“Dallin Oaks of Chicago Is New BYU President,” New Era, July 1971, 11
Since the mid-winter resignation of Ernest L. Wilkinson from the presidency of Brigham Young University, youth throughout the Church have speculated about who would replace such a great builder and leader. The speculation has been put to rest with the announcement by the First Presidency that Dr. Dallin H. Oaks, thirty-eight, has been named the new BYU president.
Brother Oaks is currently professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. He will assume his new duties on August 1, 1971. A 1954 graduate of BYU, Brother Oaks went on to distinguish himself as a lawyer, professor and scholar of law, and educational administrator.
“As I contemplate the magnitude of the task ahead of me and all that I have to learn, I feel like a freshman again,” Brother Oaks said in a devotional assembly in which he was introduced to the BYU faculty and student body.
Latter-day Saint students who know Brother Oaks at the University of Chicago had this to say about him:
“Dallin Oaks exemplifies my ideal of the whole man,” said John Phillips.
“Everyone benefits from knowing him on a personal basis,” said Jim Fox.
Although most students at BYU had never heard the name Dallin Oaks prior to the First Presidency’s announcement, they seemed excited about the appointment.
“The obscurity of Brother Oaks says a great deal, in my opinion. That he was chosen over better-known Church personalities indicates to me that the choice was inspired and that he is a superior person,” said Dennis Godfrey, of Blackfoot, Idaho.
“I think his daughters are going to have a hard time,” said Daryl Gibson of Wethersfield, England, with a grin. “Who would want to call for his date at the president’s house? That’s the best kind of insurance a father could have for getting his daughter home before 9:00 P.M.”
“I’m very impressed! I think he’s young, intellectual, and efficient,” said Dean Byrd, Marion, South Carolina.
“For a man of his young age, with all of his accomplishments, he seems to be unimpressed with himself, but he inspired confidence at the same time,” said Paul Dixon, Provo, Utah.