“BYU President Announces Resignation,” Ensign, Oct. 1995, 75
After six years as president of Brigham Young University, Rex E. Lee announced his request to be released because, as he said, his health circumstances “no longer mesh with the inflexible and unpredictable demands of the office of BYU president.”
At a press conference, President Lee explained that his request had been granted by the university’s board of trustees.
Several years ago, President Lee was diagnosed with an indolent form of T-cell lymphoma, an incurable but controllable form of cancer. In recent years he has also suffered peripheral neuropathy, or damage to the nerves in his arms and legs, a progressive condition.
During recent weeks, President Lee was hospitalized. Upon his release, his health has slowly improved. However, “while my work and I have been able to accommodate the cancer and the neuropathy by themselves, their presence apparently compounds the general weakness and lack of energy I have been experiencing,” President Lee said. “When I asked my doctors what kinds of things to avoid, their answer sounds like my job description.
“For these reasons, and after careful and prayerful consideration and consultation with a few people whose views on these matters have been very helpful, I have reluctantly, though quite clearly, come to the conclusion that while my present level of energy and physical resources will sustain personal and professional activities that are useful and productive, my circumstances no longer mesh with the inflexible and unpredictable demands of the office of BYU president.”
President Lee expects to continue as BYU president until the end of the year. A native of St. John’s, Arizona, President Lee became the tenth president of BYU on 1 July 1989. Prior to that he was a partner in a Washington, D.C., law firm and served as solicitor general of the United States. He was the founding dean of BYU’s J. Reuben Clark Law School and served as assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. He and his wife, Janet Griffin Lee, have seven children.