Throughout BYU-Idaho’s history, the Lord has had his hand in orchestrating what the university has become today.
The history of BYU-I goes back before it was Ricks College. The university started out as the Bannock Stake Academy in 1888, according to the History of Ricks BYU-Idaho Web page.
From there the title changed a few times, finally becoming Ricks College in 1930, according to the History of Ricks BYU-Idaho Web page.
“Every president, when they were here, were pressed with the question, ‘When is it going to become a four-year school?'” said President Kevin Miyasaki, student services and activities vice president of BYU-Idaho. “The answer was, ‘Never. Don’t ask that question anymore.'”
According to “The Spirit of Ricks” by David L. Crowder, Jacob A. Spori said, “The seeds we are planting today will grow and become mighty oaks, and their branches will run all over the earth.”
“On June 21, 2000, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Board of Trustees of Ricks College announced that the school would change from being a two-year junior college to a four-year institution,” according to the History of Ricks BYU-Idaho Web page. “The school officially became known as Brigham Young University-Idaho on Aug. 10, 2001.”
Miyasaki said the announcement came with much excitement from the faculty and students, as well as many questions on how the change would occur.
He said this was a huge change but the Lord provided a way for the change to happen smoothly.
Miyasaki said that a lot of things were done by paper at that time, but technology was beginning to advance on campus as well.
He said they had a lot of students that wanted to attend Ricks College, but the administration was denying around 3,000 students at the time because they did not have enough room for them yet.
Miyasaki said the Lord revealed the three-track system when Ricks College became BYU-Idaho allowing more students to be able to attend the university throughout the year.
“‘May our Heavenly Father’s blessings attend us in our united efforts to make of Ricks College a great instrument of service in God’s kingdom here on earth,'” said John L. Clarke, ninth president of Ricks College, according to the “The Spirit of Ricks” by David L. Crowder.
Miyasaki said he has worked at BYU-I for 23 years. He said he has had the opportunity to work with a number of different presidents of Ricks and BYU-I during his time on campus.
“People are at the right place at the right time by the Lord’s hands placing them here to help his mission take place,” Miyasaki said.
Miyasaki said President Henry B. Eyring, tenth president of Ricks College, mentioned in his inaugural address that this university would someday bless the entire world.
“President Bednar, in his inauguration, talked about blessing students in Rexburg, Rhode Island and Rome,” Miyasaki said, “Well now we have Pathway sites in Rexburg, Rhode Island and Rome- fulfilling that prophecy”
Roy Huff, a faculty member in the Department of Religion, said President Bednar really emphasized that everyone was a teacher, not just the faculty. Even President Bednar himself taught a course on campus.
“The thing I remember about President Bednar was his spiritual roots were deep,” Huff said, “He could hold his own with any facult member in the religion department.”
Miyasaki said President Steve D. Bennion, thirteenth president of Ricks College, had a focus on serving the students and blessing their lives; while his successor, Elder David A. Bednar, was very focused on rethinking education and creating a disciple preparation center here on campus.
Speaking of President Kim B. Clark, Miyasaki said, “He had that three-fold mission of serving more students, improving the quality of the student experience, and to do so at a relatively lower cost.”
He said President Clark G. Gilbert’s vision is to continue to carry on that same steady and upward course.
“His focus is going to be on not just providing them an education, but let’s really prepare them for who Heavenly Father wants them to become,” Miyasaki said, “They will walk out of here with the gifts, and the skills and the talents to go out there and serve the world.”
The university has always had a strong commitment to not only educate students and help them to progress, but to help them to spiritually grow and become strong in the gospel, according to the BYU-I’s History of Ricks Web page.
“I really do believe that what we have here at BYU-Idaho is different fro anywhere else you’ll see,” Huff said, “and it’s not just because we don’t have an athletic program.”