President Wheelwright teaches leadership at opening Devotional

Monday, 9 January 2012

Roger Brown | University Relations | 9 January 2012

"Our unwavering purpose as a university is to help each of you become learners, leaders and builders," said President Steven C. Wheelwright in the opening Devotional of the winter semester at BYU–Hawaii. He focused his remarks on the second of the triplet - leadership - sharing first the vision of President David O. McKay about the students who study here.

[Watch or Read President Wheelwright's Devotional on Learning]

President McKay envisioned "…men [and women] who cannot be bought or sold, …who will scorn to violate truth, genuine gold. That is what this school is going to produce…. More than that, they will be leaders. Not leaders only in this island, but everywhere. All the world is hungering for them…." Using three themes, President Wheelwright described how students can become the kind of leaders that "all the world is hungering for."

The first theme is that President McKay saw our time, and knew the world students would be entering, and he knew of the need for leadership in it. "Indeed, the Lord's prophet knew the reasons the world would be hungering for the type of leaders being developed at BYU–Hawaii," said President Wheelwright. "When President McKay made that prophetic statement at the ground breaking in 1955, he knew that the conditions of this mortal world would cause all the world to hunger for such leaders."

The second theme is the set of four foundational principles upon which leadership is based - the type of leadership exhibited by the Lord's prophets, and by the Savior himself. Calling them the Principles of Christ-like Leadership, President Wheelwright outlined the following:

Trust: "People want to know that they can trust those they follow and that the leader will trust them and support them when they take action consistent with the principles espoused by the leader," said President Wheelwright. "Such trust is built over time based on a pattern of decisions and actions that adhere to fixed principles and unchanging values."

Vision: The president taught that "effective leadership requires a clear vision of what is possible with coordinated effort. Such vision causes others to want to follow because it provides purpose and meaning to both individual and collective effort."

Teaching: Citing examples of latter-day prophets and those found in the scriptures, President Wheelwright noted that teaching, both by precept and example, is a principle of leadership. Teaching allows others to grow "in their ability to follow in righteousness and become leaders in their own right."

Courage: "Leaders must do hard things – especially in today's environment – and many of those take real courage," he said. "Furthermore, the consistency needed to be trustworthy requires that the leader always do the right thing."
The third and final theme centered on the characteristics of virtue and love that combine with those Principles of Christ-like Leadership to "add further power and confidence to such leadership."

President Wheelwright closed with the promise that "a strong commitment to personal virtue and love towards all men will make it possible for you to become the leaders the world so desperately needs."

"Indeed as the pace of scientific, social, and economic change accelerates, the world seeks leaders who are consistent and unchanging, whose leadership is based on immutable principles."

(Devotionals are held each Tuesday at 11 AM in the Cannon Activities Center. Campus departments are closed and all are invited and encouraged to attend.)

Watch or read President Wheelwrights full address here.

Photo by Monique Saenz.