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BYU schedules Commencement Exercises April 24-25

A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a distinguished Utahn who has bettered the lives of generations of Native Americans will both receive honorary doctorates during April Commencement Exercises at Brigham Young University on Thursday, April 24.

Elder M. Russell Ballard and Dale Thomas Tingey will be presented with doctorates of Christian service at the exercises, which will begin at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

In addition, former Intermountain Health Care executive Pamela J. Atkinson will receive a Presidential Citation honoring her life of compassion, service and leadership.

President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ, will preside over and conduct the exercises, which will mark the final commencement for BYU President Merrill J. Bateman, who has been called to serve in the Presidency of the Seventy of the Church.

The commencement exercises will be broadcast live on both KBYU-TV (Channel 11) and KBYU-FM (89.1).

An academic processional featuring the graduates and representatives of the BYU faculty and staff will leave the Abraham Smoot Building parking areas on Thursday at 3:15 p.m. Most campus offices will close that day at 2:30 p.m.

Individual College Convocations will be conducted on Friday, April 25, at the following times and locations:

8 a.m.- David O. McKay School of Education, Smith Fieldhouse; Fine Arts and Communications, (Music/Dance/Theatre, School of Music, Visual Arts and Theatre and Media Arts), de Jong Concert Hall; Marriott School of Management, Marriott Center; and Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom.

11 a.m.- Engineering and Technology, Smith Fieldhouse; Family, Home and Social Sciences, (Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology), Marriott Center; Fine Arts and Communications (Communications Department), de Jong Concert Hall; Nursing, Joseph Smith Building Auditorium.

2 p.m.-David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, de Jong Concert Hall; Family, Home and Social Sciences School of Family Life, Wilkinson Student Center Ballroom; Family, Home and Social Sciences School of Social Work, Joseph Smith Building Auditorium; Health and Human Performance, Smith Fieldhouse; Humanities, Marriott Center;

J. Reuben Clark Law School, Provo Tabernacle (100 S. University Ave., Provo).

5 p.m.- Biology and Agriculture, Marriott Center.

A President's Reception for graduates and their parents will also be conducted Friday from 10:30 a.m. to noon in the Museum of Art.

A member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since 1985, Elder Ballard is revered and loved for his service and compassion. His early reputation for living true to his faith has grown with him throughout his life. As a young man he served a full-time Church mission in the British Mission, where he was a counselor in the mission presidency.

While he and his wife, Barbara, were raising their family of seven children and he was serving as a bishop he took over the Ballard Motor Company from his father and built interests in automotive, real estate and investment businesses.

Adept at leading groups and organizations, Elder Ballard has never lost sight of the individual. He was recently recognized when he received the Helping Hand Award form the Utah Youth Village, an organization founded to help troubled youth and their families.

"He is a very thoughtful person," said Elder J. Thomas Fyans, an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. "I've watched him reach into the lives of people who have special challenges and give of his time and his experience in counseling them and lifting them to a higher plane. He has a sensitivity for people's feelings."

For more than a half a century, Tingey has blessed generations of seminary and institute students across North and South America as well as generations of Native Americans. He has done so in tiny reservation classrooms, in fledgling community development projects, and in scores of colleges, technical schools and universities, including BYU.

In the spirit of helping Native American's help themselves, Tingey has walked, run, driven and flown countless miles to share the gospel, the blessings of education and myriad garden seeds, tractors and Christmas gifts.

His service to Native Americans dates back to 1968, when he was called as president of the Southwest Mission, headquartered in Holbrook, Ariz.

For the next 18 years Tingey served as the director of the Institute of American Indian Services at BYU. He supervised four other full-time administrators and organized more than 100 programs in the western United States, Canada and Alaska. During the 1970s they recruited more than 600 Native American students to enroll at BYU each year, assisting many with scholarships.

After retiring from BYU, Tingey became the director of American Indian Services, a volunteer position at a private charitable foundation that has fully engaged him since 1989. Its mission is to help Native Americans build a tradition of family unity, education, pride in heritage and community leadership.

Atkinson began her career of compassionate service as a nurse at University College Hospital in London, England, and later at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. She has also worked among Aboriginal families of the islands of the Torres Straits near Australia.

She returned to the United States where she earned degrees from the University of California and the University of Washington.

From 1986 to 2002, Atkinson served as vice president of mission services of Intermountain Health Care and president of the Intermountain Health Care Foundation.

"Atkinson inspires in all who know her a desire to notice and reach out to others, to serve in enduring and meaningful ways, to consecrate acts of caring and to honor those we serve," according to her citation. Her own words describe the work of the heart: "Don't ever underestimate the power of even a small amount of caring and the powerful effect of a word of encouragement."

For more information on BYU commencement, visit the Web site (

Writer: Elizabeth B. Jensen


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