“Bolivian Twins Enroll at BYU to Fulfill Promise Made by President Nixon,” Ensign, Sept. 1973, 93
Little did President Richard M. Nixon realize 18 years ago that he would be sending two students to Brigham Young University, but this summer Judith and Ruth Leonardini, twin sisters from La Paz, Bolivia, enrolled at BYU under the President’s sponsorship.
The story began when the then U.S. Vice-President Nixon was touring Latin America and cradled the twin baby girls in his arms on a visit to a public health clinic. Captivated by the twins, he promised to provide them with a college education in the United States when they grew up.
On the girls’ eighteenth birthday last March, the President’s promise was recalled, and arrangements were made to bring Judith and Ruth to the United States. As news of the girls’ hopes to accept the offer became known, some 27 colleges offered them full scholarships, including President Nixon’s alma mater in southern California.
However, since the President’s visit 18 years ago, the two girls, along with their family, had been converted to the Church, and they expressed the desire to attend BYU. Currently enrolled with other international students in an intensive English language class, the girls will assume regular classes with the new college year.