Home Opinion Opinion: From Student Rays to Scroll

Opinion: From Student Rays to Scroll

When I opened storage bins containing papers nearly a century old, I realized just how much history was behind Ricks College, let alone Scroll. I am proud to be a journalist for this organization, and hopefully the words I write can inspire other students here on campus.

When I began my research, I realized that while so much information was preserved, it was unorganized. I soon felt that a cohesive understanding of the history of the campus newspaper was needed.

Here is a comprehensive history of BYU-Idaho’s oldest organization — Scroll.

The Student Rays: 1905-1932

On Nov. 5, 1905, Ricks Academy printed its first school-funded newspaper, The Student Rays. For the first decade of its life, The Student Rays was printed in a booklet format and featured hand-drawn covers.

These booklets were intended to be monthly productions. The writers focused heavily on religious content, but they also focused on advertisements for local businesses.

In the 1920s, The Student Rays transitioned to publishing in a traditional newspaper format.

The Purple Flash: 1933-1937

"The Purple Flash" newspaper from the 1930s.
"The Purple Flash" newspaper from the 1930s. Photo credit: Isabelle Justice

In 1933, The Student Rays became The Purple Flash. This newspaper had regular columns, like “Aunt Jerusha’s Corner,” which discussed student life — such as dating, missions and class advice.

The Student Rays focused on the Rexburg community, but The Purple Flash focused solely on campus events and school spirit.

The Viking Flash: 1937-1938

In 1937, it’s safe to say that The Purple Flash had an identity crisis.

The newspaper changed its name to Viking Flashes, otherwise known as The Viking Flash, in 1937. This was done to reflect Ricks College’s new mascot, Thor the Viking. After a year of this title, the editors decided it was time for another change.

The paper offered multiple campus-wide competitions to get the perfect name for the Ricks College newspaper.

“Because of the fact that the judges were not satisfied with the names submitted, the staff has deemed it advisable to re-open the contest for the best name for the paper,” said one staff member in 1937.

The Viking Flashes was printed irregularly in 1937 and was sold for 10 cents a copy. The content was student-focused and often included poems and quotes.

Click here to read Scroll’s cover of Viking Flashes.

The Viking Scroll: 1938-1973

After The Viking Scroll was decided as the winning name, the paper began implementing a stoic, hand-drawn Viking on the front page. This paper was produced bi-weekly and was campus and community-focused.

The Viking Scroll covered historic events during this era, such as when Eleanor Roosevelt visited Ricks College, the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement and the Supreme Court case of Gideon v. Wainwright where religion was no longer taught in public schools.

Click here to read Scroll’s cover of The Viking Scroll.

Scroll: 1973 to present

The "Scroll" newspaper from the 2010s.
The "Scroll" newspaper from the 2010s.

In 1973, the Scroll that we know was born. Scroll shared plenty of information on campus life and even lighthearted comics like “Calvin and Hobbes.”

As Scroll transferred into a new century, its content focused on the concerns of BYU-I students. Physical newspapers for BYU-I’s Scroll were issued weekly until 2018 when the final paper was published.

Today, Scroll covers Rexburg and campus events alike. It maintains topics such as feature articles, spiritual messages, intramural sports, college advice, local business covers and political covers.

If students are interested in checking out Scroll artifacts, see Special Collections and Archives on the second floor of the David O. McKay Library. Click here to view the online collection of campus newspapers. Before visiting, email Adam Luke so the newspapers and handbooks can be set up for you.


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