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Devotionals

Stephen K. Woodhouse

The Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley Endowed Faculty Scholarship

Words cannot capture the marvel we feel with all that has happened regarding this scholarship endowment. LDS Business College is small. It serves a different student population and has a different mission than BYU’s. Its name is not as well known, yet we see how the Lord has blessed the College in the past, and we feel His blessings today.

The College has been preserved by prophets and built by men and women of strong faith and commitment. Two such people were Bryant S. and Ada Bitner Hinckley. Their service embodies the sense of dedication that remains at LDS Business College today. Indeed, in many ways they laid the foundation for what the College has become. They loved the students, and worked for their success, and they loved the Lord. I’m told that Brother Hinckley knew every prophet since Joseph Smith. These two educators instilled their love of the restored Gospel in their students.

Today we honor the legacy of devoted faculty who have transformed the lives of their students. The College’s history books are filled with the names of students whose lives have been changed. One hundred years ago today, on March 9, 1905 , Bryant S. Hinckley and Ada Bitner taught in a building near the Church Administration Building . In their respective responsibilities they met with and taught approximately 560 students from across the valley.
I’d like to tell you briefly about one of those students.

Thomas Ray Gledhill wrote in his life history that, quote, “three weeks of shoveling coal in a boxcar was a great turning point in my life,” unquote. That experience convinced him that he wanted an education. He saved seventy-five dollars and headed by train to Salt Lake City to go to college. Searching for work to sustain himself while at college proved fruitless and his father, who accompanied him on the journey, urged him to return home. Thomas wrote, “I thanked my father but firmly said: ‘I will never go home until I have graduated from the L. D. S. University ,” as the College was then called. He eventually landed work as the College’s janitor for $18.00 a month. He studied hard and gained the respect of his instructors and classmates, who elected him student body president in 1905 during his senior year. He wrote, “When the election ballots were counted and my friends found out I had won, they found me sweeping Barrett Hall dressed in my janitorial clothes. They carried me on their shoulders about the building. ”

Thomas continued his education beyond the College and eventually became a doctor. His history is filled with stories of the lives he blessed. He credited the College with putting him on the right path. Thomas wrote of the College, and I quote, “The Lord blessed me with some of the best friends I have ever had among the students and among the faculty of that school.”

These stories, and hundreds like them, embody the legacy that Bryant and Ada Hinckley left to us. From that day to this, our faculty have worked to bless the lives of our students. In honoring them we strengthen our resolve to continue the path they started. We will continue to prepare our students for today’s marketplace; we will continue to help them develop confidence; and we will continue to instill in them a love of the Lord, of His prophets, and of the restored gospel.

We feel the Lord brings our students to us, that they are prompted to come here. The Lord has given us a charge to help them, and we are determined to do everything we can to do so. Our students are young men and women of promise. They are developing skills and testimony that will, as Brother Bryant Hinckley once said, “shake the earth.” To that end we dedicate our best efforts. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

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