As a freshman at BYU in 1970 I was herded down to the Smith Fieldhouse the first
week of the semester to listen to President Wilkinson give us his orientation
talk. The first 45 minutes were laced with warnings about keeping rules and a
reminder that BYU spent millions of dollars on keeping the trees and grass well
groomed. Ernie told us to not climb trees and "keep your bod off my
sod". After the litany of admonitions President Wilkinson showed his
compassion for our new arriving class with this final tong in cheek advice,
"My young friends always remember that you should never let your studies
get in the way of your college education!"
I was a freshman attending BYU back in 1966 and I too remember going down to the
Smith Fieldhouse during the first week of the fall semester to welcome us to BYU
and orientate us as to what was expected of us as students at Brigham Young
University, I clearly remember how he told us that all of us new students were
a special group of student that had been accepted to what he called "The
Lord's School for Higher Education". What really helped me during my two
years ther was his advice to put the Lord first in our studies and this way we
would succeed with our education, During the Spring Semester of 1968, I forgot
all about that because I was dating a Freshman Coed whom I would marry at the
end of the semester. There was one instance that I still remember to this day.
I was in my suit and walking across campus with my special girl when we were
stopped. Because I have been bald-headed and was wearing a suit, they thought I
was college instructor dating a college coed. Boy were they embarassed when
they discovered their mistake.
I spent many memorable years at BYU and began to expect the unexpected from
President Wilkinson. He would show up in one's office unannounced and expect a
complete and detailed report on one's stewardship. I do remember when he was
Cosmo the Cougar one year. He surprised everyone. I also remember attending a
Basketball game where he grabbed the microphone after many fans started booing
the referring (of which I was a part) and scolded all of us and then said
"we don't boo here at BYU." I'm most appreciative of his inspired
direction in Fathering BYU's world-reknowned Department of Independent Study
which has had significant influence on hundreds of thousands of individuals
world-wide. That program continues to maintain a steady course and provides
students (members and nonmembers) an opportunity to improve their educational
pursuits. Thanks President Wilkinson for this inspired program that will yet
influence millions of people world-wide. And, thanks for your marvelous
personality and strong leadership.
I appreciated your report of the experience I had for nine months following my
mission. I worked for him from June 1968 through Sept. 1968 when I married as
well. I agree with your comments as well.