October 20, 2017
Writer: Emma Drake
On September 19, Henry J. Eyring was installed as BYU-Idaho's 17th president by his father, President Henry B. Eyring, First Counselorof the First Presidency.
Elder Dallin H. Oaks, who serves as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of BYU-Idaho, conducted the inaugural proceedings.
Other apostles in attendance included Elder David A. Bednar and Elder Dale G. Renlund and their wives. Also in attendance were the past eight presidents of BYU-Idaho/Ricks College and their wives: Henry B. Eyring (1971-1977), Bruce C. and Marie Hafen (1978-1985), Joe J. and Barbara Christensen (1985-1989), Steven D. and Marjorie Bennion (1989-1997), David A. and Susan Bednar (1997-2004), Robert M. and Estella Wilkes (2004-2005), Kim B. and Sue Clark (2005-2015), and Clark and Christine Gilbert (2015-2017).
The proceedings began with greetings from representatives of the Faculty Association, Student Representative Council, and Alumni Association; each pledging their support on behalf of their organizations and offering confidence in Eyring's ability to preside over BYU-Idaho.
J. David Pulsipher, a faculty member in the Department of History, Geography and Political Science, offered the first welcome on behalf of the Faculty Association.
"We were drawn here because this is a community in all the best senses of that word," Pulsipher said. "Where genuine learning is the focus rather than worldly ambition. A community where scholarly inquiry can be pursued by both students and professors simply for the love of truth, rather than for professional advancement."
Pulsipher was followed by Joseph S. Pennington, student representative council director, who offered the welcome on behalf of the Student Representative Council.
"We trust in your capacity to guide us and this university, that we may fulfill prophecy and become like our Savior Jesus Christ...we anticipate your impact will be felt for many generations to come," Pennington said.
Student Life Vice President Amy R. LaBaugh offered the welcome on behalf of the Alumni Association.
"As BYU-Idaho's President, you have an alumni membership, exceeding 200,000, which enthusiastically supports you," LaBaugh said.
Elder Kim B. Clark, Commissioner of Education and former BYU-Idaho president, offered remarks following LaBaugh, sharing how the Lord is in every detail at BYU-Idaho.
"The Lord has raised up BYU-Idaho to educate growing numbers of young people who will do important work in their families, in their communities, and in His Kingdom," Clark said.
President Henry B. Eyring explained the purpose of the inaugural proceedings while officially installing Henry J. Eyring as President.
"These exercises are designed to mark the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Brigham Young University-Idaho," Eyring said. "I install you, Henry Johnson Eyring, as president of Brigham Young University-Idaho and confer upon you the authority, the rights, the responsibilities, and the challenges associated with this office."
President Henry B. Eyring charged Henry J. Eyring with several responsibilities to be fulfilled as the president of BYU-Idaho. First, he is to place Jesus Christ at the heart of everything he does. Second, every person at BYU-Idaho should be treated as Heavenly Father's child and must be helped in their journey back to Him. Third, the Spirit of God should be incorporated into the experiences of all at this university. Fourth, the president must remain faithful so that the Lord can direct his path. Fifth, he is to demonstrate gratitude for previous presidents and for the Lord. Finally, the way he lives his life should exemplify Christ-like love and fidelity.
In his response, the newly installed president, Henry J. Eyring, followed his charge by expressing gratitude to the past eight presidents of BYU-Idaho/Ricks College.
"They have led the transformation of an inspired but obscure junior college which is now a world-renowned university," Eyring said. "All brought unique capabilities but looked to the Savior for guidance."
Henry J. Eyring spoke of his appreciation for BYU-Idaho faculty, sharing how they are improving courses for students.
"A wonderful example is a new bachelor's degree in Data Science, designed by faculty members from three departments with help from colleagues across the university as well as outside advisors," Eyring said.
Henry J. Eyring also shared impactful experiences he had as a child growing up in Rexburg.
"I was providentially introduced to my college major, geology, when I was just eight years old," Eyring said. "Ricks College professors Ed Williams, Glenn Embree, and Roger Hoggan took me into the field. These mentors gave me a hammer and rocks to split... They taught me as the Savior did and as BYU-Idaho teachers do: with scenes by the wayside, and an emphasis on Heavenly Father's power and love."
Throughout his address, Eyring spoke of his vision for students at BYU-Idaho.
"A particular hallmark of this institution has been an anxious concern for students who doubt their place here," Eyring said. "We have been blessed with innovative approaches to helping all students, especially newcomers."
The inaugural proceedings ended with remarks from President Henry B. Eyring, who spoke of the love that the Lord has for BYU-Idaho. He mentioned the "Spirit of Ricks," the spirit that dwells in the hearts of the people here.
"That spirit will continue to draw people here as it has in the past," Eyring said. "You will not have to recruit faculty or advertise for students if you continue to build and nurture the spirit of BYU-Idaho. If you build it, they will come. And, they will come because in their hearts they want to be part of this community."