Trish Gannaway, the guest hosting and institutional events coordinator, worked and coordinated the efforts needed to prepare the events of inauguration day.
The planning for the inauguration started on the day that President Russell M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, made the announcement of President Clark G. Gilbert after his devotional talk in Winter Semester 2015.
“It was a complete surprise to us,” Gannaway said. “We came back to our office, and we started to talk about what we needed to do.”
Mary Smith, a senior studying child development, was one of the student employees that helped plan and prepare for the inauguration.
“I have never done an inauguration before and neither has Trish,” Smith said.
Both Smith and Gannaway got help from a binder with information from President Kim B. Clark’s inauguration.
“I got to organize it and put it back together to make sense of the order of the things that we would have to work on,” Smith said. “We went through it and decided what needed to be done, and I was able to create a checklist.”
The first thing that Gannaway and the rest of the team started to prepare was the address list. The list included political leaders, local community leaders, stake presidents and temple presidents within the area between Ashton, Idaho, and Idaho Falls. The list grew as the Gilberts added information from Salt Lake of who needed to come.
The address list was a huge part of the inauguration planning. It included not only the names, but also the look and design of the invitations.
“There was a lot that went into the invitations, like the wording of it, a picture of President Gilbert, the font, what kind of paper will be used,” Gannaway said.
After a month of planning and designing, and approval from the Gilberts and the Commissioner’s Office in Salt Lake City, Utah, 950 invitations were sent out.
Gannaway was also in charge of creating the programs for the luncheon and the inauguration ceremony.
Just like the invitations, President Gilbert and the Commissioner’s office in Salt Lake City, Utah had to approve the programs.
After proofs of the programs were made, President Gilbert previewed them and wanted to have students do the musical numbers.
“We had a musical number arranged at the luncheon that was a cello and piano duet by two music faculty members,” Gannaway said. “Once we had the proofs made, we took it to him and he said, ‘I cannot have a musical number that is not more student based … this is a university, and I have to have students doing the musical number.’”
The Guest Hosting and Institutional Events Office was not the only office that helped in the inauguration planning. An Inauguration Council was created and comprised by any department and that was going to be involved in the event.
“We met every Friday, starting in about June, and made sure that everybody knew what was happening and report back,” Gannaway said. Some of the groups involved included Custodial, Catering Services, Scheduling Office, Production group from the I-Center, Music Department, Campus Security, Parking Services and ushering.
Smith said some of the council members that helped in President Clark’s inauguration were able to help organize for the day of President Gilbert’s inauguration.
Student volunteers helped only on the day of the event, which was a challenge since the inauguration was held on the second day of school.
Gannaway said one of the biggest challenges that she faced was just being flexible during the planning process and being ready to do things and switch things around when needed.
She shared one moment when one of the name cards for the luncheon was spelled wrong.
“We had to hurry and have it printed,” Gannaway said. “And we couldn’t just print from our printer. We had to set it up in variable data and email to Print Services and then print it on the right paper. It was pretty crazy.”
Gannaway said that the inauguration was an awesome day for her, especially considering all the work, time and dedication that was put into the event. She said they were also able to overcome unforseen challenges that arose as well.
She had the opportunity to meet and work with the apostles and the Gilberts. Gannaway said it was rewarding to feel the outpouring of the Spirit.
Smith shared an experience in which she, Gannaway and a few student employees in the office stayed up late on the night before the inauguration.
During their work, they all felt the excitement for the event on the next day.
“The excitement of it was incredible,” Smith said. “We have done this for a long time, and the knowledge that it was actually going to happen was incredible, like all of this hard work and leading up to this one moment.”