attention monopolized by one, and during which, in the Virginia Reel, you got exercise as well as recreation, played the [4] piano in the Huntsville dance orchestra, took part in debating and dramatics, sang in the Glee Club, and was a champion "marble shooter." After having been given his patriarchal blessing, Patriarch Smith said to him, "My boy, you have something to do besides playing marbles." On hearing that, David went to the kitchen, where his mother was preparing dinner, and indignantly declared: "If he thinks I am going to stop playing marbles, he is mistaken." The wise mother sat down with her son and explained what Brother Smith really meant.

Of all these activities he liked best of all to break horses. That was a teaching job, and young David O. was a born teacher. "He taught horses by being kind. His animals obeyed him because they seemed to like to, not because of the sting of a whip or stick or harsh words. He did not chase horses to catch them in the pasture. He called them.

"Almost daily, he would jump astride a favorite mare, without a bridle or halter and ride it bareback to the post office, about four blocks away, for the mail. There he would lift the bars to the adjoining vacant lot and let the mare in. When ready to return, he called the horse to him and galloped back home."

In modern terms, Young David O. matriculated in the Huntsville College of Fine Arts, where he obtained his training in debating, dramatics, piano, and glee club, and in the Eden College of Athletics, where he obtained his training in swimming, fishing, horseback riding, baseball, and dancing. Then, however instead of receiving college credit for the dubious course of "fly-casting," he received his compensation in actually pulling out the trout. With him also athletics were not simulated. There were not athletic subsidies, nor was David O. ever diagnosed as having "spectatoritis." In fact, in the early days there was no student health center nor any doctor to do any diagnosing.

He also sampled some courses in the College of Biological and Agricultural Science in Liberty and the Division of Religion in Paradise. The teachings in these colleges were merged as they always are in Mormon philosophy. The temporal cannot be separated from the spiritual.

In a meeting in the Salt Lake Temple Annex in 1941, he told of one of the lessons he learned in these fields of education:

"Here in your presence I am going to thank my earthly father for the lesson he gave to two boys in a hayfield. We had driven out to the field to get the tenth load of hay, and we drove over into a part of the meadow where we had last loaded the ninth, where there was wire grass and slough grass, and we started to load the hay, but Father called out, 'No, boys, drive over on the higher ground.' There was timothy and red top there. But one of the boys, and it was I, called back, 'No father, let us take the hays as it comes.' But my father answered, 'No, David, that is the tenth load, and the best is none too good for God.'

"That was the best sermon on tithing I ever heard in my life, and it touches, I found later in life, this very principle of the law of sacrifice. You cannot develop a character without obeying that law."

It was also as a lad in Huntsville that David O. learned from his father the lesson of arising early in the morning. I have heard his father expound the same concept. As a young boy I once rode to Slat Lake City on the old Bamberger Interurban Railroad to attend a General Conference of the Church. I noticed a very distinguished looking elderly man (the man turned out to be President McKay's father) in the car, every bit as distinguished looking as President McKay. I was so attracted that I sat down in the seat behind him and listened in on his conversation. Speaking to his seat mate, he quoted many times, as though he were memorizing from the Doctrine and Covenants. Indeed, by the time we arrived in Salt Lake City, I had memorized it. It will be found in the 88th Chapter of the Doctrine and Covenants:

Cease to be idle, cease to be unclean; cease to find fault with one another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to they bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

With that training President McKay, now in his 82nd year, will often get to his office between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. in the morning and not depart until after 6:00 p.m. And I am happy to report President McKay that the student leaders of this institution are following the example of your father and you, for the Student Legislative Council of this institution holds its regular sessions at 6:00 a.m.

After completing the elementary schools in Huntsville, David O. attended Weber Stake Academy in Ogden. He remained there for two years and then returned to Huntsville as a teacher in the public school.

It was his habit in the horse and buggy days while often traveling between Ogden and Huntsville and indeed while hauling hay in the fields, to carry books with him and memorize passages from the Bible, Shakespeare, Tennyson and Scott. The ability he acquired in those days to suddenly [5] look up from his book and get the team back on the road, probably accounts for his dexterity with the modern automobile. This is the only situation in which we urge you not to follow his example--if you do you may have need for poetry.

Then, to earn additional money in the summer to enable him to attend a university he carried an Ogden daily paper on horseback to the mining town of La Platta. He left each morning at 7 o'clock, returning about 5:00 p.m.

