President Steven C. Wheelwright, Margaret Wheelwright focus on learning at devotional

Monday, 26 September 2011

Suzanne Tuttle | University Relations | 26 September 2011

Students, faculty and staff of BYU–Hawaii filled the Cannon Activities Center on Tuesday, September 20, to gather for the semester’s first campus devotional with President Steven C. Wheelwright and his wife Margret. After Sister Wheelwright’s introduction emphasizing how much education can impact a person’s life, President Wheelwright welcomed everyone to the University and encouraged everyone to make weekly devotional attendance a priority in their schedules (Devotionals are held each Tuesday at 11 AM in the Cannon Activities Center). 

President Wheelwright’s talk, titled “Our Quest for Learning” started by describing the university’s mission triplet: Learn, Lead, Build. “As foreseen by God’s prophets the purpose of BYU–Hawaii is to develop Learners, Leaders and Builders who will assist in accomplishing all that the Lord has planned for His children prior to His coming.”

Learning, the focus of the talk, was described in three aspects: what we learn and why, how we learn, and becoming a lifelong learner. “Learning is central to God’s plan for each of us both in this life and throughout eternity,” said President Wheelwright. “We also know that learning is the process by which we gain knowledge and intelligence; furthermore, the Lord himself has commanded us to seek learning both through our own efforts, as well as through faith.” (D&C 88:118)

Learning is something our religion prompts us to pursue. Brigham Young said, “religion …prompts [us] to search diligently after knowledge…. There is no other people in existence more eager to see, hear, learn and understand truth.” Scriptures also provide much support for and encouragement of lifelong learning: “That which is of God is light, and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light, and that light growth brighter and brighter until the perfect day” (D&C 50:24).

The first area of BYU–Hawaii’s mission is to create learners. Every student that attended the devotional received a bookmark with the BYU–Hawaii “Framework for Student Learning” printed on it. President Wheelwright described the Framework’s purpose, that it is “designed to help you become a self-directed learner – developing your own habits and patterns for learning. Self-directed learners set their own goals and standards, with the help and input from others. They then become both able and willing to take responsibility for their learning, its direction, and their rate of progress.”

President Wheelwright shared some advice that Henry Eyring, President Eyring’s father, received from his father prior to leaving for his studies at the University of Arizona. “The Lord knows both what He will need you to do and what you will need to know. He is kind and He is all-knowing. So you can with confidence expect that He has prepared opportunities for you to learn in preparation for the service you will give. You will not recognize those opportunities perfectly, as I did not. But when you put the spiritual things first in your life, you will be blessed to feel directed toward certain learning, and you will be motivated to work harder.”

President Wheelwright closed with an invitation to ‘learn how to learn.’ He described this process as being ‘much more about who we are, how we think, how we address and tackle problems, and what we are capable of and willing to do than it is about memorizing facts and learning formulas. Indeed it is much more about who we are becoming – the habits and character we are developing as we learn and as we apply what we learn.”

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