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Inaugural Luncheon Address

Inauguration of President Kim B. Clark


Brothers and sisters, Sister Bednar and I are delighted to be here on this occasion. I fully expected to attend the inauguration of the new president, but not in the role which I am fulfilling today. For seven and a half years this campus was our world. The responsibility to which I was called one year ago now makes the world our campus. But I must tell you that as I am in Lima or Arequipa or Jakarta, I see your faces and I think of you often. We love you, and we miss you, and you are now and will always be a part of who we are. We have fond memories of our time here at Ricks College/BYU-Idaho.

In the few moments that I speak with you, I want to pay tribute to Sister Susan Clark. Today is the day when her husband is featured and lauded in many ways, and appropriately so. In a very dignified way she stands at his side as an equal partner, but the spotlight will not be focused upon her today, which I am sure is just fine with Sister Clark.

Let me share just a couple of things I have learned and observed about Sister Clark. First is her inherent sense of compassion. As I have talked to people who have known the Clarks for a long time, the very first thing that comes to everyone’s lips as they describe Sister Clark is how instinctively and immediately compassionate she is. Her nickname in Boston, among those who know her well, is “Saint Sue.” And what they describe about her is the fact that she responds so quickly and so effectively to the needs of other people.

The second thing I think is important to recognize about Sister Clark is her consistency. With Sister Clark, what you see is what you get. She is not a different person in a formal setting like this one today than she is at home. She might dress differently for the occasion, but she is the same person. That consistency is the essence of integrity.

Now, I know something about the wives of the men who have served as the presidents of this institution. I believe that many men in the various eras could have fulfilled the presidential responsibilities. But each of the women who have served with their husbands brought a remarkable tone and a sense of love to this campus that could have been achieved in no other way. I said frequently during the time that I served as president, and I say again today, that many men could have done what I did. However, I do not know of any other woman who could have done what Sister Susan Bednar did. And that same thing is true about Sister Wilkes, Sister Bennion, Sister Eyring, Sister Christensen, and all those who have served as the first lady of this institution.

So, rightly and appropriately today, we feature President Kim Clark. But he would not be here if it were not for Sister Susan Clark and what she, as his eternal companion and partner, has helped him to become.

Now as I conclude, I repeat a comment I have made before. I hope you will remember this statement. The creation of BYU-Idaho is one of the most important educational events of the restoration. The lessons that are being learned and will be learned on this campus will influence members and non-members the world over. The innovations that are initiated on this campus will bless the students and the faculty who attend here and, over time, will have an impact in many areas of the world. I know that the Lord Jesus Christ is aware of, attentive to, and involved in the things that are taking place on this campus. I so testify and express my love to you.

In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.