Elder Kerr takes reins of Church education

The First Presidency announced Jan. 12 the appointment of Elder W. Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy as Church Commissioner of Education.

Under the direction of the Church Board of Education and Board of Trustees, Elder Kerr will direct operations of Church higher education institutions, including Brigham Young University, BYU-Idaho, BYU-Hawaii and LDS Business College. He will also have responsibility for seminaries and institutes of religion.

Elder Kerr, 69, succeeds Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve, who has served as Church Commissioner of Education for 17 years.

Elder Kerr is a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Prior to his call as a General Authority in 1996, Elder Kerr had extensive experience as an educator, having served as Utah Commissioner of Higher Education, president of Dixie College and in a number of administrative positions at BYU, University of Utah, Utah State University and Weber State University. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Utah State University and his doctorate from the University of Utah.

Under Elder Eyring's leadership, the Church Educational System has experienced tremendous growth and change. Seminary and institute enrollment has increased 230 percent, driven by increases in international areas where CES operates in approximately 140 countries. Ricks College was renamed BYU-Idaho and changed from a two-year junior college to a four-year university.

Elder Eyring also guided the implementation of a common admissions process for all Church higher education institutions and a shared library system where all library resources are available to each of the campuses.

The First Presidency expressed appreciation and gratitude for Elder Eyring's long years of service and leadership as Church Commissioner of Education.