A total of 343 graduates from 33 different countries were recognized at the commencement ceremony in the Cannon Activities Center on Thursday, June 8. The special guest speaker Elder Ulisses Soares, of the presidency of the Seventy, advised the graduates to seek happiness and not just pleasure. “Pleasure pleases us, but it only endures for a short time. Happiness requires a long sustaining effort for something more important in life.”
President John Tanner opened the commencement asking graduates to stand if they met a certain requirement he asked, such as if they speak a second language, are a convert, or the first in their family to graduate from college.
He then addressed the graduates with his message titled “To be good is to be great.” He quoted Elder Maxwell, “Heavenly Father wants us to come home with our real resume, that is ourselves. We are important to God not because of our resume, but because we are His children.”
He emphasized to graduates the difference between a worldly and real resume. “Who you are is your real resume,” said Tanner. “A real resume opens portals of heaven resulting happiness in this life and the life to come.”
Following him was the student graduation speaker, Jared Lucenta, a senior from the Philippines who graduated in accounting. In his speech, he quoted President Monson, “The future is as bright as your faith.”
Lucenta shared the story of when his baby son had seizures. “It was one of the biggest trials I encountered.” He said, “A Mormon ad popped into my mind that says, ‘I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you.’ Despite all the trials, let us fear not.”
Mark B. Woodruff, assistant to the commissioner of the Church Educational System and secretary to the boards, said in his remarks to graduates, “God’s ways are not man’s ways. His ways are always higher than ours.”
Woodruff reminded the graduates to be patient if they are not sure what to do next. “Put your trust in the Lord and you will be blessed with guidance.” He continued, “Seek to know the will of the Lord. Humble obedience will result to unexpected blessings.”
Following the remarks, graduate Kaitlyn Bourne performed a musical selection, “Song to the Moon,” accompanied by Stacy McCarrey, special instructor of music, on the piano.
The final speaker was Elder Ulisses Soares, a member of the presidency of the Seventy, he advised the graduates to pursue five paths of happiness.
The first was path to virtue. Second, he counseled the graduates to follow the path of righteousness. He said, “What you are is more important than what you have.” Third, he advised the graduates not to waver in faith. Fourth, he reminded the graduates to study the scriptures everyday. Soares added, “A righteous man knows he needs to improve.” The last path of happiness is keeping the commandments of God.
Following his remarks, each graduate walked on stage to receive their diploma holder. Family members and friends cheered when their graduates’ names were called. Some members even used an air horn.
Rachel Holcombe, a graduate in accounting from Illinois, said the highlight of the ceremony was getting her diploma. “It feels great to graduate though I’m sad to leave the island.”
Orkhon Erdenemunkh, an accounting graduate from Mongolia, said she feels very happy and accomplished to graduate and advised all undergraduates to study hard and do their best.