Beloved Former Dean of Students and Internal Affairs Leaves a Lasting Legacy of Light at BYU Law

On Friday, November 5, 2021, friends and family of Wendy C. Tidwell Archibald (‘93) gathered at BYU Law School for a memorial presentation in her honor. Wendy Archibald was a beloved member of the BYU Law community and served as dean of students and internal affairs at BYU Law from 2008 until her passing in 2019. 

The presentation included the unveiling of a stained-glass window titled ‘Ripples of Hope,’ created by artists Gayle and Tom Holdman with generous funding from Wendy’s family, colleagues, friends and students. The presentation also included remarks from and music performed by members of the Archibald family, the Holdmans, and Wendy’s colleagues, Gayla Sorenson, former assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, and D. Gordon Smith, dean of BYU Law..

“Today is a special day at the Law School as we honor Wendy’s memory,” said Dean Smith in his welcoming remarks. “This beautiful piece … will remind us daily of the remarkable power of hope. It’s inspired by one of Wendy’s favorite quotations from a speech given by Robert Kennedy:

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.’”* 

Dean Smith continued, “What makes the phrase ‘ripple of hope’ so powerful to so many of us, is the notion that an individual act of courage or belief can have tremendous influence and indeed, can change the world. We can remember many instances in our own lives in which one person has made a difference in our world. I’m grateful to have known Wendy Archibald, who sent so many ripples of hope into my life and had so much influence beyond me and beyond her own life.”

Madison Archibald, Wendy’s daughter, focused her remarks on her mother’s love for BYU Law and the students she served. “We are here to celebrate a literal representation of Wendy’s colorful light in the place she loved,” Madison said. Recounting the dedication and devotion that Wendy showed to BYU Law students over the years, Madison said, “Every year around this time, Wendy’s schedule would be packed with 15 minute, one-on-one meetings with every fresh-faced and bushy-tailed 1L that was starting out their law school journey. These meetings often lasted much longer than scheduled because, regardless of anyone’s background or circumstances, Wendy was always ready to make a new friend. Whether a student or not, she rallied around those that felt insignificant, making them feel safe, welcomed, and important.” Madison went on to note that Wendy’s “light was felt by all as it was perpetuated throughout the building. Thanks to the efforts of her friends, family, classmates, students, and colleagues, even more students will step through Wendy’s light as they devote their lives to the protection of others under the law.”

Gayle and Tom Holdman expressed gratitude for the “huge honor” it was to create Wendy’s memorial. “When I create art, I like to think about why I’m making it,” Tom said. “Thinking about Wendy, I had a strong impression that as she met with students, who may have often felt rough and broken, she could see a polished crystal.” The window, which has been placed on the west-facing wall of the Law School, was created using European hand blown glass in recognition of Wendy’s missionary service in Spain. It depicts a clear, crystal-like stone entering a pool of blue water. Widening ripples spread out from the stone, and light flows out from it in vivid rays of red and gold, reaching upward and outward. “What an honor it was to think of Wendy’s life,” Holdman said, “and create a piece that captures what she tried to do with it, every hour of the day here at BYU Law, by influencing students. She will continue to influence students both outside and inside of this building.” 

Sharing snippets of emails that she and Wendy had exchanged during the years they worked together at BYU Law, Gayla Sorenson reflected on values that Wendy’s life embodied. “All the ideals that Wendy stood for––trust, empathy, optimism, inclusion––created hope in others,” she said. “I’m so grateful for Wendy’s influence on my life. I am glad for the ‘ripples of hope’ she gave to me. Through this memorial, students will know Wendy, and her influence will continue on for years and decades and generations to come.”

In his closing remarks, Lyle Archibald, Wendy’s husband, thanked everyone who had contributed to the memorial saying, “The memorial is an appropriate symbol of Wendy’s life; she is not the source of the light but a reflection of it in color and warmth. This window will fill BYU Law with all kinds of color and all kinds of light. It reflects freely on everyone, as did Wendy.”

*Robert F. Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Address at the University of Capetown (June 6, 1966) (transcript available at


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