When ready for college his choices were limited. Unlike President Olpin and I who later chose to attend this institution, he had no such choice for the B.Y.U. had not yet entered upon college work. So, influenced in part by a $10 scholarship obtained through the influence of Mosiah Hall, his teacher at Huntsville, he entered the University of Utah, where without purse or scrip he played on the university's champion football team and without any modern campus political campaign was elected President of his class. Two sisters and one brother attended at the same time. Now that this University has come into its own his young disciples at Huntsville flock to this campus. Last year's studentbody President was one of them.

David O.'s days at the University of Utah were among the most important of his life, "for it was there he met Emma Ray Riggs, who later became his wife, and charming mother of his seven children, most of whom are here today, and who was last year selected as Utah's mother of the year. When the young people first met, David O. was 'going out' with a beautiful classmate, and Ray was engaged to a fine young man in the business world.

"David had made arrangements to teach the year following his graduation and was greatly perturbed when he received a letter asking him to do missionary work in Great Britain. In his family no one had ever refused a call to work in any capacity in the Church, and this tradition probably assisted him in his decision to change his own plans and spend two years as a missionary.

"By that time there were four brothers and four sisters in the McKay household, and his leaving was the first break in the family circle. While everyone was proud of his worthiness and willingness to go, there was sadness at parting."

At the dedication of a chapel in Charlottenburg, Germany, in 1952, President McKay told of a prayer he had made in his youth and its answer while on this mission. I quote his words:

When I was a young man, I realized that the greatest blessing in life would be [7] to know that God lives and that He has restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believed it...But I did not know it. I thought then that the only way to know it would be by some voice from Heaven, or some transformation in one's soul.

So, one day when I was riding my horse on the hills east of our home, there on the mountainside I dismounted, let my horse rest, and knelt under a service berry bush, uncovered my head and prayed with all the earnestness of my soul, that I might receive a manifestation that God is my Father and that the Gospel is true. I prayed earnestly, but when I arose...I said to myself, "I'm just the same boy that I was before I prayed--no change, no manifestation, just the same boy..."

I remember praying again, out in the meadow, but I had no manifestation, and I might have concluded that the Lord had not answered my prayers.

Five years after that prayer, I was in Scotland as a missionary, president of the Glasgow Conference. We were holding a conference with elders...As the meeting progressed, and the spirit became intense, one of the visiting elders arose and said, Brethren, there are angels in this room!" Well, it seemed at that time that it was perfectly natural! I was feeling what I wanted to experience on the sidehill. If the meeting had closed then, I should have felt that at least the Father had answered my prayer...

But a more important thing happened at that meeting: Brother James McMurrin, President of the European Mission and one of the noblest men I ever knew, arose and said, "...Brother McKay, Satan hath desired you," quoting the words of the Savior, (Luke 22:31), "But I have prayed the Father for you, and if you will keep the commandments and live as the Lord requires you will yet sit in the presiding councils of the Church." That prophecy was uttered when I was a young, unmarried man, over 54 years ago! The Lord had answered that prayer of the boy on the hillside.

President Stephen L. Richards

Dedicatory Address and Prayer

[8] Mr. Chairman, President McKay, President Clark, members of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, the studentbody, and other friends of the University. This day we give our salutations to a noble profession and to an able and distinguished representative of that profession.

The underlying educational concept at Brigham Young University is twofold; first, the orderly development of the mind, the intelligence with which God has endowed his children, and secondly, the acquisition of knowledge and skills devoted to the blessing of humanity and the building of our Father's Kingdom in the earth. For the accomplishment of these high purposes the University has provided many facilities, buildings and establishments, perhaps none with more significance and promise than that on which we center our attention on this occasion.

Of course the whole University program is built upon the teaching process. On the campus today stands an education building just completed, devoted to the specific purpose of teaching teachers how to teach, and equipping them with an understanding of human and social behavior that they may rise to meet the overwhelming challenge which the responsibilities of their profession impose upon them.

In this University the teaching profession is impressed with a special trust. Not only must they who follow it be devoted to the cultivation of the mind and the impartation of knowledge, but they must be largely, if not chiefly, concerned with the things of the spirit, with the prime purpose of preparing the student for the acceptance of divine revelation. This latter objective may be realized only through inter-communion of soul with soul, and the sharing of testimony and spiritual influence.

History tells us that other universities in the land have had their founding laid in high spiritual principles such as we proclaim for our own school. We now know that some institutions so founded have in large measure at least abandoned the concepts cherished by their founders, and have so subordinated everything spiritual contemplated in their original charters that their devout founders must look with dismay on the failure to carry out initial intentions.

This must not and will not happen in the Brigham Young University of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is almost inconceivable that anyone, either within or without the institution, would put forth any effort to swerve the University from the achievements of its fundamental purposes as laid down by its founders. If any such movement should ever be attempted I am sure it will be futile. Such efforts might retard our progress, but they will never change our course. The revelations of God will always be taught and fostered in this University.

