In October of 1975, President Spencer W. Kimball visited BYU and gave what is known as his Second Century Address. He said, “I am both hopeful and expectant that out of this university and the Church Educational System there will rise brilliant stars in drama, literature, music, sculpture, painting, science, and in all the scholarly graces. This university can be the refining host for many such individuals who will touch men and women the world over long after they have left this campus.” I have thought a lot about this idea of being a refining host and have wondered what that means and how it can be achieved. The verb to refine means to make something more pure or perfect by small improvements. A host is a place or organization that provides the space, facilities, and services for an endeavor. I have concluded that the College of Life Sciences can be a refining host for our students when faculty and staff are dedicated to the notion that our primary responsibility is to help students realize their full human potential, as stated in the BYU Mission Statement. One way faculty contribute to the refining of their students is by involving them in mentored research. This edition of the Life Sciences magazine reports on the efforts of eight faculty to push against the frontiers of biomedical research in search of new ways to benefit mankind. Think of how students are refined as they participate in these noble and challenging endeavors. They learn, through hands-on experiences, the importance of sound research approaches and careful experimental techniques. They also learn that research is not just about their own advancement; it can also help mankind. It is common for our faculty to sacrifice potential research productivity and personal accolades in an effort to provide students with these refining experiences. We want to become the refining hosts President Kimball envisioned. For this reason, one of our college initiatives is to find financial support for undergraduate mentored learning. We hope you will want to help.
Dean James Porter