Monson will do a fine job

Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is a good choice for the keynote speaker at commencement.

When I originally heard the news, I didn’t agree with the choice and I couldn’t help but think that the world had turned upside down.

BYU has Vice President Dick Cheney and the U has Monson. If anything, I would expect it to be the other way around, with a political figure speaking at the U and a religious leader at BYU.

I was less than supportive, but I decided to test my disagreement by researching whether or not Monson was a good choice for a U graduation speaker.

From what I found out, I have to say he was.

First, he is a U graduate. According to the LDS Church’s Web site, he graduated cum laude in 1948 with a business management degree. After graduation, he was a member of the faculty in the College of Business.

He cultivated a prominent career in publishing and printing, and in addition to being a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, he was also an officer in the U’s Alumni Association.

I had the same hesitations as everyone else, but if he is so distinguished and won’t be talking about religion, what is the problem?

If the pope graduated from the U but said he wouldn’t use religion as a topic, would there be a big to-do about having him come speak? I doubt it.

The point is that we are getting different people from different walks of life to speak at commencement each year, and Monson is one of those people.

Granted, I doubt he’ll make commencement as exciting as Sean Hannity and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson will make their debate at Kingsbury Hall (which will be held on the same day), but I think he will be just fine-if not exhilarating.

So whether you’re not attending, attending but not listening or both attending and listening, you should consider Monson’s history with the U- not just his position in the LDS Church-because that is how he plans to attend and speak at commencement: as an alumnus of the U who has had a distinguished life and deserves the chance to share his experiences with us.