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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Brigham Young University President Merrill Bateman bid farewell and 4,621 students received degrees at the school's spring commencement.
Bateman told the gathering Thursday that he and his wife, Marilyn, have spent seven wonderful years at the university.
"It took us longer to graduate than most of you," Bateman joked.
Bateman is returning to full-time service in leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Cecil O. Samuelson Jr., a medical doctor and member of the church's First Quorum of the Seventy, is replacing Bateman as BYU president.
Elder Russell M. Ballard, a member of the church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said, "Thank you president, for all you and Marilyn have done here at Brigham Young University."
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)