2014 marked 100 years since President Hyrum Manwaring arrived at Ricks College. Despite the desolate landscape of Rexburg, Manwaring had a vision for the school’s future; a vision of growth in capacity, scholarship and beauty. One that would take hard work and sacrifice by countless individuals over many decades.
Near the end of Manwaring’s time, he had a dream of returning to the campus in our day. “In the mid-summer of 2014, a hundred years had passed since I stood on the Rexburg hill and shed bitter tears at what I saw; and then caught the vision of what might come to pass through the foresight and sincere efforts of energetic and determined men and women.”
President Manwaring envisioned this campus with twenty buildings, a stadium, tennis courts, parking lots, and land set aside for new residences. He believed this was possible if the ensuing generations embraced the pioneer spirit. And they have.
s school stewards, Manwaring and his contemporaries gave all to keep Ricks afloat amidst financial struggles and uncertainty about the future.
They never lost sight of the mission:
“My companion teachers and I had given our best efforts and talents to the development of these young people. We worked, played, sang, and prayed with them in our efforts to build character, ability, and faith in them. The great majority of them had gone back to their homes faithful Latter-day Saints, and substantial citizens of this great nation; and leaders wherever they had chosen to live.”—Hyrum Manwaring
FULFILLMENT OF THE VISION
Today students and employees rise to the call to be stewards of BYU-Idaho and guard the legacy they inherit. Jodie Powell sees this dedication in his relationship with his peers: “It’s easy to get down when things don’t go exactly the way you like them. I’ve got great roommates who care about me. They take me under their wing and tell me, ‘Hey, life’s not terrible. Keep going. Get good grades. Get your head in the game.’”
As wise stewards, the entire campus community agrees to live gospel covenants and standards of personal honor. Kevin Miyasaki, vice president over Student Services and Activities, explains why: “The whole system of obedience and sacrifice allows students and employees to learn higher principles of stewardship. When they‘re prepared by obedience and sacrifice, they are able to learn about the Holy Ghost and how to serve others.”
Student Shelby Rust has experienced such inspired service: “If I’m struggling with my testimony, instead of falling down and having bad influences feed my doubt and fear, I have positive influences showing me every day that it’s important for me to be here. There are so many blessings that can come from appreciating this school.”
“You build the kingdom by building the people,” notes BYU-Idaho instructor Eric Embree. “So as we strengthen the people around us-as we build them, and help them grow and serve them-we’re building the kingdom.”
President Manwaring concluded,
“How I wish all the valiant men of yesterday, who fought so hard for its founding and promotion, could be here to rejoice with men and my valiant co-workers... [We] must not fail to carry on to a glorious future that which has cost so much... The challenge is now ours, and we must effectively meet it.”