Continuing The Tradition

"Because that's what we do."
Administrators stay in touch with alumni and
friends to discuss the continuing focus
on students at BYU-Idaho.

President David A. Bednar and his wife Susan greet members of President's Club at a gathering in Salt Lake City last March.At one of several booths featured at an open house last September, a BYU-Idaho student discusses his involvement in one of the projects made possible by donors.

Dave Richards '66, assistant to the president for development and alumni relations, talks with Steve Gibson at a recent reception.

Prior to his address as the invited guest speaker, President Bednar and members of the Seattle Chapter of BYU Management Society visit at one of their monthly luncheons.

One audience member takes advantage of the traditional question-and-answer format at an alumni fireside in Fair fax, Virginia, in February 2001.

Previous alumni director, Devin Shaum '79 and his wife Kim '82, introduce themselves at a luncheon in downtown Washington, D.C.

Ecclesiastical leaders gather at the Washington DC Temple Visitors' Center with representatives of BYU-Idaho in conjunction with a student performance of the university's commissioned Sared Music Series. Two students stand in front of a BYU-Idaho display at the Church Office Building and talk with guests following a report on the status of the university by President Bednar and an address by President Gordon B. Hinckley.

President of BYU-Idaho/Ricks College Alumni Association, Dean Mortimer '74 (right) with 2001 Presidential Service Award recipient, President Sterling Colton (center) and Raul McQuivey (left).

Left to right: Guy Hollingsworth, director of the internship office at BYU-Idaho; Kent Wheiler; Frank McCord; President and Sister Bednar; Elder Marcus Nash; Marcia and Stephen Bean; and Steve Davis '84, alumni director; at a recent meeting in Bellevue, Washington.

By Brett Sampson '88
At a recent fireside arranged by the Development and Alumni Relations Office at Brigham Young University-Idaho, the question was asked, "President, with all due respect, you are the president of a university. I'm sure you're a busy man. Why are you here talking to such a small group?" President David A. Bednar's response, "Because that's what we do."

Of course, the president was referring to what "we" as a university do collectively with regards to the nature and tradition of this place; but as he went on to explain, it is also his privilege, along with the Development and Alumni Relations staff, to actually travel away from campus on occasion to meet with those who care about what is taking place at BYU-Idaho. At meetings like this one, he has the opportunity to explain the ways in which the long held ideals of this institution are being maintained through the efforts of the administration and staff.

After this particular fireside, Dave Richards, assistant to the president for development and alumni relations, commented, "I hope people understand that we have a new name and that we are doing new and great things on this campus, but we are also still doing all those things we have always done that make this place special and unique."

We inform and answer questions.
Meetings like the one just mentioned are certainly not new to BYU-Idaho; however, they are being held even more frequently. In the last year, President Bednar, along with Development and Alumni representatives, visited numerous groups of alumni, parents of students, young men and women hoping to attend BYU-Idaho, and other friends. The locations of these firesides and other meetings have been in states with significant populations of alumni, such as Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and in the Washington, D.C., area. A recent trip to Seattle, for example, included several public discussions. A meeting was held with ecclesiastical leaders from the area. Later there was a fireside attended by 600 interested individuals. Also scheduled were a gathering with friends of the university who wanted to learn about the various areas to which they could provide financial support and a luncheon with the BYU Management Society.

We facilitate the desires of those who care.
During the trip to the Northwest, as many appointments as possible were fit into a few days in order to meet with those who care about what BYU-Idaho is doing for young people. Individuals and couples lined up at the larger meetings to ask questions, offer financial support, and volunteer for involvement in Alumni chapters. At these and other meetings around the country, questions are answered, scholarships are set up, endowments are established, and money--in various amounts--is given toward the priorities established at BYU-Idaho. These priorities are determined by the Board of Trustees, along with the university administration. We then facilitate the sincere desires of individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of the students who attend BYU-Idaho through those priorities.

We support students through their BYU-Idaho experience.
The philanthropic objectives are met as alumni and friends partner with us in supporting young men and women at BYU-Idaho. Those who take the initiative to act charitably are in fact part of the encompassing "we" referred to here.

The primary objectives guiding what is done on behalf of students are:

  1. Expand the doors of educational opportunity for deserving and needy students
  2. Enhance the learning environment
  3. Support selected campus and beautification projects
  4. Extend the influence of BYU-Idaho and prepare for future opportunities.

