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Words flowed smoothly as the orator stood before his audience. An aura of confidence radiated as the well-prepared five-year-old, Kim B. Clark, delivered his assignments for the elocution class. His mother was pleased. She knew the courses would help prepare him for a successful future as he studied vocabulary, poetry, and the scriptures and gave dramatic readings. The young boy trained his mind to memorize and learned to sculpt words by writing poetry. His confidence, abilities, and opportunities grew through the years. Then on June 6, 2005, Dr. Kim B. Clark was announced as the fifteenth president of Brigham Young University–Idaho.
Kim was born March 20, 1949, in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Merlin and Helen Mar Hickman Clark. The oldest of three children, he was eleven years old when the Clark family moved to Spokane, Washington. There he attended Joel E. Ferris High School where he played varsity basketball and baseball. He filled his teen years with music and friends by playing bass guitar and organ in a band.
In 1967 he was accepted into Harvard University as a pre-med major. After what he felt was a dismal freshman year, he left Harvard and served two years as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the South German Mission. Upon his return to the United States, he enrolled at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Not only did he rediscover the joys of learning, but more importantly, he met the love of his life, Sue Lorraine Hunt from Waterflow, New Mexico.
After accepting an invitation to Sunday dinner as a family home evening brother, Kim kept crossing paths with Sue on campus. Soon, meeting became much more than happenstance and life was forever changed for the girl who was reared in a small desert farming community. Sue is the third child of eight born to Charles Ray and Ernestine Burk Hunt and a graduate of BYU. Kim and Sue were married in June of 1971 in the Salt Lake Temple and soon found themselves headed back to Harvard for what they felt would be a few short years.
Kim changed his major and received his bachelor's degree in economics in 1974. That same year he was accepted into the graduate program in economics at Harvard University. Early in 1975 he became a research assistant to John Dunlop, a professor in the economics department. When Professor Dunlop was named as Secretary of Labor under former President Gerald R. Ford, Kim went to Washington, D.C., to serve on his staff. In 1976 Professor Dunlop left Washington and returned to Harvard as a member of the Business School faculty. Kim returned to his own studies at Harvard. He completed his master's degree in 1977 and his doctorate in 1978, both in economics. Upon graduation Dr. Clark was accepted as a faculty member at the Business School. He later served as dean and the George F. Baker professor of administration from 1995-2005.
From these positions, Dr. Clark developed a wide spectrum of influence. His research and publications have made a substantial contribution to the global business community. As the dean of the Harvard Business School, he had many interviews with the media where he emphasized ethics and moral integrity. In addition, Dean Clark taught his students that no success in the business world would compensate for failure in their homes.
He lived by the same ethic: the Clark family rule was no business work at night or on the weekends. For the family his presence brought a sense of security. The Clark home was blessed with seven children, including twin daughters. As parents, Kim and Sue followed the pattern taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They held family home evenings, learned how to study scriptures together, prayed daily as a family, and were active in attending church. The children were involved in church-sponsored activities and programs.
Like all parents, the Clarks found their life with a growing family was not always perfect. Through these challenges they each learned to strengthen their parenting skills and to become more united in their parental guidance. Recognizing that others could benefit from their experiences, Kim and Sue frequently accept the invitation to speak in an effort to help strengthen the homes and families of others.
In addition to his church service as a missionary, President Clark has served in numerous positions including bishop, bishopric counselor, high councilor, elders quorum president, ward executive secretary, gospel doctrine teacher, Scoutmaster, and counselor in a stake mission presidency. At the same time Sister Clark has willingly served wherever she was called including stake Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary presidencies. President Clark proudly proclaims, "If they gave awards, Sue would be in the Hall of Fame for nursery teachers—an essential position where toddlers are introduced to concepts of the gospel of Christ in a loving, nurturing environment on a weekly basis.
The Clark family has experienced sorrows and joys. They faced Sue's recent battle with cancer and their daughter Julia's diagnosis with Hodgkin's disease with courage and faith. The five oldest children have married and expanded the family circle: Bryce (and Stephanie) Clark, Erin (and Brian) Bradford, Jonathan (and Deborah) Clark, Andrew (and Rebekah) Clark, and Michael (and Hannah) Clark. The twins, Julia and Jennifer, are attending Brigham Young University in Provo. Kim and Sue currently have seven grandchildren with more expected soon.
In early spring of 2005, Kim and Sue discussed options for their future. The completion of his tenure as dean of the Harvard Business School was getting closer. In earnest prayer they sought an answer from the Lord. They would willingly go wherever He needed them to be. Then came a phone call from President Gordon B. Hinckley. "Would you be interested in presiding over BYU–Idaho?" he asked.
There was no doubt in the reply. With a heart willing to answer the call of a prophet, and with a sincere interest in the opportunity, Dr. Kim B. Clark, with his wife Sue at his side, left a prestigious career at Harvard to preside at Brigham Young University–Idaho. With firm resolve, he continues to guide the institution on its steady, upward course.