Much- maybe too
much- has been said in the last year about a new century and a new
millennium. In the midst of all this talk, the administration of Ricks
College was busy and focused on entering another kind of time-sensitive
phase: a new set of philanthropic priority goals. These now-approved
goals say much about the direction of the college and reflect the range
of areas to be focused on in the next five year fund-raising period.
It is a systematic process involving
the Board of Trustees- which currently consists of the First Presidency,
seven other General Authorities, and two general auxiliary leaders.
Every five years the Board reviews, counsels, and eventually approves a
set of goals proposed by the Ricks College President’s Council. These
goals and subsequent priorities are not simply a reflection of
administrative hopes and wishes, but the most critically important
objectives- determined only after careful consideration of expressed
needs and wants from across campus.
At present, there are 9 divisions, 39
departments, and 120 academic programs at Ricks College, each with its
own endeavors and challenges. After submission of individual proposals
and requests from each of these, a succession of meetings and
discussions ensued in which representatives of each division were heard.
It was only after comparing these eligible and worthy appeals to the
missions of the Church and college that a final list was prepared and
presented to the Board of Trustees.
ESTABLISHING GOALS BASED UPON FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
Since his inauguration as president, Elder David A. Bednar has
emphasized that one of the “fundamental principles” at the heart of
what takes place at Ricks College is that “the most effective teaching
and learning experiences occur ‘one by one.’” He has said, “This
college is legendary for the individualized and nurturing attention
given to students by the faculty and staff. Some people on campus
candidly have shared with me their concerns that the growth in our
student body and technological changes may inhibit our ability to
provide ‘one by one’ support in the future. Let me now emphasize an
important point just as forcefully as I can. New technologies and
innovative pedagogies at Ricks College cannot and will not replace the
special powers of people in the processes of learning and teaching.”
You may be aware that Ricks College is
no longer physically confined to the sweeping hill in Rexburg, Idaho but
is now reaching out through satellite facilities and online courses. In
light of this and the rapid torrent of changes taking place in society,
technology, and education today, the Board of Trustees is greatly
concerned with reaching out to more students while maintaining the
nurturing atmosphere for which Ricks College has become identified.
SPECIFIC GOALS TO GUIDE PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS
The fact that these new goals and priorities are philanthropic by nature
indicates essential charitable involvement by alumni and friends of
Ricks College. Each goal will be a focus, a point of discussion, and an
impetus for many who desire to do their part in building up a portion of
the Lord’s kingdom through gifts to the college during the next five
Based upon, but not to be confused
with the four parts of the elemental Ricks College Mission Statement
[see sidebar], are the following four philanthropic goals for 2000-2005:
1. Expand the doors of
educational opportunity for deserving and needy students.
2. Enhance the learning
3. Support selected
building and beautification projects.
4. Extend the influence of
Ricks College and prepare for future opportunities.
Falling under each of these goals are
“priorities” (representing the more specific means of achieving the
desired outcome) and the corresponding monetary need [see table entitled
“Ricks College Philanthropic Priority Goals 2000-2005”].
The variety of these priorities shows
not only the scope of efforts on the part of the administration but also
the opportunity provided for people to find an area close to their heart
with which they wish to have affiliation and through which they may
Following is a brief description of
each of the individual goals and the priorities that fall under them. It
is intended to give you a better understanding of the several areas.
EXPAND THE DOORS OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY FOR DESERVING AND
NEEDY STUDENTS SCHOLARSHIPS
Providing worthy, qualified students the opportunity to experience that
very real “Spirit of Ricks” is the focus of the first goal. Need-
and merit-based scholarships enable the administration of Ricks College
to assist more students than just those with the highest GPA or ACT
“Some of those who get turned down
don’t necessarily have low scores,” says Alton Hansen, assistant
director of Admissions and Scholarships. “And having sufficient funds
allows us to include more students by considering other criteria such as
seminary and other high school participation, developed and potential
leadership skills, as well as their ecclesiastical endorsements and
their own desires for an education .”
The other part of scholarships is
giving opportunities to students who, because of difficult financial
situations, could not otherwise attend. Luz Salcedo, for example, is
from Washington Heights, an inner-city neighborhood in New York. From
the time she was eleven years old, she took jobs to help supplement her
family’s income. Because she was working, Luz struggled in junior high
and high school but held on to her “American dream,” as she puts it,
“to become and be something more.”
With limited funds, Admissions and
Scholarships was almost unable to help Luz, but ultimately did offer her
assistance. Luz was astonished at her gifted opportunity to pursue her
education at Ricks. She had been told for years by everyone, including
the school guidance counselors, that she should forget her aspirations
because she did not have the grades or the money she needed.