All students gain, in some way, from at least one of these objectives. For some, the doors of opportunity are opened in the form of scholarships that come after having desperately sought financial relief. Others are surprised to learn that some help is available; to these, the blessing of unexpected but much needed assistance is something they had only prayed for.

The diversified learning environment at BYU-Idaho includes specialized areas such as the Adaptive Service and Adventure Program, which provides high adventure outings for students with (and without) physical challenges; and the Learning Assistance Lab, which provides an unprecedented degree of free group and one-on-one tutoring. These, and other helpful programs, are enhanced through our assistance and charitable contributions.

Several projects selected to beautify and upgrade the campus facilities are regularly underway or in planning stages. These efforts greatly encourage an environment in which the highest levels of learning can be achieved.

The greatest product of BYU-Idaho is the young men and women who learn and grow at this unique campus. These students have numerous opportunities to spread their influence throughout the world, even before graduating and settling in every corner of the globe. Through service and educational programs such as Outreach, Urban Discovery-Chicago, and Humanitarian Service, funded in part through donations, these students are able to teach their recently learned skills to people in underprivileged countries.

We rethink traditional methods of preparing students.
Guy Hollingsworth, the director of the new academic internship program, accompanied the president and others to Seattle to explain how the idea of student interns is being rethought. The BYU Management group was especially interested in the increased cooperation between the institutions since there are tens of thousands of alumni in the workforce, and thousands of companies interested in hiring students from BYU, BYU-Idaho, and BYU-Hawaii.

In an effort to prepare students more practically for future careers, internships will be required for approximately 90 percent of students at BYU-Idaho between their junior and senior years. And with the new three-semester track system, students from this campus will be available to work at all times of the year instead of just during the summer months, as has come to be the traditional practice. So, an accounting student can attend classes during the summer and fall semesters and work at a financial firm during the winter months of tax season--a simple concept that took rethinking the way it was always done before.

We help students through their challenges.
For many years this institution has been a safe and helpful sanctuary of learning where students knew they would be treated with respect and care.

While we continue this method of teaching and learning back on campus, we share some of this unique approach in the various meetings around the country. Alumni and friends recognize this meaningful interaction as commonplace at BYU-Idaho; for others, the concept is foreign, yet welcomed.

One example of the caring, everyday occurrences that make up the "inside story" we share, is that of Roger Seamons who recently sat frustrated after struggling with the domino-like challenge of shuffling classes within his schedule. His daily routine was to check the computer for the availability of the one remaining class he needed in order to graduate in April. And as had been the case for days, this particular class was full. His wasn't an unusual situation for a student to be in. But it was crucial for him.

Although he didn't have a lot of hope for sympathy, he decided to give it "one last shot" and e-mailed the teacher to plead his case. The teacher responded and made arrangements to add him.

In a subsequent meeting with that teacher to make sure all was in order, Roger looked up and said, "You know, what you did for me is what's different about BYU-Idaho. I transferred from another university, and there is no way the faculty there would have helped me like you have. It may have seemed little to you, but thank you for caring about my problem."

The very aspects of this institution that have made it such a critically unique environment continue and, in fact, influence even more students since the increase in enrollment and innovative semester track system.

We share the excitement of witnessing miracles.
In his response to one individual's question, at just one of many meetings across the country, President Bednar suggested that we--the administration, faculty, staff, you, and me--are continuing an unprecedented focus on the amazing young men and women of BYU-Idaho.

Bringing some of the familiar spirit of this campus "on the road" to share with others is why the president and other representatives attend gatherings like those related here. The president, for one, is not able to talk about everything going on at BYU-Idaho without sharing his enthusiasm and intense testimony with those who come. And at the conclusion of these various gatherings the excitement in the room is nearly universal.

It takes only a little more than a humble glance to see the far-reaching implications of the current changes at BYU-Idaho. And a closer look reveals monumental potential and significance in the education of the youth of the last days.

Following the prophet and trusting those to whom stewardship has been given is a must in our culture and religion. Witnessing the miraculous nature of the occurrences since President Hinckley's announcement of the future plans for BYU-Idaho is overwhelming.

What is it that all of us do? We continue taking great care of the students on this campus. We do our best sharing the joy that comes from charitable support of the young men and women at BYU-Idaho. Why? Because that's what we do. That's what we have always done. That is the tradition we continue. For your part in helping us do just that, the students thank you and we thank you.

President Bednar leans in to listen to Jell McAuley '00 following a fireside with past and potential students, their parents, and others at the Renton North Stake Center (adjacent to the Seattle Temple).