Jim Lee says people must have integrity to use modern technologies for good at annual McKay Lecture

Written by: 
Helam Lau

Dr. James Lee, dean of the College of Business, Computing, & Government, gave the annual McKay Lecture on Feb. 13 about the importance of having integrity in the use of modern technologies. Held in the CAC in place of the weekly Tuesday devotional, Lee’s talk, titled “Integrity: The Key to Trust, in Business and in Life.”


Lee explained integrity as a way to avoid the negative influences technology can have and focusing on its positive contributions. “If I could teach only one value to live by, it would be this: success will come and go, but integrity is forever. Integrity means doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching.


“It takes having the courage to do the right thing, no matter what the consequences will be. Building a reputation of integrity takes years, but it takes only a second to lose, so never allow yourself to ever do anything that would damage your integrity.”


Chiung Hwang Chen, the Chair of FAC, hosted and started off the Lecture by welcoming all those who attended. President Tanner presented an award in order to recognize the academic contribution Lee has made. Vice President of Academics John Bell introduced Lee as one of his dearest friends during the three years they had worked together.


Lee began his speech by explaining his own experience with the advancements of technology, which he called “one of the really exciting things in my lifetime.” He said, “To give you an idea of how old I am, the first television I remember watching only showed programs in black and white. I think I was about six years old when my family got its first color television. It was a big deal. … I remember how cool it was to watch Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color in color for the first time.


“I love technology and am grateful for the great good that comes from its advancement and its use. … But, as the prophet Lehi taught, there is an opposition in all things.”


He continued, “Though there is much good that can come from the use of technology, there is also great potential for these technologies to be used by individuals in very negative ways.


“Business information systems allow companies to operate effectively in an increasingly competitive global environment, but those same information systems provided opportunities for dishonest individuals working at companies like Enron and World.com to hide billions of dollars in debt and to falsify their financial statements, resulting in billions of dollars lost by investors.”


Another example he referred to was the LDS Church. “The church has created internet websites to share the gospel and to help in family history and temple work, yet others use the internet for things such as pornography or to promote hate among different races or cultures.”


“One last example that is close to home: university students can use the internet to research specific topics in order to write a class paper, but they can also find sources to purchase a research paper written by someone else.”


Dr. Lee ended his talk by bearing his testimony on D&C 124:15: “Blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith; for I, the Lord, love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he loveth that which is right before me, saith the Lord.”


Lee has a PhD in management information systems from the University of Arizona and a bachelor’s and master’s degree in accounting from BYU. The McKay Lecture is annual series designed to support distinguished members of the faculty with the opportunity to present insights from their fields of study and their reflections on the gospel, according to Chen.

Date Published: 
Saturday, February 24, 2018
Last Edited: 
Saturday, February 24, 2018