BYU—Hawaii Celebrates Its Silver Jubilee
University President Dan W. Andersen explains how culture meets culture, how students meet the world at Laie, Hawaii
It’s a cultural experiment of the most successful kind—a small campus where students from more than thirty countries melt into perhaps the most international student body in the country.
Set near a sandy shore on the northward side of the Hawaiian island of Oahu, the school is nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Hawaii Temple.
And this February it’s twenty-five years old.
Brigham Young University—Hawaii Campus used to be known as the Church College of Hawaii. From its beginning, it was endowed with a prophetic charge. President David O. McKay said at a dedicatory service in 1958, “From this school will go men and women whose influence will be felt for good towards the establishment of peace internationally.” Elder Harold B. Lee later commented that the school “will be a beacon light to Asia.”
Both are happening, and as they happen the school grows. Since CCH became a satellite campus of BYU in 1974, enrollment has doubled.
The Laie, Hawaii, campus is a long drive around Oahu from the more populous Honolulu side of the island. But each year more than a million tourists make that drive, mostly to see the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Hawaii Temple. Hundreds of BYU—Hawaii students work at the center, displaying, demonstrating, and explaining native Polynesian cultures.
As the school’s enrollment grows, so do the school’s facilities. A 5,000-seat activities center is being constructed, with completion scheduled in time for the 1980–81 basketball season, the school’s third year of intercollegiate basketball competition.
Much of this growth has come under President Dan W. Andersen, who came to the school in July 1973. His only prior visit to Hawaii was a year before, when the Andersens visited Sister Andersen’s parents, who were directing the Hawaii Temple bureau of information. Her father suggested that Brother Andersen visit with college administrators, since he was in higher education. He did, and then the Andersens returned to Ethiopia, where he was working on a Ford Foundation grant, on leave from the University of Wisconsin. Within a month he was asked to return to the school, this time as an administrator instead of a tourist. When he did come, a year later, he was made dean, and then executive vice-president. That title has since been changed to president. “And that’s how I got to Hawaii,” he quips, “over sixteen thousand miles and thirteen time zones.”
President Andersen shares with the Ensign his perspective on the school’s past and purpose.
Ensign: Do you find that people outside of BYU—Hawaii understand its purposes?
President Andersen: I would hope they do. Of course, the place is an island paradise—but when President McKay dedicated it twenty-five years ago, he said the college had two major purposes. One was to develop testimonies. The other was to build a school that was academically respectable, so that no student there would receive a second-class education.
Since we’re on the shores of the Pacific, with the sand and the sun and so forth, it seems a little incongruous that students would have to struggle to get through an English or history class. It’s true that the geography does permit people to come and enjoy the beauties of nature. But more important is that we meet the requirements as a full-fledged academic institution.
Ensign: And you have quite a diversified student body, too.
President Andersen: We have students from more than thirty countries. We have the reputation of having the highest percentage of foreign students of any four-year institution in the United States. Our students come predominantly from the South Pacific and the Orient, but more and more we’re getting students from Latin America, Africa, and Europe.
Ensign: And from the continental United States?
President Andersen: Yes, though BYU—Hawaii is not designed to be simply an outlet for U.S. mainland students. We have a Semester in BYU—Hawaii program, somewhat similar to the BYU Semester Abroad program in Israel or Austria. The other semester abroad programs take their own professors, but in our case the professors are BYU—Hawaii professors.
The program was approved by the Brethren as a way of providing an experience in Hawaii for more than 250 students, who come mostly from the BYU campus in Provo. Most of them are lower-division students.
Ensign: Your cultural mixture must make it easy to staff the Polynesian Cultural Center near the campus.
President Andersen: We probably have a higher percentage of students employed than any other institution, since many of our students come from economically depressed areas. They sacrificed to come—but once they get here as sponsored students, we assist in many ways. The theory is that a student could receive a four-year education completely paid for by himself in what we call Work for Education. We employ some seven or eight hundred students at the Polynesian Cultural Center, and a smaller number work in various part-time university jobs.
