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The BYU-Idaho Story

A summary of the history of BYU-Idaho including Ricks Academy, Ricks College and BYU-Idaho.

Ricks Academy Era

Since the Bannock Stake Academy was created in Rexburg, Idaho, on November 12, 1888, the pioneering spirit of education has burned strong in the area. Jacob Spori, one of the first three academy teachers, served as the first principal from 1888 to 1891.
Bannock Stake Academy established, offering elementary school-level courses in a log schoolhouse. Served 59 students ranging in ages from 5-20.
Curriculum expanded to include high school-level courses. Cornerstone laid for the Spori Building.
Name changed to Ricks Academy in honor of founder Thomas E. Ricks. Spori Building construction completed.
Curriculum expanded to include college courses.
High school-level courses phased out. Name changed to Ricks College.

Ricks College Era

By its centennial, Ricks College, had expanded to its enrollment limit of 7,500 students. It soon became the largest privately owned two-year institution of higher education in the U.S. by the end of the 20th century. Looking to increase opportunities for students to attend a church-owned school, Church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced a transition to a four-year school on June 21, 2000.
Ricks College celebrates its centennial.
Ricks College is the largest private junior college in the United States.
Transition from Ricks College to Brigham Young University-Idaho announced, along with a year-round operations calendar to serve more students. Complete online courses begin.

BYU-Idaho Era

BYU-Idaho quickly expanded its reach by creating the BYU Pathway program, which allowed students to enroll in an affordable online education program from all over the world. The influence of BYU-Idaho continues to bless the lives of students all over the world.
Ricks College officially becomes BYU-Idaho.
Pathway, a program developed by BYU-Idaho to help individuals seek higher education, launches with sites in Manhattan, NY, Nampa, ID, and Mesa, AZ. Enrollment begins with 48 students.
Centre Square, a new on-campus housing complex opens, replacing the old dormitories and apartments built in the 60s and 70s.
The Science and Technology Center, Central Energy Facility, and Agricultural Science Center are dedicated.
Campus now spans 430 acres with over 40 buildings with more than 32,000 students enrolled in classes on the Rexburg campus annually. Students come from all 50 states and more than 80 countries.

In partnership with BYU-Pathway Worldwide and Ensign College, BYU-Idaho served nearly 27,000 online degree-seeking students across the globe in 2021, offering six online-specific degrees and more than 30 certificates. Online Learning offers more than 400 courses for online and campus-based students.