Does that sound reactionary and narrow-minded to you, patrons and friends of this school? I hope it does not. I think I have as much respect and as deep a regard for men and women of outstanding intelligence whose learning and achievements have brought such inestimable contributions to the welfare of human society as my own limited education and intelligence will permit. I love education. I stand in awe in the presence of a great mind, and in veneration under the influence of a great heart. Here we are seeking all truth with willing hearts and minds to receive and employ it. When it comes to us, from science or whatever source, we thank God, the author of all truth for it, and in any discovery, however much we may owe to the patient researchers and students for their disclosures, we never fail to recognize the Lord as the author of creation, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, and the Giver [9] of every good and perfect gift.

I think it is fortunate that we lay this emphasis on teaching--perhaps the major emphasis--in all our University work. I think the president of the University will concede that this is so. I am sure that he will not contend that the major emphasis is placed on competitive athletics.

It is also fortunate, most fortunate, for the sponsor and the patrons of the University that in our estimate and concept of the great art of teaching there is available to us an outstanding living exemplar in this noble profession. It is in recognition of his distinctive contribution to this profession that the newly erected educational building is being given its name. How appropriate and fitting and stimulating is the naming of this building by action of the board of trustees honoring this man, his capable and charming wife and family.

Here is a great teacher, one of whose fundamental concepts in pedagogy is that there can be no adequate teaching of youth without personality, without making every truth and principle taught a motivating factor in the life and living of the individual. The very naming of this building will bring personality to it, if that is possible with inanimate things. The name will connote high principles and effective methods which will characterize the teaching processes carried forward in the structure. It will be a constant reminder to both instructors and students.

And the name will serve these purposes because of the man who bears the name. Here is a teacher distinctive, set apart from other teachers of the world. In his younger days he carried on his profession in the classroom and in the administration of a school. Through native endowment, industry, and study, he acquired great proficiency in the educational processes. Those who were in his classes, in his school, a half century ago remember him with great affection and gratitude and their children have been told of the influence of his personality on the lives of their parents. But, after all, the lives of those touched immediately by his classroom work are relatively few in number. In his young manhood he was called from his principalship of an academy to be a teacher in the Kingdom of our Lord. He never deserted his profession. He expanded it. He dignified it, and he glorified it.

The Sunday Schools of the Church were the first beneficiaries of his art. He did much to bring order into their teaching. Uniform courses of study were established. The aims and objectives of lessons were clarified, and immeasurable inspiration given to the teachers of this great organization for the application of Gospel principles in making Latter-day Saints. The procedures fostered by him had influence in all the organizations of the church. He brought untold improvement in their teaching procedure. His constant advocacy of personality as a potent factor in education has proved to be of inestimable value throughout the years.

His attitude toward teaching has come about naturally from his abiding interest and faith in the individual. Every little boy or girl, and grown ones too, who has heard him speak to them has been made to feel that his or her individual welfare was the intimate concern of this great teacher. I am thinking of the hosts of boys who have been touched and impressed by his simple illustration of ejecting a drop of ink from his fountain pen into a glass of clear water to indicate the pollution of sin on the innate virtue of a human soul. So all who have come within the radiation of his teaching have been made to feel, not only that they have been enlightened by his exposition of truth, but they have a friend deeply concerned in their individual welfare. May this not be--I direct the question to members of the profession far better equipped to answer better than I--may this not be the very epitome of the teaching art--to enlighten and befriend?

The activities and influence of the great teacher whom we honor today have not been confined to narrow limits. Since coming to the Apostleship the whole Church, with all its organizations, including particularly the Department of Education, the Colleges, Schools, Institutes, and Seminaries, have all been the immediate beneficiaries of his outstanding accomplishments and contributions in the field of education. In latter years his influence and service have been extended and expanded far beyond the areas where the major congregations and establishments of the Church are located. He has visited many countries and contacted important personalities in many sections of the world. The press has accorded to him and his labors wide publicity. I am sure that it is not going beyond the realm of factual statement to say that he has become a world figure. Only recently, as all present will know, he has been accorded honors of unusual distinction by a great eastern university, an international medical organization and the King of Greece. Throughout all these expressions of high acclaim, he has ever maintained the humility of spirit inherent in his Apostolic calling. He is true servant and divinely chosen representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose beautiful doctrine of service has ever characterized his life. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, [10] ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

And now my brethren and sisters, if you could be elevated to a proper angle of vision, turning your eyes to the east, you would behold a beautiful structure, capacious and symmetrical, erected on a commanding site. In the background are the lofty, inspiring peaks of the Wasatch Mountains. Looking out to the west across the valley, with shimmering lake between are the mountains of the Uinta Range. A panorama of fertile fields, industrial development, and cities and villages of homes, meets your view, all of which represents but a small segment of the society which this great building is to serve.

