Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Former Massachusetts First Lady Ann Romney gives her keynote speech during the 115th graduation ceremonies on the Southern Utah University Campus in Cedar City, Utah on Friday, May 2, 2014. (AP Photo/The Spectrum, Asher Swan ) NO SALES
Ann Romney remembers Olympics, urges SUU grads to read Bible

Commencement » Wife of former presidential candidate Mitt Romney urges a ‘purpose-driven life.’

By Lindsay Whitehurst

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published May 02 2014 12:15 pm • Last Updated May 04 2014 08:36 pm

When her husband was asked to move to Utah to lead the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Olympics in 1998, Ann Romney had just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"My right leg was numb, I was losing my balance, I was stumbling, I was very fatigued," she said Friday at Southern Utah University’s commencement. "I was frightened. The disease was progressing rapidly and I had no idea how debilitated I would become."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The former first lady of Massachusetts and wife of two-time Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to nearly 1,800 graduates at SUU in Cedar City.

She told the graduates to hold on to their college friends, take on the challenge of parenthood, read the Bible and live a "purpose-driven life."

Taking the Winter Olympics job across the country in Salt Lake City was "crazy. It was also the best move we ever made because it came with a higher purpose."

The treatment Ann Romney received in Utah helped put the disease in remission, and she was able to run with the Olympic torch just before the Opening Ceremony in 2002.

Much earlier, she had started on another difficult but rewarding endeavor: parenting.

"Too often, young people put off parenting, thinking they can’t have a career and a family," said Ann Romney, who had the first of her five sons when she was a student at Brigham Young University. "It’s as challenging as any job you might choose to do and more rewarding than anything else you can imagine."

Keeping with the theme of traditional values, she encouraged the students to look to the Bible.

"The Bible works, so do what it says. You may not believe, like I do, the Bible was inspired by God, but if not, you’d surely have to admit it was written by some greatest philosophers and thinkers in history," she said. "Either way, it’s worth paying a good deal of attention to what it has to say."

story continues below
story continues below

For many of the graduates, she said, this might be the first time they don’t have a straightforward path to what to do next.

"You’re on a train that’s been going full speed ahead, and suddenly you’re out of track," she said, remembering her own graduation day. "I had a very clear realization that I had no idea what was next for me."

And the "anemic" economy still makes things tough for newly minted graduates, she said.

"It used to be that the American Dream was to own your own home," she said. "Now the American Dream is getting your kids out of the home you own."

But there’s still "adventure ahead."

While it may not include a curriculum, the world beyond college holds plenty of learning for the Class of 2014, said student speaker Valerie Owens. The creative-writing major called it "the university of experience."

"You are a student to every man, woman and child you will ever meet," she said. "This life is a beautiful thing to be living, and the knowledge you gain will only make it all the more worthwhile."


Twitter: @lwhitehurst

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.