Lest We Forget
PROVO, Utah – Dec 09, 2022 – One of the most iconic marks of BYU is the slogan, “Enter to Learn; Go Forth to Serve.” For Veterans Day this year, BYU’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs remembered those who paid the ultimate sacrifice through military service and honored all those who exemplify this commission, including finance professor Jim Brau.
BYU’s ROTC program, hosted through the BYU Marriott School of Business, held Veterans Day activities on November 10, 2022. Cadets, cadre, and other guests, including Brigitte Madrian, BYU Marriott dean, first gathered in the Wilkinson Student Center’s reflection room.
A solemn, quiet place, the reflection room features a memorial wall on its south side, which displays the names of all BYU-affiliated service members who died in combat since World War I. Two cadets read each name on the wall and laid a wreath to traditionally honor them. Afterward, the audience observed a moment of silence to remember the sacrifices made by these military members.
Families of the three men most recently killed in combat attended this year’s Veterans Day event. After laying the wreath, BYU cadets presented the three families with a plaque that honors their respective loved ones. Copies of these three plaques, along with a few others, also hang in the Daniel H. Wells Building, serving as a constant reminder of BYU’s fallen to the cadets and cadre.
This moment inspired BYU ROTC cadet Dillan Rowley, who assisted with the wreath-laying ceremony. “Giving your life is difficult, but it must be even more challenging for your family,” says Rowley. “Observing the families at this event touched me the most and allowed me to see what dying for your country truly means. Honoring these soldiers and their loved ones in some small way, even with a plaque, was meaningful.”
The ceremony was also particularly stirring and powerful for BYU military science instructor Major Roland Griffith, who personally knew two of the deceased men. “Life is eternal,” he says. “This event reminded me of the power of the plan of salvation and the strength of the brotherhood and sisterhood that exists in the military between members of the church. The military is an incredible way to serve and live the values we espouse."
After the ceremony, the group marched to Brigham Square for the presidential review. President Kevin J Worthen spoke, giving insights on the history of Veterans Day and the military’s presence at BYU. Then Colonel Seth Miller, BYU military science department chair, presented Jim Brau, finance professor at BYU Marriott, with this year’s Leadership Excellence Award.
Receiving this award reflects Brau’s extensive leadership experience, including leading three combat platoons while serving in the military, helping to launch the finance major at BYU, and teaching EMBA classes to train society’s current and future leaders.
Although currently teaching finance at BYU Marriott, Brau has been associated with the military for decades and proved himself worthy of the award. For his undergraduate degree, Brau attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the army for nearly a decade. In fact, after receiving his PhD from Florida State University and then teaching at BYU Marriott for 23 years, Brau rejoined the army in May 2022 as a captain in the National Guard. This commitment provides enough flexibility for Brau to also stay at BYU.
“I am extremely humbled to receive this award,” Brau says. He felt honored to join the list of past recipients, a list which includes distinguished leaders such as Senator Orin Hatch and Elder Dieter Uchtdorf. “If anyone deserves recognition for this achievement, it’s my wife, Michelle,” says Brau. “She has supported me 100%, even when I rejoined the army at such an uncertain time.” After accepting the award, Brau focused his message on the power of language, especially the importance of avoiding profanity.
Both Brau and the other soldiers honored at the event serve as powerful examples of leadership and sacrifice—especially to the cadets, who are preparing for military service. “Our cadets are just starting their military careers,” says Miller. “They are preparing to serve their country, defend the nation, and fight and win wars if necessary. I am consistently humbled by their desire to serve and help others.” Miller adds that because of the cadets’ bright potential, Veterans Day helps him not only to remember the past but look forward to the future.
He emphasizes the strong spirit of this year’s event. “Honoring our students and alumni who paid the ultimate sacrifice to their country was incredibly touching,” Miller says. “Today was full of beautiful, special moments that highlighted military service to our country.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801)-422-1512
Writer: Jaden McQuivey