The University of Utah family joins with millions worldwide who mourn the passing of President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a cherished alumnus of the U. Citizens of all nations will miss his great faith and boundless energy, his vision and spiritual resonance, and his compassion and gentle good humor. Truly the world is poorer today because of his passing.
President Hinckley leaves behind a rich legacy of courage and compassion. I saw these characteristics in action while I served on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. On countless occasions President Hinckley shared his personal conviction that all people be afforded the right of thought, conscience and belief. Such was the power of his conviction that hearts were changed and decisions were made that furthered religious freedom around the globe.
A graduate of the University of Utah in 1932, President Hinckley was awarded an honorary doctorate from his beloved U sixty years later in 1992. To honor his contributions to education and his passion for literature, the University, through the College of Humanities and with the generous support of his family and many caring friends, established the Gordon B. Hinckley Endowment in British Studies. This endowment supports the annual Gordon B. Hinckley Lecture in British Studies, and the Gordon B. Hinckley Professorship in British Literature and Culture.
President Hinckley was a great friend to the University of Utah and to many of us personally. We are heartbroken by his passing, but find in his 1998 commencement address prophetically fitting words to describe the life of this true gentleman: ‘My message to you today…is that you resolve to dedicate a part of your time…to those in distress and need, with no consideration of recompense. It will not be enough to be an able lawyer, a man of medicine, a skilled architect, a proficient engineer, or whatever. There will be the need for another dimension in your life-that of reaching down to someone who may be in distress to offer your strong hands to lift him up.” Gordon B. Hinckley spent a lifetime reaching down to lift others up. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and with all those will feel so deeply the loss of this great man.