President Gordon B. Hinckley
President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Brigham Young University-Idaho, June 21, 2000
The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Board of Trustees of Ricks College announce that Ricks College will change from its present two-year junior college status to a four-year institution. The new four-year school will be known as Brigham Young University-Idaho, with the name change designed to give the school immediate national and international recognition. The memory of Thomas E. Ricks will continue to be appropriately honored and perpetuated.
This change of status is consistent with the ongoing tradition of evaluation and progress that has brought Ricks College from infant beginnings to its present position as the largest privately owned two-year institution of higher education in America. With some additions and modifications, the physical facilities now in place in Rexburg are adequate to handle the new program. Undoubtedly, some changes to the campus will be necessary. However, they will be modest in nature and scope.
BYU-Idaho’s move to four-year status will be phased in over a period of time and accomplished in such a way as to preserve the school’s autonomy and identity. Adjustments to its mission will be minimal. The school will have a unique role in and be distinctive from the other institutions of higher education within the Church Educational System. For the immediate future, the president of BYU-Idaho will report directly to the Commissioner of the Church Educational System.
BYU-Idaho will continue to be teaching oriented. Effective teaching and advising will be the primary responsibilities of its faculty, who are committed to academic excellence.
The institution will emphasize undergraduate education and will award baccalaureate degrees; graduate degree programs will not be offered. Faculty rank will not be a part of the academic structure of the new four-year institution.
BYU-Idaho will operate on an expanded year-round basis, incorporating innovative calendaring and scheduling while also taking advantage of advancements in technology which will enable the four-year institution to serve more students. In addition, BYU-Idaho will phase out its involvement in intercollegiate athletics and shift its emphasis to a year-round activity program designed to involve and meet the needs of a diverse student body.
Of necessity, the new four-year institution will be assessing and restructuring its academic offerings. Predictably, the school will need to change and even eliminate some long-standing and beneficial programs as the school focuses upon key academic disciplines and activities.
Specific programmatic details about and timelines for the change are presently being worked out. These details, which will be discussed with and approved by the Board of Trustees, will be announced at appropriate times in the future.