Over the past few weeks, I have found myself reflecting on my experiences here in the McKay School of Education. Those reflections immediately lead me to intense feelings of gratitude. When I joined the McKay School of Education 20 years ago, I did not know what remarkable experiences and wonderful friendships were in store. I feel much like Ammon as he reflected on his experiences as a missionary. 

How great reason have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great blessings? And now, I ask, what great blessings has he bestowed upon us? Can ye tell? (Alma 26:1–2)

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the many blessings the Lord has bestowed upon us both individually and collectively in the McKay School, and I feel great reason to rejoice! I hope the McKay School can always be a place for all—faculty, staff, and students alike—to come and receive great blessings; blessings such as supportive colleagues, a strong sense of belonging, profound friendships, deep learning and growth, and enduring testimony.  

Ammon’s experiences as a missionary were at times remarkable and even miraculous, but he also experienced significant challenges. Likewise, we have faced and will continue to face challenges in the McKay School. But those challenges play a vital role in the growth and change we experience, and become integral to the great blessings we receive. Moreover, overcoming such challenges together with patience, meekness, and love unfeigned is a critical part of the process of participating in the work of fulfilling the prophetic destiny of BYU. Throughout the “Second Century Address,” by President Kimball, he notes potential challenges, and reminds us that the path forward won’t be easy and will require much of us.   

We must take thought. We must make effort. We must be patient. We must be professional. We must be spiritual. Then, in the process of time, this will become the fully anointed ­university of the Lord about which so much has been spoken in the past.

There is still much work to do, and I am humbled by the continued opportunity to engage in this work with you as we strive to become more and more what the Lord wants us to become.

I am truly grateful for all of the amazing faculty, staff, and students in the McKay School. The gift we received at CLASS-Y Day last month was yet another reminder of the great blessings we all enjoy. As I wrote and received thank you notes from colleagues, I was again reminded of the blessing of working in the McKay School and my associations with each of you. Thank you for your example, for your grace, for your service, for your patience, for your friendship, for your testimony, and for the many ways you bless the lives of our students each and every day.