REXBURG, Idaho — Ground was broken May 29 for a new building to replace the former Jacob Spori Building at Ricks College. Prior to the symbolic turning of soil, Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve and Commissioner of Church Education paid tribute to faithful, pioneer Church members who built the original building. He challenged the younger generation to follow in their path.
In speaking to an audience of young college students and older community residents, the former Ricks College president (1971-1977) said Church members sacrificed to build the original academy building at the turn of the 20th century that later became known as the Spori Building. He said these saints were poor and living on the frontier, but they sacrificed because they valued education.
In previewing the new Spori Building, he said, "When you see the (new) building go up, I hope you will see Latter-day Saints in Albania and Peru who have built it out of sacrifice," referring to the use of tithing funds from Church members.
Elder Eyring paid tribute to Jacob Spori, a Swiss convert who served as the first principal of Bannock Stake Academy, which grew into Ricks College and will become BYU-Idaho this fall. He said the educator symbolizes many people who are seekers and willing to sacrifice everything for the gospel of Jesus Christ. "Real seekers seek the kingdom of God and build it up. That's the way Jacob Spori was, that's what you are," he told the students. "He hopes that seekers like Jacob Spori will always continue to come to the college."
Ricks College President David A. Bednar said the building is intended "to look to the past with fondness and gratitude and to future with hope and anticipation." He said there are many parallels between the old and new Spori buildings that will be built almost exactly 100 years apart. First classes in the original building were held in 1903 and first classes in the new building are expected to be held in 2003.