“Ricks College to Become Four-Year BYU—Idaho,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 78
In June the First Presidency and the Board of Trustees of Ricks College announced that the two-year junior college will change to a four-year institution and will be renamed Brigham Young University—Idaho. The new name will give the school increased national and international recognition.
Classes were canceled on 21 June so that students, employees, and faculty could attend a live broadcast of the announcement from Salt Lake City. “When President Hinckley announced the change, there erupted an immediate burst of applause through the audience of 2,500,” said Brent Kinghorn, Ricks College vice president.
Since its inception as a small junior college in 1923, Ricks has grown to the largest privately owned two-year college in the United States. Ricks students currently number about 9,000, many of whom seek to transfer to BYU after graduation. “We hope that with the change to a four-year university and the increased name recognition of BYU, many of these students will now stay here to obtain their baccalaureate degrees,” said Brother Kinghorn. Ricks had been a four-year college once before, for an eight-year period beginning in 1948, but it reverted to a two-year institution in 1956.
Although BYU—Idaho will operate on an expanded year-round basis, no large increases in enrollment are expected at this point, and minimal changes to campus physical facilities are expected.
A major change that will take place is phasing out the school’s intercollegiate athletic program.
The institution will gradually make all modifications while working to preserve the school’s autonomy and identity. Adjustments to its mission will be minimal, and for now the president of BYU—Idaho will continue to report to the commissioner of the Church Educational System.