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Touched by the Spirit

August 2012

by Howard Collett

neal-hooper

Being touched by the Spirit is a frequent occurrence among students in the inspirational environment of LDS Business College. In fact, many students have such experiences long before setting foot inside the school. Just ask Neal Hooper.

Neal was serving an LDS mission in Costa Rica when the subject of college came up between him and his companion. As they discussed their options, they settled on LDS Business College.

“It felt like the right fit,” said Neal, from Lincoln, California. “I didn’t feel ready to go to a four-year university and thought that LDSBC would provide a good start.”

But Neal’s good start turned out to be harder than he imagined.

“After my mission, I encountered a significant financial difficulty that made my attendance at college seem impossible,” said Neal. “But I received a strong prompting to go anyway.”

Neal searched high and low for employment with no luck. He had to live very humbly to make ends meet. But enduring the challenge for a time opened two new doors. Neal was awarded a service scholarship offered for one semester to new students who have completed an LDS mission, and he was offered a job at the student support office at the college.

“I discovered that Heavenly Father orchestrated everything to help me get into school and get a very fulfilling and rewarding job,” Neal said.

It was during his first semester that Neal also learned one of life’s most important lessons.

“I discovered how to learn the Lord's way,” he said. “I learned the value of thoroughness in my work and diligence in my trials. This is an invaluable treasure that will help me in any learning capacity I might encounter for the rest of my life.”

Neal said he also learned helpful concepts at weekly devotionals, business skills in his classes and in other school activities such as the “Preparing for Professions” conference, and was able to enhance his teaching and leadership skills through the “Foundations of Learning” and “Principles of Leadership” courses. He also started a principle based improv club—“Play Theory” perhaps the most successful club the school has ever seen.

“One of my fondest memories,” said Neal, “is the opportunity I had to attend the Distinguished Alumnus dinner where Patricia Holland was being recognized as a former student at the LDS Business College right before I graduated. I was able to sit at the table of Elder Christofferson, Elder Holland, President Richards, and their wives. It was such a neat and sacred experience to see them in that capacity and to feel their love and great spirits.”

This summer, Neal landed a great job doing instructional design for the LDS Church. He’s working on a project to help missionaries explain family history and FamilySearch to those of other faiths and use family history as a proselyting tool. His excitement about the project even caused him to change his major when he attends Utah State University in the fall. With all his success, however, he hasn’t forgotten those who opened the doors to his education.

“There's no way I would have ever made it without the scholarships I received at LDSBC,” said Neal. “Knowing that my education was made possible through the sacrifice and contributions of others—not only scholarships, but also tithing dollars—gives me an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the great opportunity to attend such a wonderful institution. Now that I have been blessed so extensively, it is my turn to give back in any way possible. I plan to study international business with a minor in instructional design and hope to help others learn and grow more efficiently through the tools and training that I will attain.”