Gordon B. Hinckley encourages all to stand up for truth, for integrity, for loyalty, for all that is good. The world is counting on you.
This speech was given on September 17, 1996.
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It is an honor and a rare privilege to speak to this “stone-cold sober” gathering of university students.
You have done it again. You have made the national news. I was in Oregon on Sunday participating in a conference and read in the paper the Associated Press story of the Princeton Review’s “Advantage Guide to the Best 310 Colleges.”
Florida State University came out number one as the “party school” of the nation. George Washington University came out number two, and the University of Florida number three.
On the other side of the coin were the top 10 “stone-cold sober” schools.
Number one is Deep Springs College in Dyer, Nevada. I know nothing about that school. In fact, I had never before heard of Dyer, Nevada. I took occasion to look it up in my 1965 Rand McNally atlas. The map showed it to be very near the Nevada-California border, some distance from any large community. The population at the time my atlas was printed was 20 people. I am sure it has grown if it has a college.
I do not know the size of Deep Springs College, but I am confident that it in no way approaches the size of Brigham Young University, which was listed number two. I said to myself, “What a significant honor this is. It says in effect that BYU is judged to be the number one large university in terms of sobriety and a no-nonsense attitude on the part of the student body on why they are going to a university—that is, to gain an education to prepare for constructive careers.”
I followed down the column and discovered that the U.S. Military Academy at West Point followed BYU, and that this was followed by the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. I submit to you that you are in good company, the best the nation has to offer.
The story indicated that a young female music major at Florida State University, upon hearing of her school’s ranking, asked, “Where did we come in, in academics? Number 350?” (See The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, Sunday, 15 September 1996.)
I do not know how many of you were interviewed for this survey, but to you who responded, I offer my congratulations. You spoke for this whole vast student body, and you spoke in such a way as to make us proud of you. I hope that while others may gain the reputation for being stone-cold inebriated—if that’s what “partying” denotes—you will be recognized for being stone-cold sober and alert and on top of things.
This is truly a unique university. It is a great institution. We have every confidence in its leadership, in President Bateman, in his associates in the administration, and in the faculty. How fortunate you are to be here. I bring you the commendation of the board of trustees and the compliments of the entire Church. I only wish that everyone who wanted to come here might have the opportunity. That very many were turned away is a fact with which you are all familiar.
I repeat what I have said before, that a vast amount of the tithing funds of the Church is required to make it possible for you to receive an education at this remarkable institution. How great is your responsibility, how compelling your trust, to give your very best effort during the season that you are here.
We are all concerned about the time required for the average student to earn a bachelor’s degree. If you will shorten that time through careful planning and consistent studies, you will make it possible for more worthy young people to come here, thereby blessing their lives and the lives of others they will influence through the years.
I recently reread a statement given on this campus years ago by Charles H. Malik, then secretary general of the United Nations. He said:
I respect all men, and it is from disrespect for none that I say there are no great leaders in the world today. In fact, greatness itself is laughed to scorn. You should not be great today—you should sink yourself into the herd, you should not be distinguished from the crowd, you should simply be one of the many..."