President Pershing Speaks at LDS Institute Alongside Elder M. Russell Ballard


Church and university leaders spoke to U students Sunday night at the Latter-day Saint Institute of Religion about graduation and personal goals.

About 2,500 individuals attended the meeting to hear from Elder M. Russell Ballard, one of the 12 apostles for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and receive a surprise visit from U President David Pershing.

“[Graduation] is an area we are concentrating on at the university,” Pershing said.

While not specifically targeting LDS students, he said those who attend the U tend to take longer to graduate because they borrow less money. While this translates to a lower student debt, Pershing is concerned that stretching out graduation might mean not graduating at all.

“Each class, each test is a step toward the goal,” he said. “Don’t get so frustrated that you leave before you finish.”

Ballard, who attended the U but did not complete his degree, also encouraged the group to finish their education. He said college students face many important decisions, such as graduating, finding a job, getting married and starting a family. He hopes students will take a “prayerful approach” and include God in their choices.

Pershing and Ballard both told personal stories about their college years, including individual setbacks and trials. Both also mentioned that those speed bumps can lead to better opportunities.

“There will be disappointments in your life. There will be health issues that surface, there will be family issues that surface, there will be financial situations that surface,” Ballard said. “I want you to know that even when disappointment is in front of you that there is a secure way to handle it.”

Scott Navratil, a junior in exercise and sports science, felt Ballard was speaking directly to him.

“When he was going along the lines of, ‘If you expect something, then go do it and get it done,’ I was thinking about my life,” he said. “I expect things, and I want them to happen, but how committed am I to doing that?”

Navratil said his degree feels never-ending, but hearing about the importance of graduation reminds him why he is continuing toward that goal.

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