Spencer W. Kimball said, “The uniqueness of BYU lies in its special role—education for eternity—which it must carry in addition to the usual tasks of a university. This means concern—curricular and behavioral—not only for the ‘whole man,’ but also for the ‘eternal man.’ Whereas all universities seek to preserve the heritage of knowledge that history has washed to their feet, this faculty has a double heritage—the preserving of knowledge of men and the revealed truths sent from heaven.” (“Climbing the Hills Just Ahead: Three Addresses,” Educating Zion [Provo: BYU Studies, 1996], 43.)
New Student Orientation this semester had this theme of education for eternity. The gallery contains many stories of those who understood this concept and consequently put their education as a high priority because. These stories are inspiring and help all of us remember the significance of our education at BYU, not just for our temporal welfare but for our eternal well-being.
One example of those who have made eternal education a priority was Brigham Young Academy’s first principal, Karl G. Maeser. He taught arithmetic, pedagogy, elocution, language, history, geography, and theology. The poor academy was short on resources, so he even worked as a janitor. No job was below this great man. Whether it was mopping a floor or comforting a new student, he was willing to do anything God required of him to build the academy.
At the beginning of a new semester, may each of us remember why we are at BYU and how we can use the education and experiences we gain here to better ourselves and others for eternity.