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Learning from Our Giants – Honored Alumni Lecture 2023

The College of Nursing had the privilege of hosting Shannon-Francis Clegg as part of their 2023 Homecoming celebration. Shannon’s remarkable career, which blended her nursing and MBA degrees to enhance patient care and healthcare delivery, drew praise from Dean Jane Lasseter, who called her "a beacon of light in the field of healthcare."

Over the last 18 years, Shannon's impressive journey includes becoming one of Utah's first internationally board-certified lactation consultants in 1996, balancing healthcare strategy with clinical work, and providing direct assistance to patients and colleagues. Her career extends far beyond hospitals to a strong emphasis in volunteer work, such as contributing to the Church's Missionary Department, leading the development of a maternity hospital in Tanzania, and serving on the Board of Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Somaliland. Post-retirement, she is actively involved in aiding the Utah Department of Corrections in establishing a nursery within the prison to support eligible incarcerated women to care for their babies.

However, Shannon's lecture was not a conventional recitation of her impressive achievements. Instead, she chose to shine a spotlight on the people who had supported her on her unique career path – her "giants." Quoting Bernard de Chartres, she shared a profound perspective: "We are like dwarves, sitting on the shoulders of giants so that we are able to see more and further than they, not indeed by the sharpness of our own vision, or the height of our bodies, but because we are lifted on high and raised aloft by the greatness of giants."

Shannon eloquently shared the giants in her life, acknowledging the pivotal roles played by eternal giants like Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, family members, teachers, fellow students, colleagues, managers, formal mentors, professional mentors, and humanitarian giants. In a humble and moving gesture, she invited her "giants" in attendance to stand and wave to the students, narrating how they had positively impacted her life. Her parents, siblings, children, spouse, friends, bosses, mentors, and even her high school teacher stood and were met with enthusiastic applause from the attending students, reinforcing Shannon's message about the profound importance of the people in their lives.

In her parting words, Shannon left the students with a compelling challenge: to recognize the giants in their own lives, to allow mentors to influence their paths, to have the courage to try new endeavors, to give back by "going forth and serving," and to become mentors themselves, lifting others onto their shoulders.

Dean Lasseter concluded the event by presenting Shannon with a bust called “The Robed Messiah” by sculptor DJ Bawden, expressing gratitude for Shannon’s willingness to address the college and her unwavering commitment to the values of the BYU College of Nursing. This gathering of students, faculty, alumni, friends, and family alike brought Shannon's message to life, inspiring all in attendance to recognize and appreciate the giants who illuminate their path as a part of BYU's 2023 Homecoming celebration.