Luz currently has nearly a 3.5 college
GPA and will graduate this year to pursue a job in social work.
WORK STUDY AND MENTORING OPPORTUNITIES
Programs such as work study and mentoring are expanding the
possibilities for many current students. Through the mentoring program,
professors enter a one-on-one working relationship, guiding students in
research and practicums applicable to their areas of interest. Usually a
student will assist the professor in research, and for all practical
purposes, engage in an apprenticeship with him or her. It is a unique
opportunity to gain real work experience while furthering the work of
the professor. The experience is invaluable to both.
TUTORING AND LEARNING ASSISTANCE LABS
Tutoring and structured learning assistance is provided to any
interested students (including students with disabilities) free of
charge in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and study skills.
There were 6,821 students served last year, representing 35,837 hours of
service by fellow students. In many cases, those being tutored turn
around and tutor others the following semester. This free service and
the students’ level of involvement are almost unprecedented. The
programs have even been recognized, envied, and emulated by other
colleges and universities.
ENHANCE THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT THOMAS E. RICKS ENDOWMENT
In large part, the second major goal covers existing elements of the
college’s milieu. It is through this goal that elements of the
learning environment will be enhanced. The Thomas E. Ricks Endowment,
for example, aides in the professional development of Ricks College
In order for Ricks to continue
furnishing eager students with current and thorough information, its
already meritorious faculty must be fortified, not just maintained. It
is through funds from this endowment that instructors receive timely and
necessary teaching enhancement training and are able to stay abreast of
the constant flow of new information in their disciplines.
Today’s world will not be the same tomorrow- almost literally-
especially in the area of technology. Changes are taking place
incessantly, and the realm of education is particularly sensitive as it
evolves in an effort to bring up a new “information generation.”
However, President Bednar has stated,
“We at Ricks College will be both high-tech and high-touch.” Some of
the ways Ricks College is striving for that ideal are through ensuring
reliable Internet access in approved housing, offering instructional
training of faculty and students, working with professors in identifying
and developing course work for online classes, and providing various
student services (such as the application process) via the Web.
Beginning this fall, new students will also be required to take at least
one online course. Professors will still be available for one-to-one
discussions and assistance, of course.
RICKS COLLEGE LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE INSTITUTE
With help from gifts, Ricks College Leadership and Service Institute
will expand and enhance its three areas of focus in the next five years:
leadership and personal development, community service, and marriage
enrichment. Service is central to their efforts in all three areas as
students are able to plan and participate in substantial service
projects and learn the significance of service in leadership and marital
“The wonderful thing about these
programs is that regular kids gain self-esteem through meaningful
service and leadership training,” says Brian Schmidt, director of the
Institute. “It doesn’t take special qualifications or a leadership
scholarship to participate; it’s open to any student who is
RICKS ADAPTIVE ADVENTURE PROGRAM
The motto of Ricks Adaptive Adventure Program is “We are always doing
something!” Activities this year include skiing, arena horseback
riding, rappelling, dog sledding, and canoeing. “We get people-
disabled and non-disabled- to do things they never thought they would or
could,” says RAAP’s coordinating director, Steve Andersen.
RAAP’s philosophy is that people
learn more, adapt better to change, and gain insights when they are
having fun. Their experience is that when a disability is faced and
accepted, most of the challenges and difficulties that come with it
become secondary, and often minimal. Anderson adds, “We just try to
speed up this difficult process.” He exemplifies this as he leads most
of the adventures despite his own cerebral palsy.
SUPPORT SELECTED BUILDING AND BEAUTIFICATION PROJECTS
Appropriate locations for contemplation and gathering are an important
aspect of any college setting. Indoor and outdoor beautification efforts
at Ricks College, however, not only represent the high ideals of the
Church-affiliated school, but they also maintain a proper spiritual
atmosphere. As students and visitors walk through buildings and across
quad areas on campus, various feelings are evoked, including reverence,
introspection, studiousness, and fellowship.
The most recently completed outdoor
beautification project is the main quad. It is surrounded by the Hyrum
Manwaring Student Center, the John Taylor Building (housing religion and
humanities), and the Spencer W. Kimball Student Administrative Services
Building. Because of its pivotal location, it has quickly come to be
considered the “heart of campus.”
Another project is the low-maintenance Arboretum. Entering through the
riverstone gateway just south of campus, one is immediately struck by
the beautifully landscaped hills, already dotted with trees and rockery.
The master plan includes more foliage, trails, picnicking spots and an
amphitheater, to be used by students and the community.
EXTEND THE INFLUENCE OF RICKS COLLEGE
AND PREPARE FOR FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES
As part of the Church Educational System, Ricks College is able to
spread its influence and share the Spirit through programs such as
athletics, performing tour groups, and Urban Discovery. While each
program has its own unique mission, every game, performance, and youth
camp provides an avenue for showcasing outstanding LDS young people.
