“Ricks College President Inaugurated,” Ensign, May 1998, 120
Elder David A. Bednar, an Area Authority Seventy and former business management professor at the University of Arkansas, was inaugurated on 27 February as the 14th president of Ricks College, a Church-owned junior college in Rexburg, Idaho. The inauguration ceremonies were conducted by President Gordon B. Hinckley. Speakers included Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, chairman of the executive committee of the Church Board of Education, and Elder Henry B. Eyring of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, commissioner of Church Education. Also in attendance were Elder Merrill J. Bateman of the Seventy, president of Brigham Young University; Sister Mary Ellen W. Smoot, Relief Society general president and a member of the Church Board of Education; and Stephen K. Woodhouse, president of LDS Business College.
“It will be your responsibility and that of your associates to train your students to think with intellectual integrity, to act with moral responsibility, to stand as examples of men and women possessed of a great sense of service to their fellow men and a love for God and His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ,” said President Hinckley in his inaugural charge. “We charge you to see that there is taught on this campus a recognition of God as our Eternal Father. This recognition inherently leads to recognition that all men are brothers. Only as men everywhere come to recognize this can we hope for true peace in the world.”
In his inaugural response, Elder Bednar observed that “sweeping changes are occurring” in the world of education. Further, “the rapid growth of the Church throughout the world will require us to be ever better stewards of the sacred resources and support we receive,” he said.
Comparing the educational efforts of Ricks College to Nephi’s building of the ship that carried his family to the promised land, Elder Bednar said: “I know that we will be guided and directed by Him whose school this is as we respond to the challenge to build an educational ship of curious workmanship. Surely we must build this ship after the manner which the Lord will show unto us and not after the manner of men. Our standards and practices indeed will be unique, and we will be set apart from the world.”
A native of San Leandro, California, Elder Bednar earned a master’s degree in organizational communication at Brigham Young University in 1977 and completed his doctorate at Purdue University in 1980. His previous Church leadership experience includes serving as a regional representative, as a stake president twice, and as a full-time missionary in Germany during the early 1970s. Elder Bednar assumed his duties as president of Ricks College on 1 July 1997, replacing Stephen D. Bennion, who served as college president for eight years.