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David A. Bednar began serving as president of Ricks College July 1, 1997. At that time, Ricks College was the largest private junior college in the United States with an enrollment of 8,500 full-time students. He guided the major transition to a four-year university as the school became Brigham Young University–Idaho
Elder Bednar was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on October 2, 2004. He subsequently left his position at BYU–Idaho effective December 1, 2004.
Elder Bednar and his wife, the former Susan K. Robinson, are the parents of three sons.