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Brigham Young University – Idaho

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always had a great commitment to education. Of the original LDS academies, only Brigham Young University-Idaho and BYU in Provo, Utah, remain as part of the Church Educational System. In November 1888, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints created Bannock Stake Academy in Rexburg, Idaho. Three teachers were appointed to provide the basics in elementary education and spiritual growth. Jacob Spori served concurrently on the faculty and as the first principal from 1888 to 1891. As the population grew, it became necessary to divide the geographical area designated by the LDS Church as the Bannock Stake. Fremont Stake was created, and in 1898, the school was renamed the Fremont Stake Academy. In 1901, Ezra Christiansen, who later had his name legally changed to Ezra C. Dalby, became the principal. During his 13 years of leadership, the academy moved into the new rock building and became a standard high school, normal school, and commercial school. In 1903, the school was renamed again as Ricks Academy in honor of Thomas E. Ricks, the Bannock Stake president at the time it was founded, and the chairman of the school's first Board of Education. Andrew B. Christensen, who served as principal from 1914 to 1917, was instrumental in adding a year of college work to the curriculum, bringing water to the campus to beautify the grounds, and beginning the construction of a new gymnasium. In the summer of 1917, the school was granted state certification (which allowed the graduates to teach in the State of Idaho), the Academy became Ricks Normal College. In 1923, the school became known as Ricks College. John L. Clarke became president in 1944, and served for 27 years. He helped make Ricks into a four-year institution and then saw it changed back to a two-year college. He also struggled through the years when the Commissioner of Education tried to move the college to Idaho Falls. Under his administration the college grew from an enrollment of 200 to 5,300 and its two buildings multiplied to become two dozen. In 1971, Henry B. Eyring became president. His administrative and public relations skills ensured the college's successful transition from a regional junior college to the nation's largest private two-year college. He developed new technical and vocational programs. He also opened the college to those left homeless by the Teton Dam flood. In June 2000, the announcement was made by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Board of Trustees of Ricks College, that Ricks College would change from a two-year junior college status to a four-year institution. The school officially became known as Brigham Young University-Idaho in August 2001.