The first time I saw President Kauwe in person was when he was skateboarding down the road from his house. I remember being so amazed and thinking to myself, “Whoa, I didn’t know old men could skate!” You’ll never see that in Fiji.
President and Sister Kauwe, it is my privilege and honor on behalf of over 3,000 students representing 70 countries to say, “Aloha and welcome home!”
In Elder Neal A. Maxwell’s address to the students of BYU–Hawaii in the year 1994, he said, “This is a special institution! It is a jewel in the crown of the Church Educational System.” Our university is small in comparison to other universities, but it is through the “small and simple things” that the Lord brings to pass great and marvelous things (Alma 37:6). As President David O. McKay said, from this special institution “will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good toward the establishment of peace internationally.”
In 2012, Steven C. Wheelwright, ninth president of BYU–Hawaii, said, “Brigham Young University–Hawaii is student-focused. Everything we do is about the students we serve and their futures. The university was founded by and has been sustained by prophets of God to bless students. . . .Our mission is lofty and clear: it is to provide those who come here with opportunities to be learners, leaders, and builders.”
In the year and a half that President and Sister Kauwe have been with us, we have seen them be all about the students. Here are what some students would like you both to know:
“Thank you for including and supporting us. Thank you for having FHE with us. Thank you for inviting us to your home. Thank you for keeping us all safe from COVID-19. Thank you for bringing us back! We love it. Thank you for sharing your cream puffs. Thank you for eating with us in the cafeteria. Thank you for replying to my post. Thank you for your stories. We feel your love and love you.”
I wish I could write more, but I only have a 400-word limit.
President and Sister Kauwe, we love you and look up to you as the captains of our ship, the chiefs of our village, the commanders of our army, and the parents of our family. We look forward to learning, leading, and building with you! Again, welcome home!
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
- Neal A. Maxwell, “This Is a Special Institution!” 18 November 1994, in Something Wonderful: Brigham Young University–Hawaii Foundational Speeches (Laie: Brigham Young University–Hawaii, 2012), 61.
- David O. McKay, “Church College of Hawaii Groundbreaking Address and Prayer,” 12 February 1955, in Something Wonderful, 13.
- Steven C. Wheelwright, “Learners, Leaders, and Builders,” 1 February 2012, in Something Wonderful, 2.