During a campus ceremony today (April 29), Brigham Young University established the Marjorie Pay Hinckley Chair in Social Work and Social Sciences.
Sister Hinckley attended the ceremony along with her husband, President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and members of the Hinckley and Pay families.
President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust of the First Presidency and Elder Richard G. Scott and Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ were also present.
The day also marked the 66th wedding anniversary of the Hinckleys.
"To honor them at this time is very important," BYU President Merrill J. Bateman said. "To see the incredible extended family they have raised, it is clear that building faith in people is an intergenerational process. The Hinckleys are role models for family living."
The endowment for the chair was made possible by several donors who were willing to give substantial donations in the name of Sister Hinckley, said Bateman.
"I'd like to indicate that, because of the love and respect these donors have for Sister Hinckley, we raised the funds in less than three weeks," he said.
The problems facing marriages and families are great, said President Bateman, but the life of Sister Hinckley can be a comfort and a blessing to many. "She radiates such joy and optimism."
Sister Hinckley was clearly overwhelmed by the recognition. "I consider this a great honor and a somewhat uncomfortable surprise. Not only am I honored today by the establishment of this chair, but I am also somewhat tender as we mark our 66th anniversary."
"There is nothing the world needs more than strong homes and strong families," she said.
A special video presentation that will be part of future Hinckley Chair presentations used a quotation from Sister Hinckley that encapsulates her focus on the family: "It is what we are at home that tells us the true story of who we are."
President Hinckley expressed appreciation to his companion of 66 years. "She has been a great mother, a great grandmother, a great friend and a great neighbor, a do-gooder of the best kind," he said.
According to Dean David B. Magleby of the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, the Hinckley Chair will serve four main purposes: to focus on the family through research and education, to expand learning by lectures and mentored-learning experiences for students, to increase community involvement in family issues and to provide service.
"We will bring distinguished visitors to campus to interact with students and faculty, and we anticipate an annual lecture series as well as family research collaborations on and off campus," he said.
To remember the occasion, Sister Hinckley was presented with a delicate glass-blown chair and table on a black walnut music-box base that played "Love at Home." Its inscription stated: "Marjorie Pay Hinckley, in honor of your commitment to family and community, Brigham Young University, 2003."
For more information on the chair and the endowment, contact the BYU College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, (801) 422-2083.
Writer: Cecelia Fielding