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Posted 30 Apr 2001   For week ended April 27, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 27Apr01

By Mark Wright

BYU Commencement Honorees All Have LDS Ties

PROVO, UTAH -- Today, as part of BYU's Spring Commencement Exercises, there were 3 honorary doctorate degrees awarded to three people with very different backgrounds. While not transparently obvious in all cases, these three individuals are also tied together by a connection to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The first honoree's LDS connection is the obvious one. Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, was awarded a Doctorate of Christian Service. Elder Wirthlin was born on June 11, 1917 to Joseph L. and Madeline Bimer Wirthlin and married Elisa Young Rogers on married May 26, 1941. Elder Wirthlin, a favorite conference speaker known for his great compassion, has a long and distinguished career in the service of the Church, culminating with his call to be an Apostle on October 9, 1986.

Next, the Honorable Tom Lantos (D-Calif.) received a Doctorate of Humane Letters. Lantos is the only Holocaust survivor to serve as a member of the U.S. Congress. Lantos's journey from his humble beginnings in war-torn Hungary to the halls of Congress is remarkable. Born in 1928 to Jewish parents, Lantos escaped from a forced-labor brigade and was rescued from the tragedy of war by Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg. Lantos has channeled his personal experiences with oppression into a significant effort improve the nature of the world. Currently serving as co-chair of the Congressional Task Force Against Anti-Semitism, Lantos is well-known as a staunch advocate for human rights. Lantos has established a friendship with the exiled Dalai Lama and is working to establish freedom from Chinese rule for the people of Tibet. A self-described secular Jew, Lantos' background doesn't include any obvious references to the LDS Church. However, Lantos has two daughters, both of whom have joined the LDS Church and are presently married to members of the Church.

Finally, John William "Jack" Gallivan was granted a Doctorate of Public Service. Long associated with the Salt Lake Tribune, Gallivan became publisher emeritus of The Salt Lake Tribune in 1984. He started working with The Salt Lake Tribune in 1937, following his graduation from Notre Dame. A longtime activist in community and public service organizations and charities, Gallivan has previously been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Utah, Southern Utah University and Westminster College. Gallivan's connection to the Church is somewhat esoteric, but certainly of note given the current state of affairs at the Salt Lake Tribune. While publisher, Gallivan was responsible for assisting in the creation of the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) that governs the publication and relationship between both of Salt Lake's major newspapers, the Tribune and the Church-owned Deseret News. As previously reported in Mormon News, the JOA is now the subject of several lawsuits between the Tribune and the Deseret News and both papers are digging in for a long fight involving both operations and ownership of the papers.

United for only a moment in time, Wirthlin, Lantos, and Gallivan are each individuals of achievement who simultaneously arrived on the stage of BYU through the serendipitous crossing of their pathways through life.


Holocaust survivor, Latter-day Saint Apostle, Utah businessman honored at BYU Commencement Exercises April 26
BYU Press Release 17Apr01 D3

BYU to honor Salt Lake Tribune publisher emeritus at graduation
BYU NewsNet 17Apr01 D3
By Mary Dondiego: NewsNet Staff Writer

Lantos's list
Jerusalem Post 13Apr01 P2
By Janine Zacharia


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