Ricks College alumni gather for 'family reunion'

A "family reunion" was the way Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Seventy described a Ricks College alumni reception in Salt Lake City April 3.

About 120 people, including former students and several General Authorities, attended the reception, held between the Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening sessions of general conference. Many who attended the Saturday afternoon session walked over to the reception, which was at the Lion House a block away from Temple Square. They were greeted by four presidents - past and present - of the college, including Elder Eyring, who is now the Church's Commissioner of Education. Others in the reception line included Elder Eyring's wife, Kathleen; Bruce C. Hafen, now BYU provost, and his wife, Marie; Elder Joe L. Christensen of the Seventy, and his wife, Barbara; and current Pres. Steven D. Bennion and his wife, Marjorie.Elder Eyring served as president from 1971-77, Brother Hafen from 1977-85, and Elder Christensen from 1985-89. Pres. Bennion took over the helm of the college in 1989.

In addition to meeting the presidents, those attending the reception, held in the garden of the Lion House, mingled and reminisced about their years at the Church-owned two-year college in Rexburg, Idaho. They also viewed three aerial photos of the college on tripods set up in the garden, and photo displays - set up inside the Lion House - of the college and its students.

Commenting on associating once again with former colleagues of the college, Elder Eyring said, "I only wish I could have them all here because there is not a person I served with who doesn't feel almost like family. I think that's the feeling of Ricks College. And it's interesting how even when you meet just a few people from the college that feeling comes back again."

Pres. Bennion remarked, "It's wonderful to have occasions when you can bring people together who have been at Ricks - the whole range of times. We're talking about graduates from the late 1930s all the way up to last year."

One of the earliest students to attend the reception was Lillian Johanson Rumsey, who graduated from Ricks with a high school degree in 1926. She went on to receive her associate's degree in education, with a minor in psychology, in 1930, and a four-year degree in education from the college in 1956. The college was only a four-year institution for a short time. Sister Rumsey taught school in Rigby, Idaho, near Rexburg, for 22 years.

There were also many former students at the reception who only recently graduated, such as Gary and Suzanne Reeder Hill of Salt Lake City. Brother and Sister Hill graduated in 1987 from Ricks College in accounting and elementary education, respectively. The young couple met at the college and married in the Salt Lake Temple in 1986. Brother Hill later received a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah, and, today, is working for an accounting firm.

Sister Hill said being at the reception brought back that "Ricks feeling." - Julie A. Dockstader

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