SALT LAKE CITY – Kim B. Clark, the dean of the Harvard Business School, was named the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho, Mormon church President Gordon B. Hinckley announced Monday.
Clark, 56 and a graduate of Spokane’s Ferris High School, will step down at Harvard on July 31, and soon after will assume the reigns of the church-owned university.
The announcement was made at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ downtown Conference Center, with a live video feed of Clark from Boston. The event was also broadcast live to BYU-Idaho students gathered in an auditorium at the Rexburg, Idaho, campus.
“He is a man of tremendous intelligence who is deeply respected and admired,” Hinckley said.
Clark said he was honored to be selected for the post, but that it would be difficult to “leave a school that I love.” He said he is leaving “one of the great jobs in the world.”
Hinckley contacted Clark late last month and asked him to consider the BYU-Idaho post.
“If the president of my church had not called me on the 25th of May, we would not all be here today,” Clark said.
BYU-Idaho “must do many new things … but it also must build on its legacy,” Clark said. “I love that kind of work. I look forward to doing that kind of work at BYU-Idaho.”
Clark and his wife, Sue, live in Belmont, Mass., and have seven children and seven grandchildren.
The new job marks a return to the West for Clark, whose great-great-grandfather was one of the Mormon pioneers who walked across the continent to Utah in the 1840s. His family moved to Spokane when he was 11, and Clark vacations in Coeur d’Alene each summer, he told The Spokesman-Review in 1996.
“Deep down, our roots are in the West,” he said in that 1996 interview.
Clark received his undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from Harvard and has been dean of the business school since 1995. He has also served as a member of Harvard’s faculty since 1978.
“Harvard Business School has thrived under Kim’s creative and energetic guidance,” Harvard University President Lawrence H. Summers said in a prepared statement.
Summers said he expected to name an acting dean in the next few weeks, and begin a search for a permanent replacement, considering candidates both from within Harvard and outside.
Clark planned to travel to Idaho late Monday with his wife. He is expected to attend a weekly devotional at the school Tuesday and meet with students.
He is a member of the Mormon church who has held several positions in the church’s lay clergy and served a proselytizing mission to Germany.
Clark replaces David A. Bednar, who was chosen in October to be a member of the church’s leadership council, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
During Bednar’s seven-year tenure, the 8,500-student, two-year Ricks College evolved into the 11,000-plus-student, four-year BYU-Idaho.
Robert M. Wilkes, a veteran faculty member at the school, is serving as interim president.
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