President Clark G. Gilbert
Clark G. Gilbert became the 16th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho in April 2015.
President Gilbert brings a range of academic and professional experiences to his assignment in Rexburg. Prior to coming to BYU-Idaho in 2015, President Gilbert served as CEO of Deseret News Publishing Company and Deseret Digital Media. He also served as an associate academic vice president at BYU-Idaho, overseeing the implementation of online learning and the Pathway program. As a deeply committed teacher, President Gilbert had administrative responsibility for the Learning Model at BYU-Idaho. Prior to coming to Rexburg, he was a professor of entrepreneurial management at the Harvard Business School where he taught and studied in the field of organizational innovation.
President Gilbert graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in International Relations. He earned a master's degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University and a doctorate degree in Business Administration from the Harvard Business School.
President Gilbert has served in multiple ecclesiastical roles, including counselor in a stake presidency, bishop, counselor in a bishopric, Young Men's president, Gospel Doctrine teacher, and Scoutmaster. He currently teaches the CTR 7 Primary class with his wife, Christine.
President Gilbert was born in California and raised in Arizona. He and his wife, Christine, are the parents of eight children.
We invite you to study and ponder on the scriptures and other preparation resources below previous to attending devotional. As you come spiritually prepared the Spirit will have greater power to inspire you, teach you, and to testify to you of the truthfulness of the principles that will be taught.
Years ago, I befriended a group of young men in Boston. While my initial connection to these youth came from a Church calling, the relationships quickly grew to the point where I saw them the way the Lord saw them, and I grew to love them as if they were my family. And, like I would with my own children, I began to counsel and teach them things as a father would. That meant our conversations went far beyond requests to participate in stake activities or attend church. A desire grew in me to teach them so the gospel would sink deep into their hearts. Our conversations expanded to include plans for missions, how to be an effective missionary, college preparation, the importance of marriage, and early careers.
Here is a picture of three of those young men when they were later students at BYU-Idaho and I was visiting as a guest of the university. In that setting, on that day, in this very auditorium, I shared with them counsel about how to succeed at BYU-Idaho and how to become who the Lord wanted them to become.
Today, I would like to speak to you like I have spoken to them so many times before. That means I will speak with all the love of a parent. It also means I will speak firmly in ways parents do when they are lovingly teaching, and at times correcting, their children.
For you to understand some of the destiny and potential each of you have as students of this university, I feel it is important for me to first teach you some of the distinctive attributes of this institution and the way the Church, its tithe payers, and our employees invest in you. When President Gordon B. Hinckley announced the creation of BYU-Idaho in June 2000, he declared that the university would have a "unique role...and be distinctive from...other institutions of higher education."
At BYU-Idaho, that distinctive role starts with the mission of the university to "develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities." President Eyring has taught that "every innovation, every change [at BYU-Idaho] will be measured against this test of the heart. How would this proposed change build testimony and true conversion to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in the heart of a student?" I hope you will take time to reflect on what it means to be in a place where everything we do is focused on this single purpose: to help you in your quest to become a disciple of Jesus Christ.
You should also understand that BYU-Idaho's educational emphasis is uniquely student focused. In fact, this entire university is student focused by design. For example, at BYU-Idaho, our faculty make an unambiguous commitment to teaching and advising students. Moreover, at this university you will find a belief in the extraordinary potential of every student, no matter their educational background or life circumstances. Part of this is evident in the real-world preparation we provide to our students, which includes applied learning in the classroom, internships, leadership activities, and the BYU-Idaho Learning Model itself. All of these efforts happen in ways that provide a high-quality education at an affordable cost.
You are at a special and distinctive place where significant investment is being made on your behalf. To reinforce the unique role of BYU-Idaho, the university created the following video.  It starts with President Hinckley's announcement of the creation of this university in June 2000.
Do you start to sense just how committed the Lord and His Church are to you and your education?
To understand the implied responsibility each of you have as recipients of this investment, I want to share with you a story of someone who didn't start with as much opportunity or life resources as many of today's BYU-Idaho students.
