REXBURG, Idah During the exodus from Nauvoo, Thomas E. Ricks was sent with several others to retrieve livestock stolen by American Indians. During the ensuing conflict, he was shot three times and left for dead.
Later, in recounting the experience to family members, he said, "While I lay there weltering in blood, . . . I heard a voice audibly and clearly, 'You will not die; you will go the valley of the mountains and there you will do a great work in your day and generation.' "
President James E. Faust, second counselor in the First Presidency, related this account during an address April 26 at BYU-Idaho and declared: "This was literally fulfilled."
President Faust spoke of Thomas E. Ricks during BYU-Idaho's commencement exercises in Rexburg, Idaho, prior to presiding at the groundbreaking services of a building named in honor of the early Church pioneer for whom Ricks College was named. The groundbreaking services were held in the chapel of the Gordon B. Hinckley Building, which is adjacent the site where the new building will be constructed. Also offering remarks were Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and Sherwood Ricks, a great-great-grandson of Thomas E. Ricks and president of the Ricks Family Organization. After the services, President Faust led those attending outside the building where he and others turned ceremonial shovelfuls of soil.
The Church-owned school in this southeastern Idaho town bore the Ricks name from March 1902 to August 2001 when it was renamed Brigham Young University-Idaho and became a four-year institution. At the time, President Gordon B. Hinckley, in announcing the Board of Trustee's decision, said, "The memory of Thomas E. Ricks will continue to be appropriately honored and perpetuated."
A new 56,200-square-foot building is now under construction for just that purpose. The two-story "L" shaped facility will house the Department of Mathematics; the Department of Psychology; the Department of Sociology and Social Work; and the Department of History, Geography and Political Science.
Thomas E. Ricks was president of the Bannock Stake in Rexburg when the Bannock Stake Academy was established in 1888. The academy was later renamed Ricks Academy and then Ricks College.