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Carole Mikita reporting It was no surprise to anyone that President Gordon B. Hinckley chose England as the destination of his first international trip after becoming president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He was a missionary there in 1933 and his ancestors came from the British Isles.
When the University of Utah wished to honor him with an endowed chair in British Studies, it came as no surprise to his family, that he agreed.
Virginia Pearce/ Pres. Hinckley's daughter: "THE WORDS OF KIPLING AND SHAKESPEARE AND MILTON WOULD COME OFF OF HIS TONGUE REGULARLY, AND THE NOBILITY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE USED PROPERLY AND THE POWER OF IT."
The university hopes the endowed chair position will act as a magnet attracting scholars from around the world.
Robert Newman, Ph. D./ Dean, College of Humanities: "THE BEST YOUNG FACULTY WOULD COME TO WORK WITH US, AS WELL, WOULD BE ATTRACTED HERE, THE BEST GRADUATE STUDENTS, AND CERTAINLY THE BEST UNDERGRADUATES."
Private fundraising for the endowment has been going on for a couple of years, and the first group of students has gone to London and returned, focusing their studies on the politics in Shakespeare's plays.
Max Freeman/ U. of U. history student: "IT CERTAINLY DID MEAN A LOT TO ME THAT WE WERE ABLE TO GO IN HIS NAME, THAT THERE WAS A SUBSIDY THAT WAS OFFERED, SO THAT STUDENTS WHO MIGHT NOT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GO ON THIS TRIP WERE ABLE TO GET THE FULL EXPERIENCE OF GOING TO LONDON AND STUDYING."
The university is now searching for a scholar, perhaps from Oxford or Cambridge, to lead the program.
The Univeristy of Utah will hold a dinner to honor President Hinckley this July.