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Soon after Ann returned to the Brigham Young campus, Romney was shaken by successive traumas.
In the summer, a speeding car driven by a French priest crashed into a packed Citroen DS driven by Romney, injuring the mission president, Duane Anderson, and killing Anderson’s wife, Leola, who was seated between the two men. Duane Anderson of the French Mission were involved in a serious head-on collision on the evening of Monday, June 17th,” read the Progress French East Mission report on June 15, 1968.
It was here that he finally got the girl, started a family and immersed himself in the rituals and works of his church.
Having grown out of his adolescent awkwardness and shed his reputation as a prankster, he turned into an assiduous student, deliberated between a career in business or scholarship, and transformed an elite social club of blazer-clad young men into a fundraising powerhouse.
And then I said, ‘Okay, now you Brother Romney.’ And he said, ‘Okay, Brother Tate. Now ask us a question we can answer.’ ” In a commencement address not long before Romney arrived at Brigham Young, Ernest L.
Wilkinson, the university’s president, declared that the obtaining of a spouse was “more important than the obtaining of a degree.” He called his campus “the happiest hunting ground in the world.” The message had a special meaning for Romney.
But an unforeseen challenge to Mitt’s relationship with his longtime girlfriend, Ann Davies, changed his perspective. Ann, a few years behind him in school, had enrolled at Brigham Young in 1967.
Romney by then had left Stanford after his first year to perform missionary work in France.
Three days a week, the young Mormons walked under the school’s iconic Y Mountain, named for a 380-foot concrete letter built into the hillside, then past a bronze statue of church prophet Brigham Young and into the windowless classroom to discuss the great books.But he recovered quickly, only to receive another emotional blow: one of the dreaded Dear John letters that papered the walls of Mormon missions around the world arrived with his name on it.Ann wrote to him that back at BYU she had started dating Kim S.His father, then the Michigan governor, had played a key role in all of this, personally baptizing Ann and her brother into the fold of the Mormon Church.Ann started her freshman year in Provo in 1967 while Mitt was off knocking on doors and seeking converts as a missionary, a task that earned him a draft deferment.