With such visualization in mind, will you now join with me in the discharge of my assignment in offering the dedicatory prayer for this splendid acquisition to the campus of the University named after our Prophet-Teacher, President David O. McKay.

O God, our Eternal Father, we assemble before Thee this day as students, faculty, officers, and friends of the Brigham Young University. We invoke Thy Spirit upon us as we approach Thee in prayer. May each heart be touched with its influence, and may our supplications ascend to Thee in unity of desire and thanksgiving.

Our Father, we thank Thee for the University which bears the name of Thy chosen Prophet who was called to lead Thy Saints and establish them in this region of the Rocky Mountains. We thank Thee for the inspiration which brought about its founding, and for the simple but lofty principles embodied in its charter. We thank Thee for the support given to the University through the success administrations of They servants, the presidents of the Church. We thank Thee for the great and good men who have presided over the school, for the inspiring teachers, and for the growth as an instrumentality of service in Thy Kingdom. We are grateful for the present administration of the school, and for the outstanding progress it has made in recent years.

We thank Thee for the beneficent influence it has brought into the lives of youth, into the homes and communities of the people, and for the contribution it has made in spreading the truths of the Restored Gospel, and in inculcating higher ideals of service and living among all men.

We give special thanks to Thee for the faith and devotion of the members of They Church and Kingdom in the earth, for the evidence of their worship and loyalty to the cause in the payment of their tithes and offerings, which have made possible the accelerated development of this and other institutions in the Church.

O God, bless every faithful man and woman and child in Thy Church with the enduring peace and satisfaction of assurance that his or her compliance with the principles of the Gospel and the laws of the Lord has made possible the marvelous expansion of the Kingdom in these latter days.

Now, our Father, we bring before Thee a new structure erected on the campus of the University named after Thy chosen servant, the President of Thy Church, the David O. McKay Building of Brigham Young University, a building whose facilities are designed to be utilized by the [11] Department of Education and the College of the Humanities and Social Sciences. We thank Thee, our Father, for the concept of this building and the high purposes it is to subserve coming from President Wilkinson and his associates in the administration of the University. We thank Thee for the architects who have prepared the plans, and for the contractors, the artisans and the workmen who executed the plans, and for everyone who has made contribution to bring about the completion of this notable project.

In humility of spirit, with thanksgiving in our hearts, in the authority of the Holy Priesthood, under appointment of the Presidency of Thy Church, we now present the David O. McKay Building unto Thee our Father, and dedicate it and consecrate it that it may fully subserve the plans and lofty purposes designed for it as a part of the establishments of the Brigham Young University. We include within this dedication the grounds on which the building stands, its foundations, walls, roof, halls, rooms, offices, and every part and parcel thereof, all to be devoted to Thy work and the blessing of Thy children.

O Lord, we pray Thee to accept this offering and this dedication. Manifest to us and to all who shall instruct or be instructed in this beautiful structure Thine acceptance and Thine approval. Let Thy Holy Spirit dwell within the building, that all whom come may know that it typifies education in its higher and nobler aspects. Let it ever stand for the worth of souls in Thy sight.

May all the teachings projected within it be calculated to increase love of God and fellowman. Let virtue "garnish" the thinking of all who study therein. Rebuke the spirit of rebellion against Thy word. Frustrate apostasy and denial of divine providence and Thy Lordship. Temper all teachings with wisdom, tolerance, love and consideration. Give strength to teacher and student alike to stand firmly for right and truth, unwavering in testimony and devotion.

O Lord, Thou knowest the compelling need for truth, for righteousness, and peace in a distracted and turbulent world. May there go forth from this noble structure year after year those prepared, fortified in the truth, to carry to the youth and children of men Thy solution to perplexing problems. Herein let the great profession of teaching be exalted to the lofty goals of preparing men for service to their fellowmen, in preparing them also to come back into the presence of Thee, our Eternal Father.

We pray Thee, our Heavenly Father, to cause that the noble example of him whose name the building bears in faithfulness, in devotion, in integrity, and in capacity to teach the true lessons of life, may ever stimulate the aspirations of teachers and students within this great building.

We, his associates, his friends, and admirers join in a prayer this day that these services may bring a measure of satisfaction and comfort to him. We pray for continuing health and strength and inspiration to be his portion, that we, the whole church and the world, may continue to be blessed by his example and his teaching.

