Good morning, dear brothers and sisters and many friends. I am deeply honored and very grateful to join each of you on this historic occasion. We are especially pleased to welcome President Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Kristen Oaks. President Oaks previously served as the eighth president of BYU. He is here representing the First Presidency today. We also welcome Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Kathy. Elder Christofferson serves as chairman of the executive committee of the BYU Board of Trustees.
President and Sister Reese, it is indeed a pleasure to be here with you today on this special and joyous occasion. President Reese, like Esther of old, you have been raised up “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14)—a time when we contemplate the history of Brigham Young University as well as what prophets have asked this institution to become. You have prepared yourself academically, spiritually, and personally.
In coming to this role, your name—along with Wendy’s—was approved by the First Presidency and the full Board of Trustees of Brigham Young University. We love you, we admire you, and we have confidence in you in leading this magnificent institution into the future.
I feel it is valuable for us to take a moment to understand what is about to happen here today. A presidential inauguration is a momentous occasion for any university.
In the case of Brigham Young University, it is important to recognize that the governance of this institution operates under the guidance of a unique and distinctive board of trustees.
BYU is “founded, supported, and guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (The Mission of Brigham Young University [4 November 1981]). The BYU Board of Trustees is led by the First Presidency, with President Russell M. Nelson serving as chairman, President Dallin H. Oaks as first vice chairman, and President Henry B. Eyring as second vice chairman. As assigned by the First Presidency, an executive committee of the board provides oversight and direction. Elder D. Todd Christofferson chairs that executive committee and is joined by me as his vice chairman. Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy and President Camille N. Johnson, the Relief Society general president, are also assigned to the executive committee. The commissioner of education, Elder Clark G. Gilbert, then provides the interface between the university and both the executive committee and the board. This is why the five of us not only have the privilege of participating in today’s program but also have the specific assignment from the First Presidency to conduct the business of the board here today.
It is also why, in a moment, President Dallin H. Oaks, representing the First Presidency, and Elder D. Todd Christofferson, as chairman of the executive committee of the BYU Board of Trustees, will formally install C. Shane Reese as the fourteenth president of Brigham Young University. In addition to this installation, President Reese will be given a charge from the BYU Board of Trustees. This charge will outline guidance and prophetic direction the board has for President Reese as he takes the helm of this university.
This prophetic charge and BYU’s governance structure create a tremendous advantage for BYU, its president, the work of its faculty and staff, and the spiritual development of these magnificent students. Indeed, it allows—in fact, it compels—you to do things at this university that could be done nowhere else in the world.
With that background, Elder Christofferson, joined by President Oaks, will now install C. Shane Reese as the fourteenth president of Brigham Young University. Congratulations, President.
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Ronald A. Rasband, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, delivered this address at the inauguration of BYU president C. Shane Reese on September 19, 2023.