LEGACY OF LOVE
REFLECTIONS OF RICKS COLLEGE EMPLOYEES

 
 


What are your memories of Ricks College? Some remember holding hands, swaying to the music, singing “Happy Ties” at the end of every devotional. Or respectfully stopping and placing a hand over the heart, to listen to the “Star Spangled Banner” over the loudspeaker at 8 a.m. sharp each weekday morning while the flag was raised on campus. Or standing in long lines in the Hart field house for registration, collecting a punched computer card for each class at the various tables.

These are distinct memories about time spent at Ricks College, whether as a student, or a current or former employee. “As I have become acquainted with employees across the campus, I have learned that almost everyone who has been associated with Ricks College has an inspirational story to tell,” President David A. Bednar writes in the foreword of Legacy of Love-Reflections of Ricks College Employees.

A collection of pages in a three-ring binder, you won’t find Legacy of Love  in a book store. Nor will you be able to order one from the college. The book was published last year for employees and retirees of Ricks College only. The pages were placed in a binder on purpose, allowing for additional stories to be collected and added over the years. In all, some 200 current and former employees, some of them alumni of the college, contributed to Legacy of Love.  Here is just a sampling of what they had to say:

PRAYER
“It was a pleasant surprise to learn that meetings at Ricks College began with prayer, “ writes Wilma Jensen Jephson (65), a secretary in the Executive Office since 1981. “A few days after I began work, I attended a retreat where President Bruce Hafen gave a motivational message and then bore his testimony. I wondered how he dared to speak in a work setting about spiritual things until I remembered who owns Ricks College. Then, I quietly disposed of the frog that had somehow slipped into my throat, carefully wiped my eyes to get rid of a few drops of water he brought with him from the lily pond, and was grateful for work in a setting where gospel principles were included in the planning of programs and activities.”

SACRIFICES
“We moved to Rexburg, even though my annual salary would be cut almost in half,” Denton Brewerton (47), retired since 1983, remembers. “The invitation from President John L. Clarke to become part of the college ‘family’ was the incentive. We arrived in August 1965 and I met my two ‘bosses,’ Dr. Daniel Hess, director of public relations and assistant to President Clarke, and Dr. Hugh Bennion, dean of faculty. Dr. Bennion asked me what I was going to do at the college. I told him journalism teacher, advisor to the Scroll  and news and sports information director. He said, ‘It looks like you could add a Book of Mormon class. What about it?’”

A REGULAR GUY
“I remember President Joe Christensen would call on the phone to reserve a bowling alley and begin by saying, ‘Floyd, this is Joe. Could I get an alley this afternoon?’ He always treated everyone at the college as his equal,” says Floyd Luke (42), bowling alley manager from 1966 to 1987.

TEACHING
Ruth Hobson Biddulph (30), a retired English instructor from 1949 to 1973 writes: “I had earlier taught in the public high school and in the grade school, but here at Ricks there were none of the stresses of discipline problems, and here I was free to weave spiritual thoughts and precious gospel truths into my academic teaching. I was free to be my whole self as a teacher--not just an English teacher.”

A HELPING HAND
“One day I found out that the class I had planned to take on the block had been moved to another time slot making it impossible for me to take. I would have to take a summer term instead of graduating in May,” remembers JoLynn Hirschi Davis (74), a Food Service employee since 1971. “I was distraught as I walked down the hall of the cob (now Smith Building). A professor, Orrin Bates, who I had a class with, passed me and then came back and asked me what my problem was. When I told him, he said to give him my class schedule and in a hour come and see him. When I did, he had arranged for me to go into an earlier hour of a class I was already taking so I could get into the block class that I needed. I was able to go on and graduate in May as I had planned.”

A SPECIAL SPIRIT
“I remember bringing a nonmember friend of mine who was a scientist onto campus,” says Donald C. Bird (62), former engineering technology instructor since 1965 and now academic vice president. “I showed him across campus and as we were finishing he said, ‘I don’t know what it is about this place, but there is something special. I can feel the special spirit,’ he said.”

“I never go anywhere, far or near, without running into students from Ricks who sing the praises of the college and appreciate the blessings they enjoyed while they were here,” says Val Dalling (53), a retired coach and physical education instructor from 1968 to 1991. “A couple on the airplane once came up to me and said, ‘We met at Ricks, and we want our children to go there too.’ It is truly the Lord’s school.”

Perhaps Keller Ellsworth, the former manager of the college’s Livestock Center since 1979 and now manager of Support Facilities and Signs, said it best. “Working at Ricks means being able to talk doctrine around the lunch table; it means being able to give a co-worker a priesthood blessing during a particularly difficult time in her life; it means having a bishop in the paint shop tell you what will keep a panel from rusting as well as how to cope with a wayward child.”

As a former student, what do you remember about Ricks College? We’d like to hear from you. In fact, we’ll start our own Legacy of Love,  a compilation of rememberances by students. To reply, write Editor, Summit Magazine, c/o Ricks College, Kimball 226, Rexburg, ID 83460-1660; or fax us at 1-208-356-1884, or e-mail us at mosers@byui.edu.

 (‘Legacy of Love- Reflections of Ricks College Employees’ was published in 1999 by Ricks College and Ricks College Family History Committee, Don Sparhawk, chairman; Ron Messer (66), Lyle Lowder (48), Norman Ricks (50), and Carolyn Downey, committee members. Editorial and technical support was provided by Ricks students Lelani Messer (96) and Daisy Iden. (98). Excerpts reprinted by permission.)

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