Harvard dean to lead BYU-Idaho

Kim B. Clark named president of Church university in Rexburg

The dean of the Harvard Business School will be coming soon to Rexburg, Idaho, as the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

During a press conference in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City on June 6, which was fed live via satellite to facilities on the southeastern Idaho campus, President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the appointment of Kim Bryce Clark to be the next president of BYU-Idaho. Also attending the event were Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve and Elder W. Role Kerr of the Seventy and Commissioner of Church Education.

Soon-to-be President Clark, 56, who has been at Harvard Business School for 27 years, the last 10 as the dean, will take over the reins of the Church-owned four-year school soon after his last day at Harvard on July 31. A former missionary in Germany and former bishop, he will succeed Robert M. Wilkes, who has been serving as interim president after the calling last October of former BYU-Idaho president Elder David A. Bednar to the Quorum of the Twelve. Elder Bednar presided over the institution's transition in 2001 from a two-year college to a four-year university.

"(It is a) tremendous thing to have the dean of the Harvard Business School come to preside in Idaho, in Rexburg," President Hinckley told media gathered in Salt Lake City. "Wonderful! He'll trade the halls of Harvard for a view of the Grand Teton mountains of Idaho."

During the press conference, during which President Clark joined via a satellite feed from Harvard University in Boston, Mass., President Hinckley spoke of the search for "an individual who would add distinction to the office, and one well qualified to move the institution forward on its destined course.

"We selected a man of tremendous talent and great accomplishment to carry the institution to even new heights," the Church president continued. "With great delight, he has consented to take over the leadership of the university. . . . (President Clark) brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge. For the past 10 years, he has directed an institution renowned throughout the world."

In his remarks, President Hinckley referred to the "remarkable job" Elder Bednar had done in presiding over the transition of Ricks College to BYU-Idaho. He also thanked President Wilkes and his wife, Estella, for "their noteworthy contributions." President Wilkes came out of retirement in December to temporarily preside over the school.

In describing the qualifications of the new president of BYU-Idaho, President Hinckley spoke of President Clark's scholarly publications and journals and his "distinguished associations."

"Dr. Clark is one who leads by example and as a result has built an environment at the Harvard Business School where faculty and students enjoy coming to work each day. He is a man of tremendous integrity, who is deeply respected and admired. He is inclusive in his leadership and believes strongly in developing those around him and creating new opportunities for them to grow and succeed."

President Hinckley also extended a warm welcome to President Clark's wife, Sue. President and Sister Clark have seven children and seven grandchildren.

"I am deeply honored to be chosen for this very important role," President Clark said during his brief remarks. "I am tremendously excited about this new responsibility and this new opportunity. I look forward to working with everyone in the community (of Rexburg)."

The new president admitted some "degree of sadness" in leaving the Harvard community. "I am going to miss my colleagues in a school that I love."

He then listed three reasons he is looking forward to this new assignment:

  • “First, I am a believer that BYU-Idaho has a great mission to educate young people with strong values.
  • “Second, I believe very strongly in the importance of great teaching and great learning. BYU-Idaho has a very strong commitment to student-centered learning. . . .
  • “Third, BYU-Idaho is at a wonderful point and inflection point in its history. . . . This point of inflection means that the university must do many new things and must have a spirit of innovation about it, but it also must build on its legacy and hold on to the things that ought to endure.”

    During a press conference the next day, June 7, on the campus of BYU-Idaho, President and Sister Clark addressed faculty and local media. They were also introduced to students during the regular weekly devotional that afternoon. During the devotional, President Clark said: "I love to learn. I love to teach, and schools and education and learning have been very important in my life, and I believe they have a very special place in the Restoration and in the kingdom of God."

    Sister Clark added her sentiments: "We are thrilled to be here. I want you to know that I know that President Clark and I are here on an errand from the Lord, as are each of you."

    A member of the Harvard faculty since 1978, President Clark received bachelor's (1974), master's (1977) and doctoral (1978) degrees in economics from Harvard University. He has been dean of the Harvard Business School since 1995 and is also the George R. Baker Professor of Administration. During his tenure as dean, he led initiatives in support of the school's educational program, research efforts and unique residential campus. He is the co-author with Carliss Y. Baldwin of the book, Design Rules: The Power of Modularity (MIT Press, 2000).

    Along with serving a mission in Germany as a young man, he is a former bishop, elders quorum president, stake high councilor and Scoutmaster. (Please see article in Feb. 24, 1996, Church News for an earlier profile on President Clark.)

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