Unfortunately, along with high personal costs, students struggle with
diminished earning potential while participating in these time consuming
The idea of “spectator sports” has added meaning at Ricks College.
As the various athletic teams travel for away games, they are some of
the most visible groups representing the college and the Church. This
opportunity to extend the influence of Ricks College means not only
entertaining, but often volunteering to visit early morning seminary
classes and put on firesides when they are on the road. Student athletes
speak, sing, and share their testimonies with members living in areas
who often do not have the opportunity of seeing such large groups of
faithful LDS youth.
These young athletes work hard to
maintain strict moral ideals, along with high standards of physical
performance. Most could have chosen to take offers from other schools,
but in their prioritized endeavors have opted to accept a significantly
smaller scholarship and represent Ricks College. Ricks is simply not
able to give scholarships comparable to some other colleges at this
PERFORMING TOUR GROUPS
Ricks College has maintained consistently superlative programs in the
various arts including the mediums of music, dance, and theater. These
particular vehicles for creativity not only serve a significant number
of students on campus, but provide innumerable missionary and
faith-building opportunities as they tour. These groups share talents
and testimonies and open doors of understanding throughout the United
States and the world.
Fenton L. Broadhead, former mission
president of the Brazil Sao Paulo North Mission recounted, “These
performers touched those who tend to be more difficult for the
missionaries to reach, like the upper and middle classes and government
and military personnel. The media coverage and response from those in
attendance, including the mayor, was remarkable and truly helped our
URBAN DISCOVERY- CHICAGO
Each summer, boys and girls, who live in literally life-threatening
neighborhood areas of inner-city Chicago, have the opportunity to escape
for a few weeks with Ricks students who are there for a variety of
classes and experiences including putting on a camp. It is an
opportunity for “at-risk” kids to recreate, participate in crafts,
and develop self-esteem alongside caring Ricks students who typically
learn more than they teach.
It is more than this, however. The
experience these children have with Ricks College Urban Discovery
students may be the safest and most important experience of their lives.
At these all-too brief retreats, kids come from situations at least as
bad as you can imagine, and are able to experience Christlike love. They
encounter the examples of good men and women. They laugh, talk, and
share. And they don’t look back over their shoulders in fear as they
run and play.
Ricks is in fact an outstanding institution, providing a current and
timely education in many areas. However, the rapidity of new and even
more effective academic procedures and tools presents an ongoing
challenge in furnishing students with the quality of progressive
education they deserve. At the same time, not all of the Board-approved
priorities receive as much recognition from donors as do others, and
they need to be supplemented.
A separate priority, simply identified
as “unrestricted funds” enables the administration to cover areas of
greatest need as they arise. These funds at Ricks College not only allow
the administration to prepare for unexpected opportunities, but to
enhance existing programs regularly. Being able to take hold of immanent
circumstances effectively requires the financial flexibility of reserves
that restricted funds understandably do not allow.
THE EDUCATIONAL SHIP OF CURIOUS WORKMANSHIP SAILS ON
So, Ricks College has not just entered a new century along with everyone
else, but a vital period of time in which this new set of goals and
priorities will be a driving force. With faithful eyes locked on the
prize of a glorious future and with the ongoing help of alumni and
friends like you, these goals will be met.
President Bednar has compared the
efforts of those involved at Ricks College with Nephi’s experience
building a ship. He said, “May I suggest that Nephi’s experience in
building that ship is a model for us at Ricks College as we prepare for
and move into the next century. We, too, must build something we have
never built before in order to go some place we have never been before.
. . . I know, brothers and sisters, that we will be guided and directed
by Him whose school this is as we respond to the challenge to build an
educational ship of curious workmanship. As we at Ricks College
construct our ship and travel according to the coordinates set by the
Board and identified in our mission statement, Ricks College will become
increasingly different from and distinctive among other institutions of
THANK YOU FOR STAYING ON BOARD
There is a curious trend of thought among alumni of two-year colleges.
Often as educational degrees are accumulated and life’s requirements
set in, loyalty and- perhaps more specifically- financial support end up
earmarked and directed to the larger (or last) institution attended.
While Ricks College alumni invariably confirm that their experience at
Ricks ranks as one of the most formidable and memorable, some are not
entirely immune to this thinking. For being among those who remember and
stay connected to Ricks College as a meaningful step in your
progression; for caring and supporting its direction- the students thank
you, and we thank you.
Call: 800-22-ricks or 208-356-1128
Ricks College Development
220 Kimball Building
Rexburg, ID 83460 - 1655