Who is Elder Alvin F. Meredith III, BYU–Idaho’s new president?

Elder D. Todd Christofferson described the new president as ‘an effective teacher and leader of organizations’

REXBURG, Idaho — Elder Alvin F. Meredith III stepped onto the BYU–Idaho campus for the first time on a snowy Saturday last February. 

As a General Authority Seventy, he was assigned to reorganize a local stake presidency. He was assisted in that process by BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring, who also serves as an Area Seventy.

Elder Meredith and his wife, Sister Jennifer Meredith, could feel the distinct culture of the school, he recalled. “We stand in awe of the uniqueness of this university.”

For President Henry J. Eyring, that snowy day in February was remarkable for a different reason. He and Elder Meredith interviewed many stake president candidates and deliberated shoulder to shoulder. Gradually, they discerned who the Lord wanted them to call. “I can still feel the unity that came to us in the stillness,” President Eyring said. “We qualified for heaven’s direction.”

That experience demonstrated to President Eyring that Elder and Sister Meredith are prepared to take on their new role.

Elder Alvin F. Meredith III and Sister Jennifer Meredith walk on stage during the devotional where it was announced that Elder Meredith will become the new president of BYU–Idaho, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. | Nicolette Muhlestein, BYU–Idaho

Amid blue skies and spring sunshine, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles announced on Tuesday, May 16, that Elder Meredith will replace President Henry J. Eyring on Aug. 1, becoming the university’s 18th president.

Speaking to students and faculty gathered in the BYU–I Center on campus, Elder Christofferson noted he has known Elder Meredith, known as “Trip” to his friends and family, since he was a teenager. “My admiration for him only grows as time passes,” Elder Christofferson said, calling him “an effective teacher and leader of organizations.”

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Elder Meredith was sustained on April 3, 2021, as a General Authority Seventy and will continue in that role as he serves as president of the university.

Moments after the announcement was made, President and Sister Eyring offered their “hearty” endorsement of Elder and Sister Meredith as the new leaders of the university. 

BYU–Idaho President Henry J. Eyring hugs the new designated president, Elder Alvin F. Meredith III, who will replace President Eyring starting Aug. 1, 2023. The announcement was made May 16, 2023, in Rexburg, Idaho. | Madeline Jex, BYU–Idaho

In standing at the podium of the voluminous auditorium of the BYU–I Center for the first time, Elder Meredith paid tribute to President Henry J. Eyring, who has served in leadership positions at the university for the past 17 years.

“In just a few interactions with him, I have learned that President Henry J. Eyring is a builder of people. He is a lifter. He leaves a wonderful legacy of disciple leadership, innovation, inspired teaching and frugality. He has not only guarded the spirit of Ricks, but he epitomizes it,” Elder Meredith said. (Ricks College is the former name of BYU–Idaho.)

At the press conference following the announcement of his presidency in 2017, President Henry J. Eyring said that he would “stand on the shoulders of giants” who had preceded him. “He is one of those giants of this great university, and I will count it as a blessing and privilege to strive to stand on his shoulders,” Elder Meredith said.

After admitting that he and his wife are still learning about what contributes to BYU–Idaho’s unique culture, Elder Meredith said they left the campus last February with two impressions.

Elder D. Todd Christofferson greets the new designated president of BYU–Idaho, Elder Alvin F. Meredith III, and his wife, Sister Jennifer Meredith. The announcement was made May 16, 2023, in Rexburg, Idaho. | Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho

First, they were impressed by the faculty’s focus on creating an “unparalleled” learning environment. “We are inspired by the administration and faculty’s commitment to remain student-focused and singular in the emphasis on teaching,” Elder Meredith said.

Second, “the thing that makes this institution so special is that the litmus test for all that happens here is how it affects each student’s testimony of and conversion to Jesus Christ.”

Quoting the foundational address by President Henry B. Eyring, second counselor in the First Presidency, “A Steady, Upward Course,” where he states that every change must be measured against whether it builds true conversion in the heart of a student, Elder Meredith promised, “My wife and I will do all we can to join with you to honor that charge.”

Getting to know Elder Meredith

Alvin Frazier Meredith III was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 22, 1970, to Alvin Frazier Meredith Jr. and Mary Smartt Meredith.

Elder Meredith’s mother and Sister Meredith’s parents were converts to the Church. “We come from good stock, just not pioneer stock,” Elder Meredith told the Church News after being called as a general authority

After serving a full-time mission in the Utah Salt Lake City Mission, he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brigham Young University in 1994 and a Master of Business Administration in 2001 from the University of Chicago. 

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles greets the Meredith children after the devotional where it was announced their father, Elder Alvin F. Meredith, would be the new president of BYU–Idaho, on May 16, 2023. | Michael Lewis, BYU–Idaho
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He married Jennifer Denise Edgin on June 6, 1998, in the Salt Lake Temple. In introducing their family to the campus community on Tuesday, Sister Meredith noted they have six children: three young adults and three soon-to-be young adults. The oldest two recently returned from missions while their oldest daughter is set to begin home MTC for her assignment to Sweden. Their fourth child just attended junior prom, the fifth child just got his driving learner’s permit and the youngest turned 13 two weeks ago, becoming an “official teenager.”

“These are exciting times in your lives,” Sister Meredith told students. “We know because we are living with them in the Meredith home.”

Although Elder Meredith grew up in a small town in Tennessee, his employment — including his time as a senior executive of a global technology firm — has taken him all over the world. 

In the last decade, he has fulfilled Church assignments in Utah, Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama and North Carolina in the United States. In Asia he served in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, China, Thailand and India. 

One of the highlights of their life, Sister Meredith said, was serving as mission leaders of the Utah Salt Lake City South Mission. Fortunately, many of their missionaries are now students at BYU–Idaho.

“We count it a great blessing to have served in the buckle of the Bible Belt in the South (of the United States), and all over Asia and in the heart of the Church here in Salt Lake,” Elder Meredith said in a Church News article in 2021. 

As Sister Meredith concluded her remarks on Tuesday and passed by her husband on his way to the microphone, he reached out for a quick kiss, which produced an audible “Aw” from many in the audience. “You’ll see a lot more of that,” Elder Meredith said as students laughed.

Elder Meredith joked that while students may only tolerate him, they will love his wife. “There is a culture of service here, so you know from personal experience that you can love those that you are called to serve, even before getting to know them. Well, Sister Meredith and I love you already,” he said.

Over the past 25 years, Sister Meredith said, she has seen her husband lead their family and their missionaries with high love, high expectations, good humor and a big smile. “I know you will come to love and appreciate his warmth and servant-leadership.”

Both the president-designate and his wife pledged their commitment to the mission of the university. “Our greatest desire for our children, our missionaries, and now for you as our students at this sacred institution is to become lifelong disciples of Jesus Christ,” Sister Meredith said.

“I look forward to being His disciple alongside each of you,” Elder Meredith told students.

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