With grateful hearts we commend this great Institution and our lives to Thy keeping, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

President David O. McKay


[12] President Wilkinson, President Richards, President Clark, and other members of the Board of Trustees, President Olpin of the University of Utah, President Harris, former president of our two state institutions, Senator Wallace F. Bennett, again President Wilkinson and members of the faculty, students, and patrons of the Brigham Young University.

This is a soul-stirring hour; in my educational career, the most significant of my life. To be associated here on this sacred occasion with fellow teachers, with my fellow workers in the ministry and their beloved wives, to be in your midst, my dear fellow students, to listen to words of encomium, unmerited, has moved my spirits to their depths. I sense a feeling of expanding gratitude, and increased sense of responsibility such as I have never before experienced.

I rejoice with you in the fact that the facilities of the Brigham Young University are this day enhanced by the addition of another new building, containing 31 classrooms, as we have heard, and 104 offices. With this feeling of satisfaction, I share with you a feeling of pride of our membership in the Church that so munificently supports an institution that has taken its place among the leading universities of our land, and which is destined to become the greatest church university in the world.

In naming this new addition the "David O. McKay" Building, you bestow upon Sister McKay, our children, our grandchildren, and our brothers and sisters, a great honor, for which I now in their behalf extend to you our heart-felt thanks. Your tributes have awakened many cherished thoughts and, I repeat, have stirred my emotions deeply. Briefly, I shall try to express some of these feelings, first, in gratitude; and, second, in acknowledging a keen sense of added responsibility.

First, I express gratitude to my beloved counselor Stephen L. Richards, for his tribute, and for his dedicatory prayer. I appreciate it more because he is man of great intellect, with strength of character to choose and to defend the right, whose success is built on honesty, and integrity--a loyal, trusted friend, a noble soul, one of God's chosen servants. Most greatly I acknowledge his advice, counselorship, and that of our fellow worker, President Clark.

I am grateful for the restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith without which fellow students, we should not be here today;

To William McKay and Ellen Oman, his wife; Thomas Evans and Margaret Powell, his wife. They accepted the Gospel, as already explained, by President Wilkinson, the McKays in Scotland, the Evanses in Wales;

For the land of the United States of America where every soul is free "to choose his life and what he will be." What blessings these are for all of us--the revelations of God in a land of individual freedom! Aren't you stirred this morning as you sense these divine blessings?

I am also grateful for the divine admonition to "seek out of the best books words of wisdom: To seek learning, even by study as also by faith."--An institution following that admonition!--

For President Brigham Young and his associates who by inspiration founded this institution, and for the great men and women from Karl G. Maeser and succeeding presidents and instructors through nearly four decades to President Wilkinson and the present faculty.

For a Board of Trustees with clear vision and sound judgment and faith in the future of this great school;

For the institution, the university, that makes character and faith in God the paramount purpose for "character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be fit to live as well as to think." Every university is founded to seek truth. That is [13] its mission. Here in this University you may feel perfectly free to kneel down and to ask God to guide you in that search for truth and to give you power to live it.

These are but a few of the thoughts that have stirred my soul and yours this day.

And now, what about the sense of responsibility?

No living, normal person can escape responsibility. To exist is to radiate. From the time of birth until he passes from the mortal stage every individual exerts some influence upon somebody else.

No stream from its source

Flows seaward, however lonely its course,

But what some land is gladden'd. No star ever rose

And set without influence somewhere. Who knows

What earth needs from earth's lowest creatures? No life

Can be pure in its purpose and strong in its strife

And all life not be purer and stronger thereby.

To instill into the hearts of students a love for truth is one of the prime purposes of this building we dedicate today, and all other buildings, and is the moving motive of the instructors who meet the yearning students who reach out for truth and to know the truth. I repeat, that is the purpose of all universities and here you have the obligation of teaching revealed Truth in addition to that which is discovered by man's intellect. The best way for a man to advance truth in this old world, to quote Jordan is, "To live it himself in thought, word, and deed,--to make himself a sun of personal radiation of truth, and to let his silent influence speak for truth and his direct acts glorify it so far as he can in his sphere of life and action."

Today you place that responsibility not only upon me, but upon those who bear the McKay name. Thousands of students will enter this building seeking truth, and the name that that building connotes carries the responsibility of exemplifying, radiating truth in their lives. That is my responsibility to the thousands of students who will study in this building dedicated today.

Thank you, God bless you, my dear fellow students, and may He direct the thousands who will yet come to this greatest of church universities, I humbly pray.

Proceedings of Dedication and Opening David O. McKay Building [14 December 1954]. Brigham Young University, Provo, Ut.

(See BYU Special Collections, Speeches of the Year Index)