Most of our Polynesian students have an opportunity to work at the center because of the emphasis on the native isles, the villages, the educational, cultural, and entertainment aspects of the village. We offer guided tours in twenty languages.
Ensign: How has the school changed in recent years?
President Andersen: Well, enrollment has doubled! When I assumed administrative responsibility in 1974, we had 917 students, and in 1979 fall semester we had 1,790.
Now, if you look at the enrollment figures of private institutions across the United States, that is remarkable. A number of universities and colleges have had to close. I think it’s a tribute and a credit to the Church because even though the growth makes it possible to utilize our facilities better, there is increased cost. The Church continues to pay the major share of the cost of that education. We’ve had an opportunity of introducing a number of programs which permit growth in the practical arts such as hotel and restaurant management and tourism.
Also, when we became affiliated with BYU, we could draw on more resources. We now have a faculty exchange program with the Provo faculty. It permits our personnel to have exposure to a Church school in a different setting, and it permits us to bring new faculty here. Faculty and students from the mainland can learn things at BYU—Hawaii that they could never learn the same way in Provo. And vice versa.
Because of our setting, we can utilize natural resources geared toward the area that the school serves—in tropical agriculture, marine biology, travel industry, intercultural communication.
Ensign: Speaking of the travel and restaurant industry, don’t you have a big new restaurant at the cultural center?
President Andersen: Yes. It’s probably the largest restaurant now in the South Pacific. It serves more than 2,000 dinners a day and can seat more than 1,000 people at a time. That surpasses anything in Honolulu. We now have this “laboratory” for restaurant management where our students can train.
With the atmosphere in that new restaurant, people claim the food’s improved, even though we’re still serving the same menu.
Ensign: What gives you the greatest satisfaction in your job?
President Andersen: Seeing young people come and, in just four years, go into professions and be successful. Sometimes they come from disadvantaged areas, but through the university’s training they become an important resource as they go back to their countries. It opens opportunities for them.
Also, just a generation or two back, some of these students’ ancestors would have been in conflict with each other. National antagonisms inevitably occur now and then, but the one intervening factor is the gospel. They bring their culture with them, and they have much to offer with it, but the overriding fact is that they have come into the Church culture, which transcends their cultures in brotherhood. We unite on a common basis and take the good from each culture.
Ensign: Are most of your students members of the Church?
President Andersen: About five percent aren’t members—and our conversion rate is good. There’s a lot of active missionary work going on here. We average seventy or eighty nonmembers on the campus, and in the last few years we’ve converted forty or so each year—so that by the end of the year we’ve narrowed it to about two and a half percent from five.
It’s a privilege to attend the baptisms at the beach, usually at six o’clock for a sunrise baptism in the Pacific. Many students will gather around to welcome the new members into the Church as the sun is coming up over the waters.
Honduras Mission Announced
The First Presidency has announced plans to organize a mission in Honduras by January.
Headquarters of the Honduras Tegucigalpa Mission will be in the capital city of Tegucigalpa. The mission will include Honduras, Nicaragua, and Belize.
The new mission brings the number of missions worldwide to 176. More than 28,000 full-time missionaries serve in those missions.
Church Policies and Announcements
The following items appeared in a recent Messages, sent to stake/mission/district presidents and to bishops and branch presidents:
1. “Proper Terminology When Introducing General Authorities. When introducing or referring to the General Authorities, the following proper terminology should be used:
“President of the Church: President Spencer W. Kimball, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Counselors in the First Presidency: President ______, first (or second) counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles: President Ezra Taft Benson, President of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Members of the Council of the Twelve Apostles: Elder ______, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Members of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder ______, a member of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Members of the First Quorum of the Seventy: Elder ______, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Presiding Bishop: Bishop Victor L. Brown, Presiding Bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Counselors in the Presiding Bishopric: Bishop ______, first (or second) counselor in the Presiding Bishopric of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
2. “Venturing and Exploring: The Church policy on the organization of posts for Venturing and Exploring is as follows: ‘Wards and branches are expected to sponsor Venturer and Explorer posts unless they have a fully-developed program that better meets the needs of their young men and is approved by their stake presidency’ (from the foreword of Relationships between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America [PBAP0185]).