Heber J. Grant was raised by a single mother. He grew up in poverty, in a home where his mother was forced to take in boarders to help provide for the family. And yet, despite these challenges, Heber J. Grant would go on to do remarkable things and later be called as an Apostle and eventually as the President of the Church. But despite his initial liability of growing up in poverty and without a father, Heber J. Grant did have one distinct advantage in his life.
After his father was buried, his bishop, Edwin D. Woolley, gave him a name and a blessing. In that blessing, Bishop Woolley saw by revelation that the infant boy would one day become an Apostle of the Church. As President Henry B. Eyring later described, "People then and since have called Heber J. Grant a 'child of promise.' He was. But his departed father didn't make the promises to the child, [nor did Bishop Woolley]. His Heavenly Father did."
Like Heber J. Grant, the students of BYU-Idaho are children of promise; and while every one of us faces different challenges and constraints, we also have the same gifts Heber J. Grant had—supportive resources in the Church and the promise of a loving Heavenly Father who knows who we are and who we can become.
To realize our potential as children of promise, we have to work hard to put to work the resources the Lord has prepared for us. In this regard, we can learn from three characteristics in the life of Heber J. Grant: self-reliance, stewardship, and replenishment.
President Grant was long known for establishing a Church welfare program on the principle of self-reliance. This principle goes far beyond the important idea of spending less than you make. Self-reliance also implies an ethic of personal responsibility that rather than sit back and wait for people to do things for you, you actively seek those resources yourself and use them responsibly and deliberately. As students at BYU-Idaho, this principle of self-reliance may apply in your search for financial resources. But rather than approaching the Student Financial Aid Office with the question of "How much can I get?" you might ask, "How much do I need?" which would require you to have built a budget and possibly find a part-time job.
Note that self-reliance is much more than a financial aid principle. If you are struggling in a class, being self-reliant means that you should consider going to the Tutoring Center for help. Did you know that resource is available to every student at BYU-Idaho at no cost? But you have to take the action of going to the McKay Library (or accessing online tutors). Are you frustrated that no one is dating in your apartment? Well, ask someone out or plan an event to take a date to devotional. Sister Gilbert and I provide a free date opportunity each semester at Date Night. But you have to ask; you have to take action. For those who feel they don't know people or didn't come to the university with a lot of friends, being self-reliant means you need to engage in your ward or learn someone's name in class or volunteer in the Activities program. That's what we mean by being self-reliant. The Lord has given all of us at this university abundant resources; but He expects us to use our agency to act, to engage, and to become agents unto ourselves.
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness;
For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves.
So while self-reliance is the first principle of college success, as we become increasingly self-reliant, we will begin to understand a second, higher principle: that of personal stewardship. In Matthew chapter 25, we read the parable of the talents: "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." Each of you has talents that the Lord has given you. Some of those are individual spiritual gifts and personal strengths. For all of you, those talents include the remarkable resources the Lord, and His Church, has invested in you through the creation of this university. How will you use that stewardship when you graduate, and what will you give to the Lord in return for that stewardship?
One of those Boston young men I mentioned at the outset of my message called me the week of his graduation from BYU-Idaho and shared how he was so excited to graduate. But what I was most pleased with was that he had used his stewardship wisely and become something more than he was when he first arrived as a freshman. Yes, we want you to graduate. But we don't expect you simply to get through. We know, as the Lord knows, that you are children of promise with divine potential.
But you won't be a student here forever. President Eyring has taught, "Time passes at a fixed rate, and we can't store it. You can just decide what to do with it or not to do with it." So what are some of those stewardships of your time here at BYU-Idaho you will hand back to the Lord with increase when you leave?
