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BYU-Hawaii President's Report

March 2017

Building on Firm Foundations

(Download the full 2015-16 President's Report)

Susan and I are humbled and honored to serve at Brigham Young University-Hawaii, and we thank you for your generous gifts to the university and its students. These sacred funds help support our wonderful students as they strive to become lifelong learners, Christlike leaders, and builders of their families, the Church, and their communities.

In the short time that we have been on campus, we have felt a tremendous love for and from the students. There is a great power and purpose at this university. We are not merely helping students know something; we are helping students become something. President David O. McKay taught that true education produces people of noble character. The students at BYU–Hawaii are the “genuine gold” that he prophesied would come out of this university.

To prepare for my service at BYU-Hawaii, I have studied and been inspired by the history of the university and the nature of its prophetic destiny. One of the things I read was a history of the dedicated and devoted labor missionaries who sweated and toiled under a hot Hawaiian sun to build this beautiful campus and fulfill the vision of President McKay.

When I came to campus I was deeply moved to learn that we are literally building on the foundation laid by these labor missionaries. Recently, when a construction crew began to rebuild the 60-year-old hales (dormitories), it was discovered that the old foundations could be reused because the labor missionaries had built such strong foundations. These foundations were meant to last. The project historian wrote: “Under every building there is a two-foot pad of crushed coral. Surely, this is a building that will serve humanity for many, many years.” Now these foundations are being used to support the weight of an additional story in remodeled hales that will likely last many, many more years.

I love this symbolism. The modern university is also built on foundations laid by labor missionaries, students, faculty members, administrators - including the nine presidents who have preceded me - and, above all, prophets of God. When we remodel or add stories, we build on firm foundations.

As the new president of BYU-Hawaii, I am committed to building on the firm foundations laid by pioneers, past presidents, prophets, and the Prince of Peace. I am honored to be part of a university that aspires to be a house of learning and light, a university built in the shadow of a temple and located in a historic place of refuge and gathering - a Zion university.

Thank you for your support of this great institution. This university has a role to play in the international Church as we prepare students who are able to serve with a spirit of love and peace. Your support of these students accelerates the work of the university and helps build the kingdom one life at a time. The fulfillment of President McKay’s prophecy is unfolding before our eyes, and if the past is prologue, then there are many great miracles yet to come.

John S. Tanner
Brigham Young University-Hawaii