“Where programs other than Venturing and Exploring are approved by the stake presidency, activities should be carefully planned as outlined in the Aaronic Priesthood Quorum Guidebook (PBAP020A) and The Activity Book (PEJM0136). Sports alone should not be sponsored, nor should any activity that does not broaden the experience of young men and give them opportunities to serve others.
“Those units that use the Exploring program should charter their posts in the usual way.”
26 New Stakes Organized
Twenty-six new stakes were organized during the third quarter of 1979, bringing the Church total to 1,069. This makes a total of eighty-one stakes organized during 1979 so far.
Four stakes were formed from mission areas: Scranton Pennsylvania, Quito Ecuador, Pusan Korea, and Cochebamba Bolivia.
The other new stakes are Coatzacoalcos Mexico, Apia Samoa East, Hyrum Utah North, Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Orem Utah Timp View, Othello Washington, Valencia Venezuela, Suitland Maryland, Tacoma Washington South, Cali Colombia Americus, Kearns Utah Central, Poway California, Silverdale Washington, Montevideo Uruguay Cerro, Seoul Korea North, Paradise Valley Arizona, Bozeman Montana, Riverton Utah North, Delta Utah West, and Grantsville Utah West. Existing stakes in Lima Peru were realigned to form the Lima Peru Callao, Lima Peru San Juan and Lima Peru San Martin stakes.
1980 World Conference on Records Has Something for Everyone
With four days of meetings and nearly three hundred seminars, the 1980 World Conference on Records should interest anyone who’s interested in his heritage.
“Preserving Our Heritage,” the 1980 conference, will emphasize family and personal histories. Authorities from throughout the world will give instruction in a wide field of topics relating to genealogy. Seminars will be held in the Salt Palace and adjoining buildings in Salt Lake City, Utah, 12–15 August 1980.
Anyone from anywhere is invited to attend. Registration for the four days is $50. Those registering after 15 June 1980 will be required to pay $60. Hotel accommodations are available through the Genealogical Society. Information and forms are available from the World Conference on Records, Genealogical Society of Utah, 50 East North Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150, USA.
Each participant will be able to attend a general assembly, a plenary session, and five seminars daily.
Those scheduled to address the general assemblies are President Spencer W. Kimball, Elder G. Homer Durham of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and author Alex Haley.
Support for the conference is coming from various organizations and individuals throughout the world. News media of many countries have been notified of the conference.
The nearly three hundred seminar topics include the following:
—Family histories: biographies, family unity, Mormon women and family history, publishing family history, audiovisual family history, oral history, heirlooms, diaries, illustrations, books of remembrance, effects of the environment on family history, ethnic background and family history, black family history, the use and abuse of coats of arms;
—European records: mail order genealogy, military records, the holocaust and family history, the family in European civilization:
—Great Britain and Ireland: parliamentary activities of interest to family historians, tracing family history of poorer English ancestors, tombstones and censuses, the effect of occupations on British family life, special British marrying places and customs, life on a Mormon emigrant ship, family life during industrialization;
—Scandinavia: life of a Scandinavian soldier, Norwegian immigrant churches, life in Scandinavia;
—Spanish and Portuguese language areas: immigration to South America, archives of South America, the family as a business corporation in Argentina, the Morelia Project in Mexico;
—Asia and the Pacific: bond and free immigration and colonial settlement in Australia and New Zealand, interisland relationships, multicultural families in Hawaii, a family’s oral traditions, legends and myths, land tenure, extended family gatherings, samurai and merchant family history, Buddhist death registers, Japanese aborigines;
—Africa, South Asia, Middle East: Islam and the Moslem family, nomadic family life in North Africa, Christians in the land of Mohammed, pilgrimage records of India, the Arab family under colonization;
—Demography: life-course of families in the past, the role of the family in past societies, widowhood in an earlier time, mobility and industrialization, migration, the stem family and the joint family, the Great Potato Famine and the Irish;
—Special curriculum: physical disabilities and preparing family history, family histories for the blind, family histories prepared by the deaf.
