REXBURG, Idaho — A new chapter in Church Educational System history began Oct. 11 as President Gordon B. Hinckley installed Kim Bryce Clark as president of BYU-Idaho.
Knowledge, understanding and education are all eternal things, declared President Hinckley during the ceremony that installed the former dean of the Harvard Business School as the 15th president of BYU-Idaho, a Church-owned institution in southeastern Idaho. President Hinckley referred to a section of scripture he called a "mandate given this people through divine revelation."
He then quoted from Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-79: "And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another. . . . Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God."
President Hinckley then added, "I know of no other religious body which has in its doctrine any such statement."
The Church leader presided at inaugural events, which included a luncheon honoring the new President Clark, 56, who since 1995 had been dean of the Harvard Business School and the George F. Baker professor of administration. Accompanying President Hinckley were his counselors in the First Presidency, President Thomas S. Monson and President James E. Faust. Also present were Elders Richard G. Scott, Robert D. Hales, Henry B. Eyring and David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve, along with other Church and auxiliary leaders.
Others attending included Elder Earl C. Tingey of the Presidency of the Seventy, Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Seventy, Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, Relief Society general president, and Sister Susan W. Tanner, Young Women general president. Representing other Church-owned schools were BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson, BYU-Hawaii President Eric B. Shumway, and LDS Business College President Stephen K. Woodhouse.
Offering remarks during inaugural ceremonies were Elder W. Rolfe Kerr of the Seventy and Commissioner of the Church Educational System, Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne and Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers.
In his address in a packed auditorium on the Rexburg campus, President Hinckley declared that education "is part of our religion."
"It is for this reason that this Church spends millions of its resources on educating its young people. Our annual budget for education is the largest single budget we have in the Church, with the exception of expenditures for building and maintaining houses of worship as we grow and advance across the world."
Speaking of BYU-Idaho, BYU-Provo, BYU-Hawaii and LDS Business College, President Hinckley continued: "These are not only first-class institutions for the teaching of secular subjects. A fundamental and basic part of their curriculum is the teaching of values, of moral responsibility, of spiritual truth, of faith. They demonstrate, as I think no other institutions across America have demonstrated, that a first-class secular education can be taught in company with a strong and solid teaching of values and spiritual truth."
In addition, President Hinckley said, where the Church cannot maintain universities, there is a program of religious institutes with facilities near the campuses of almost every major educational institution in America.
Speaking of President Clark's teaching of a management concept called modularity, which can mean various components assembled into an efficient whole, President Hinckley said: "I suggest that on this campus you have the great opportunity and the great challenge of melding together into a wonderful and interesting whole a tremendous variety of young people who come from all across America and some foreign lands, bringing them all together in a great body of scholars who will learn together and assist one another and will work with each other to bring about vast good in the world in which they will live."
Welcoming President Clark to BYU-Idaho, the Church president said: "You are an individual with a demonstrated humanitarian spirit. You are recognized for your abilities across the world. Now you have been kind enough to come here, to build this university."
In his inaugural response, President Clark said there are "three great imperatives, three great things the Lord would have us do. The first is that we must raise substantially the quality of every aspect of the experience our students have."
As good as that is now, he emphasized, every dimension — spiritual, intellectual, social — must increase in quality. "I see ahead a season of creativity and innovation, a great season of powerful new ideas and new curricula all across this campus. I see inquiry and scholarship that is blessed with inspiration because it is done by faculty whose hearts are right, whose eyes are single to the glory of God, and who desire nothing in their work but to bless the lives of their students."
The second imperative, he said, is to "make a BYU-Idaho education available to many more of the young people of the Church."
This has begun, he said, with the three-track admission system. "But we must continue to search for creative ways to organize, schedule, and calendar the educational experiences of our students so that more of them may come."
Imperative number three, he said, is to lower the relative cost of education. "Our path is one of consecration and deeper knowledge of the processes of learning and teaching. With that depth and that consecration will come new ways of learning and teaching that will yield a higher quality experience while requiring relatively fewer resources per student."
In his remarks, Elder Kerr said that President Clark is "uniquely qualified to lead this institution. He has quickly become aware of the unique educational mission and model of the university. He has been a perfect fit for his entrepreneurial interests and his creative spirit."
Gov. Kempthorne welcomed President Clark to Idaho and expressed confidence that "your commitment to the highest quality of education will continue here at BYU-Idaho."
Harvard University President Summers said the news of President Clark taking the helm at BYU-Idaho was "bittersweet" for Harvard but "wonderful news for your university, and for all who care about American higher education and the character of those who lead its institutions."
During a luncheon, Elder Bednar offered brief remarks, during which he honored President Clark's wife, Sue Hunt Clark, who is known for her "inherent sense of compassion."
Elder Bednar, who until 2004 served as president of BYU-Idaho, formerly Ricks College, said every wife of every president at this Church institution has brought "a remarkable tone and sense of love to this campus."
Offering the invocation for the inaugural ceremonies was Elder Scott; Sister Parkin offered the benediction. Performing for the formal ceremonies was the BYU-Idaho Combined Choirs and Symphony Orchestra, with conductors R. Kevin Call and Kevin Brower.
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