This week, BYU’s Advancement Vice President Matthew Richardson spoke to a gathering of Chattanoogans at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Ooltewah.
A professor of Church History and Doctrine, Dr. Richardson referenced John 1 as the basis for his talk, inviting all to “Come and see” (John 1:39) – to see things in a different light. Jesus Christ, he said, invites us to leave our current situations, to extract sin from our lives, and increase more and more in the ways of good.
Likewise, all students at Brigham Young University (BYU) are “taught the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” BYU focuses on helping students realize the Aims of a BYU education so that their experience will be 1) spiritually strengthening, 2) intellectually enlarging, 3) character building, leading to 4) lifelong learning and service.
In Thessalonians, Paul reminds us to “perfect that which is lacking,” to become more godly in manner, to be sanctified wholly – to live as disciples should live, Dr.
Richardson said. This is why BYU aims to be more than just an intellectual exercise.
Dr. Richardson invited the audience to “come and see” BYU in a different light. BYU has 33,517 students, 506 acres, 4,010 faculty/staff, 65% of students speak a second language, 3.86 is the average GPA, 29.5 is the average ACT score, 80% were employed during high school, 70% played high school sports, students are from 105 countries, there are 327,723 BYU graduates, BYU is ranked #1 in colleges for student engagement (2017), #1 rated Advertising program, #2 Accounting program, #19 Nursing program, 3,500 exams are taken in the testing center every day, 11,000 exams taken during finals, 16,000 students are employed at BYU, 206 study abroad programs, 350,000 rare books in the library, would take 5,500 years to read all the books in the library, 4.5 miles of toilet paper is used every year, 122,401 service hours logged by BYU students every year, 14,000 performances by BYU groups, Cougarettes are 19 times national dance champions, students drank 5 million gallons of chocolate milk over past 20 years, 36,000 cougar tails (donuts) sold, 202,000 gallons of BYU ice cream packaged, 1 million chocolate cinnamon bears are eaten annually, 4 tons of BYU fudge is eaten annually, 177 majors, 107 minors, 68 master degree programs, 26 doctorate programs, 108 political/foreign dignitaries visit annually, 420,788 alumni, BYU was established in 1875.
BYU is more than meets the eye. All students at BYU “are taught the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” At BYU, students are also taught to focus on the Y, not just the what. Why we do is as important as what we do. We should be developing the whole person, Dr. Richardson said – a whole person committed to holier ways – reflecting “devout love of God and a loving, genuine concern for the welfare of our neighbor.”
VP Richardson was in Chattanooga for the 20th annual golf tournament of the BYU Chattanooga Chapter Alumni Association. The BYU Chattanooga Chapter has raised over $600,000 for students over the past 20 years. Funds are specifically designated for students from the greater Chattanooga area who are attending BYU or BYU-Idaho. The BYU Chattanooga Alumni Association thanks everyone who sponsored this year’s charity event, and especially thanks VP Richardson for teeing off in Chattanooga.