Church to Establish Law School at BYU
A major announcement affecting Church education was released in the early spring when the First Presidency announced their decision to establish a college of law at Brigham Young University. The new college will receive its first students in the fall of 1973.
The college will be named the J. Reuben Clark, Jr., College of Law, in honor of the late counselor in the First Presidency (1933–1961). He was Undersecretary of State in the Department of State, U.S. ambassador to Mexico, and an authority on international law.
One reason for the establishment of the law school is that most U.S. law schools are filled to capacity. Consequently many Latter-day Saint students desiring law training are unable to receive it. Some 90,000 students took the Law School Aptitude Test in the United States this year. They were competing for only 27,000 openings in law schools.
Present plans are to accept about 150 to 175 students each year to maintain an enrollment at the new college of about 450 to 500 students in the three-year program. Before the college goes into operation, BYU will need a new law building, law library (40,000 volumes to be collected for the first year of operation, and by the third year, a total of 100,000 volumes), and a law faculty.
The new college will not increase the 25,000 maximum enrollment at BYU set by the board of trustees. The law college enrollment will be a part of the 25,000 maximum enrollment.
Of special interest to potential law students is that a characteristic of the BYU law school will be its emphasis on national (USA) rather than state laws. Most U.S. law schools are attached to state universities and concentrate on the laws of their respective states. Students at BYU, however, come from every state in the union and usually return to their home states. Hence, the new Church law school will serve the needs of its students rather than the needs of a particular state.
New President to Be Named at BYU
In conjunction with the announcement of a new college of law at Brigham Young University (see accompanying article), the First Presidency also announced Ernest L. Wilkinson’s resignation as president of BYU. He has been assigned by the First Presidency to assist in the establishment of the law school.
President Wilkinson has been BYU president since 1951—a period of twenty years. In that time, the student body has grown from 4,654 to 25,021, making it the largest private university in the United States.
President Wilkinson will continue to carry out his responsibilities until a successor is named. In talking about his retirement, he said, “I do not believe in complete retirement. I had several other things in mind, but between the time I had submitted my resignation and its acceptance, the decision was made to establish a law school at BYU, and I was asked to take some administrative responsibility for organizing it. This will certainly keep me occupied for awhile.”
Upon learning of his resignation, student response at BYU was commendatory and appreciative. Student body president Brian Walton of Hayes, England, said, “While it is understood that after twenty years it might be time for a change, nearly everyone respects and deeply appreciates the load that he has carried and the great job that he has done.” During President Wilkinson’s tenure, some eighty buildings have sprung up across the 600-acre campus.
“It’s going to be hard to imagine anyone else at the head of BYU,” said Jim Weipert, a freshman from Seattle. “Since President Wilkinson is leaving, I guess I’ll leave, too,” quipped Judy Willis, a senior from Telleson, Arizona, who plans to graduate in June.
“The incoming president will surely be a choice man,” said David Mitchell of London, England, editor of the Daily Universe, daily BYU student newspaper; “but one wonders if he, like President Wilkinson, will don the garb of a knight and ride into a student assembly on a white horse, or dress like Batman and shinny down a rope, or demonstrate his ability to perform more pushups than most students even care to think of. We’ll miss President Wilkinson—a truly great man.”
President Wilkinson considers the main accomplishments of his administration to be the increase in religious activity on campus through the establishment of ninety-eight wards and ten stakes of the Church, and the raising of academic standards. During his administration, the university increased from five to thirteen colleges. The grade point average for incoming freshmen is a B plus, much higher than the national average.
Looking back over his career, President Wilkinson summed it up: “I am pleased with the progress, but I realize there are many things yet to be done.”
New President Named at Ricks College
Changes in the Church’s educational structure this spring also include the announcement by the First Presidency of the retirement of President John L. Clarke of Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho. President Clarke has been president of Ricks since 1944—27 years. His successor will be Dr. Henry B. Eyring, 37, presently associate professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in Palo Alto, California. He will assume his duties July 1.
In speaking of Ricks, the new president said, “I’ve really only been there once. I met the administration and quite a few students. I was tremendously impressed with the affection the administration and the students had for the school and for each other. So naturally I am buoyed up and very excited about being a part of this and being able to associate with these people.
“I’m also looking forward to meeting the faculty, because I’ve heard about them from people who have graduated from Ricks. These graduates describe the faculty more like family members than teachers. It is unusual for teachers to care about students this much. I can’t wait to meet them and, as a professor myself, to learn how students and faculty can achieve this kind of rapport.”
The new president was born at Princeton, New Jersey, where his world-famous scientist father, Dr. Henry Eyring, was teaching. He was graduated from the University of Utah in physics and has his master’s and doctor’s degrees in business administration from Harvard University. He held a one-year appointment as visiting-professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is currently bishop of the Stanford University student ward.
The retiring president at Ricks has indeed become an institution. When he came to the campus in 1944, the college consisted of two stone buildings, a small heating plant, and a lot of sagebrush on the beautiful, gently sloping hills of Rexburg. Registration at the school was about one hundred girls and eight boys.
Since that time the college has grown to become the largest Church-supported two-year college in America, with a studentbody of over five thousand representing every state in the union and twenty-six nations.
“Although Ricks was small when I came,” said President Clarke, “I loved it at first sight. I knew its great pioneering heritage and that it had great potential. But I could never have imagined what it has become and the prominence it presently holds.”
Randy Bird, Ricks student body president from Blackfoot, Idaho, said, “In working with President Clarke, one comes to feel keenly his great concern for students. He really loves and cares about people.”
David Bly, of Magrath, Alberta, Canada, editor of the campus newspaper, the Viking Scroll, said, “As is true of other Church schools, we have had no riots or demonstrations against the administration and no burning of buildings. Yet there is an atmosphere of awareness and academic freedom that has thrived under the confident leadership of this great man.”
Hugh C. Bennion, dean of faculty at Ricks, said, “President Clarke is an eternal optimist. He refuses to see faults in others, and consequently others are anxious to improve their efforts.”
President Clarke was formerly president of the Rexburg Stake.
After twenty-seven years as president of the college, he says, “It has been good—and Dr. Eyring will play another major role in the development of this great college and in the lives of thousands of Latter-day Saint students. May God richly bless them all.”