President Spencer W. Kimball underwent surgery again November 17. Doctors again found an accumulation of fluid between his brain and skull, called a subdural hematoma, and drained it surgically. Surgeons were able to use an opening created in the first operation to drain the second subdural hematoma.
President Kimball, 84, spent about two weeks in the hospital after the first operation and traveled to the Middle East six weeks after surgery.
J. Talmage Jones of Leeds, Utah, has been called as president of the Singapore Mission. President Jones, a retired certified public accountant, served as mission president in western Canada in the mid-1960s. The Singapore Mission has been part of the former Southeast Asia Mission and, more recently, the Indonesia Jakarta Mission.
The Ogden and Arizona temples have new second counselors. George T. Frost is new second counselor at the Ogden Temple. He and his wife, Myrtle, have been sealers in the Ogden Temple since May 1977. Leo B. Hakes is second counselor in the Arizona Temple. He and his wife, Valma, have been temple workers since April 1977.
An area conference in Rochester, New York, has been planned for 12–13 April 1980. The conference will come one week after an observance of the Church’s 150th anniversary with ceremonies at nearby Fayette, New York, where the Church was organized 6 April 1830.
Members from New York, New Jersey, and northern Pennsylvania will attend the conference at the Rochester Community War Memorial.
On April 6 a new meetinghouse and visitors’ center complex will be dedicated. The complex includes an authentic replica of the log house in which the Church was organized.
Area conferences in Mississippi and California have been announced. The Jackson, Mississippi, area conference will be May 3–4 at the Fairgrounds Coliseum in Jackson. Members from New Orleans and Alexandria, Louisiana, and Little Rock, Arkansas, regions and Mississippi Jackson, Louisiana Baton Rouge, and Arkansas Little Rock missions will attend.
The Pasadena, California, conference will be May 17–18 at the Rose Bowl. Members from eighteen regions throughout southern California and from the Yuma, Arizona, Region will attend.
“Christmas World” is being shown around the globe. The one-hour program on Christmas customs, featuring the Mormon Youth Symphony and Chorus, has been placed with television stations in nine countries. It was produced by Bonneville Productions.
The Church is giving Christmas gifts to nonmembers this year. The December Reader’s Digest advertising insert sponsored by the Church offers an enlarged reproduction of the Harry Anderson painting Second Coming. The genealogy insert in the October English- and German-language editions of the Digest has received the largest public response of any insert so far.
Tuition at Brigham Young University is going up. Undergraduate tuition will go up $35 per semester starting fall 1980, bringing the semester tuition to $485. Graduate and advanced-standing student tuition will increase from $500 to $540. Graduate School of Management tuition will increase from $645 to $695, and Law School tuition will increase from $825 to $890.
Those rates apply to members of the Church. Nonmember students pay one and one-half times the standard tuition rate. The tuition increases will help meet the rising costs of operating the university, says President Dallin H. Oaks. Despite the increases, the cost of attending BYU is about seventy percent less than the average at the 700 private colleges and universities in the United States.
The 1980 Women’s Conference at BYU is scheduled January 31–February 2. “Blueprints for Living” is the theme of the conference. A complete class schedule is available from the ASBYU Women’s Office, 432 Wilkinson Center, BYU, Provo, Utah 84602, Attention: Women’s Conference. Latter-day Saint women from throughout the United States are invited to attend.