“It’s going to be a great day,” said Sister Jennifer Meredith, wife of the president of BYU-Idaho.

Nearly 9,000 students and faculty packed into the BYU-Idaho Center Auditorium on Tuesday to hear BYU-I’s new leadership, President Alvin F. Meredith and his wife, speak. The couple stood together and welcomed the students to a new semester.

President Meredith and Sister Meredith invited students to consistently attend two “great halls of learning” — Devotional and the temple. He urged students to make attending weekly Devotional a priority. He promised that as students come to Devotional prepared with scriptures, Sunday dress and note-taking devices, they will be inspired.

The couple urged students to attend the temple as often as possible during the semester.

Nearly 9,000 student and faculty packed into the BYU-Idaho Center for the first Devotional of the semester.

Nearly 9,000 student and faculty packed into the BYU-Idaho Center for the first Devotional of the semester. Photo credit: Isabelle Justice

“The safest place to be spiritually living is inside your temple covenants,” President Meredith said. “As you couple your academic planning with spiritual learning in these two great halls, your lives will be richly blessed.”

In her remarks, Sister Meredith shared a story about their youngest son, Christian. What began as a fun day at the playground, ended in a cry for help. After following his older brother onto a playground climbing element, he became tangled and clung to the central bar, upside down, inches from the ground. He cried out for help and President Meredith was quick to respond.

After showing a video of the scene, Sister Meredith asked the crowd if they’d ever felt as her son did in that moment.

“We will have missteps as we learn and grow,” Sister Meredith said. “It is rare that students do not face some type of challenge during their university experience. Please remember … we have a Father, a Heavenly Father, who can and will pick us up as we turn to him and ask for help.”

President Meredith highlighted the new Church Education System Honor Code update. He joked about wearing shorts but talked more seriously about living the gospel standards. He mentioned the added Christlike attribute, integrity, in the newly updated Preach My Gospel. He mentioned that this value is especially important for BYU-I students.

Quoting renowned author, Samuel Johnson, President Meredith said, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”

Students leaving the BYU-Idaho center after Devotional.

Students leaving the BYU-Idaho center after Devotional. Photo credit: Isabelle Justice

President and Sister Meredith expressed their love and hope for the students at BYU-I, “We are rooting for you. We believe in you.”

Ryleigh Spruth, a sophomore studying business marketing, appreciated the Meredith’s message, “I like that they are also first years. … They’re with us along the way.”

Jaeden Reyes, a freshman studying computer information technology, appreciated the message of integrity. He especially liked the quote President Meredith shared about knowledge.

On Sept. 19 Elder Juan Pablo Villar of the Seventy will speak at Devotional. Students, faculty and community members can listen in person at the BYU-Idaho Center or online through the BYU-Idaho website.