Dear Editor:

If you have a special edition, I would like to share my story. I was a geology major, or a "dirt and rock" girl. In 1993, I was a camp boss on the Natural Science Field Expedition with Ed Williams. I met Niki Zarada on the expedition and the day we got back from the Grand Canyon, I was introduced to her brother Chris. The next spring, he proposed to me at Women's Week. We were married the following August in the Chicago Temple and then went on to BYU. 
Originally, I had planned to attend a Division III school in the Midwest to run cross country and track. At the urging of my parents, I changed my mind a few months before school was to start and decided on Ricks College. 
My roommates and I are still close friends. I really feel like my husband and I have an eternal friendship with them.
It seems like it would have been impossible for me to have had a more perfect college experience--climbing up the Tetons and down into the Grand Canyon, campfires and football at the dunes, the three-mile trek to shop (none of us had a car), trips to "I.F.," working for Ricks College catering, working as the "seismograph assistant," Jim and Sharon Papworth's English classes, psychology with Ed Kinghorn, fitness for life with Jim Lamph, cross-country skiing class with Carrie Smith, dances at the Manwaring Center, F.H.E., social dance class, the fine arts credit, trips to Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, mountain biking, road trips to Provo, the homecoming race, the Ricks biathlon, the smell in the air at the football games, and--more than anything--the strong spirit I felt at Tuesday devotionals. I'll never forget sitting in the front, center seat to hear President Howard W. Hunter speak. (He appeared weak, but his words were strong.)
Who would have thought a girl from Illinois could have such opportunities--to travel all over the Western U.S. studying and learning, to meet and marry her best friend É to shake the hand of a prophet of God?
I'm actually sitting here right now crying as I reflect and type. I'm happy for Ricks College (and the Rexburg community) that they will soon be BYU-Idaho, but Ricks seemed perfect; I never wanted it to change. But the change will allow more young members the chance to have experiences like I had. The opportunity for a Latter-day Saint young adult to attend Ricks or any other Church school is a blessing that will stay with them forever.

Candace Clawson Zarada '94

Thank you for your story on the Spori Building (spring 2001). I attended Ricks 15 years ago. I had art classes on the third floor. Your article brought back some sweet memories. It was wonderful to show my children those pictures. I told them how on hot days we would open the windows and see all over campus.
The pictures showed that upper southwest classroom on the third floor. I remember spending time there and learning that creativity and talent are gifts from the Lord.

I cried the night I saw the Spori burning on the news. Your pictures help bring it back for me. I realize what a wonderful opportunity Ricks was. Just thanks for some wonderful memories.

Kelly C. Peterson '87
Burley, Idaho

I was saddened to hear about the loss of intercollegiate sports at Ricks College (BYU-Idaho). In 1986 I was an 18-year-old misguided, semi-talented football player who had the opportunity to go to Dixie or Ricks College on an athletic scholarship. Something told me to go to Ricks. After associating with a wonderful coaching staff and with the encouragement of great friends and roommates, I decided to go on a mission and change my life. 

I attribute the change in my life to the atmosphere at Ricks. What if I had chosen the other path? Where would I be? Certainly not happily married for ten years with five children and a successful career. I would have gone down a different path altogether. This school changed my life forever. 

The reason for my sadness is, what is going to happen to those high school seniors who are lacking direction just like I was? Where will they go? I feel that there are many lives out there that can be touched through athletics. I love Ricks College. If I could have chosen to play football there for four years, I certainly would have.

Eric Fillmore '90
Eagle, Idaho

As one of the great-great-great-grandson's of Joel Ricks, our founding Patriarch, I applaud the forward thinking of offering É expanded opportunities for education. My father, James Ricks Smith, advised me to get as much education at as early age as possible. Best wishes for a successful future as BYU-Idaho. May the success enjoyed by future generations find their roots in the ideals set forth by the Ricks family and supported by the people served by BYU-Idaho.

Wiley Ricks Smith, P.E.

I very much enjoyed the article on pp. 26-29 "Welding Links" by Gregory Palmer. Could you please let me know when the Summit Magazine for spring 2001 will be posted on your Web site? My stepfather is currently serving a CES mission in Tonga at Liahona High, trying to establish a welding program for the students there. The unemployment rate is 68 percent on the island, and the students there are in dire need of vocational training such as this. I would like for him to see this inspiring article as soon as possible.

Celia Fielding
Austin, Texas