“New Church Commissioner of Education Called,” Ensign, June 1976, 85
The First Presidency has announced the appointment of Dr. Jeffrey R. Holland as the Church Commissioner of Education. He succeeds Elder Neal A. Maxwell, Assistant to the Council of the Twelve, who served in that position from August 1970.
Brother Holland has been the dean of religious instruction at Brigham Young University since July 1974. Prior to that, he served as the director of the Melchizedek Priesthood MIA. He taught in the Church Educational System from 1965 through 1972.
The First Presidency announced that Elder Maxwell was released as Church Commissioner of Education so that he can devote his full attention to his increasing responsibilities as a General Authority. He was called to be an Assistant to the Council of the Twelve in April 1974; and he is now the Area Supervisor for missions in New York and eastern Canada and serves as managing director of the newly formed Correlation Department, which is responsible for the correlation of all Church programs, including the evaluation and certain aspects of long-term planning of those programs.
In recognition of his service to the Church Educational System, Elder Maxwell received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at BYU’s April commencement exercises.
Brother Holland comes to his new calling with practical experience in Church education. A native of St. George, Utah, he graduated from Dixie College, and then received his bachelors and masters degrees from BYU. He received his PhD in American Studies from Yale University. He has taught religion at BYU, was director of the LDS Institute at Seattle, Washington, and served as instructor at Hayward, California; New Haven, Connecticut; and Salt Lake City.
He was a missionary in Great Britain from 1960 to 1962, and has served as bishop of the University Second Ward in Seattle, and a counselor in the presidency of the Hartford Connecticut Stake.
He is married to the former Patricia Terry of St. George and they have three children.
At thirty-five, Brother Holland assumes the administration of the Church Educational System at a time when it has a record 325,000 students in universities, colleges, institutes, and seminaries around the world.
Apart from Brigham Young University, BYU—Hawaii Campus, Ricks College, and the LDS Business College, all in the United States, the Church Educational System operates schools in American Samoa, Western Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Tonga, Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, and Peru.
A significant trend is toward greater local leadership in the schools outside the United States. For instance, five years ago, eighty-seven United States administrators, principals, and teachers were on assignment in other countries. This year there will be only nine.
In addition to the schools and colleges, the institute and seminary program now reaches fifty-four countries and is taught in seventeen languages. In the United States and Canada, 498 college campuses now have an institute of religion.