The first is an academic stewardship. President Uchtdorf has said that "for members of the Church, education is not merely a good idea-it's a commandment." At BYU-Idaho, that education begins with the introduction of the Learning Model, where we invite you to take responsibility for your learning and become the natural leaders that President Eyring has described. That stewardship extends to planning your academic future and developing your grad plan at BYU-Idaho. Use the resources in the Academic Discovery Center to help you make wise choices about what to study. That stewardship also includes your time to graduation. Did you know that your probability of being an engaged future employee nearly doubles when you graduate on time and with modest college debt? Work hard in your classes. Take your education seriously. Never steal from the Lord or yourself by cheating in a class. Be a profitable servant, and return with increase the talents He has given you in this remarkable faculty and rich academic environment.
The second stewardship you have at BYU-Idaho is a spiritual stewardship. As I described earlier, the mission of BYU-Idaho is to develop disciple-leaders. Don't come to BYU-Idaho and not allow the experience of this place to change who you are. Attend weekly devotional. Participate fully in your ward. Know and live the Honor Code. Do you know it is summarized on the back of every one of our I-Cards?
Let Student Honor be a pattern for the rest of your life, not something you leave behind when you graduate. Elder Bednar described BYU-Idaho as a Disciple Preparation Center (DPC). Live your best, and let this place change who you are spiritually.
A third stewardship you have at BYU-Idaho is your career stewardship. This university has invested millions of dollars in resources that will help you discover and prepare for your career. Do you know where the Internships and Career Services Office is on campus? Can you find those resources online? Have you looked at careers that fit your interests and passion? Once you have selected a career path, are you preparing for it by building and strengthening your résumé? As you prepare for interviews, are you participating in practice interviews? Do you view your internship as an obligatory activity, or do you see it as a fundamental part of your education? Do you realize that students who have meaningful internships become better students and have more-fulfilling careers?
A fourth stewardship you have as a BYU-Idaho student is your life skills stewardship. At BYU-Idaho, your education is clearly more than just academics. From family skills you will learn in the Eternal Family course and our Student Living program, to personal finance principles we teach in foundations and in the Financial Aid Office, to well-being principles taught in Student Wellness and the Counseling Center, we want you to learn to be a balanced, healthy, well-rounded individual who can manage your time and your life in ways that make you an effective future parent, citizen, and member of the Church.
A fifth stewardship you have as a BYU-Idaho student is your leadership stewardship. We expect that students of BYU-Idaho will go forth from this university to be leaders in their homes, the Church, and their careers. Now, that doesn't mean you have to be in charge of everything you do. Elder Kim B. Clark described leadership at BYU-Idaho as "leadership with a small 'L,'" and President Henry B. Eyring called this "natural leadership" when he saw the future graduates of BYU-Idaho having lasting impact because of "their capacity to build the people around them and to add value wherever they serve." If you truly understand what we are trying to teach with the BYU-Idaho Learning Model, you will realize that this capacity starts in our classrooms when faculty give students the opportunity to teach and learn from each other. At BYU-Idaho, we also provide thousands of leadership opportunities every semester in student programs, student employment, and in our wards and stakes. Get involved both in your classroom and in other activities, and return your leadership stewardship with increase.
Now, some of you may be saying, "Wow. That's a bit overwhelming, President Gilbert. Five stewardships, like five talents, is a lot of expectation." Well, yes it is. But just get started, pick one area at a time, and work on it each semester. You will make mistakes, and that's okay. Just do your best, and if you do, the Lord will multiply your efforts.
There is yet another way you can honor the investment and sacrifice that others at this university make in your behalf: give back and replenish the investment that is being made in you.
To teach this point, I want to describe a pattern from our pioneer heritage. The early pioneers sent vanguard companies ahead of the main exodus west to build campsites along the way and to plant crops for those who would come behind on the trail. I want you to imagine for a moment that you are in one of those pioneer companies that was following behind the vanguard groups. Tired, hungry, and perhaps a little worried about whether or not you are on the right path, you suddenly come into a field or valley your fellow pioneers had previously prepared. You rejoice as you harvest crops that someone before you had planted-vanguard pioneers you had never seen.
Like those pioneers before, you are harvesting crops you did not plant. There were others who came before you and built up this university and this Church in ways that have blessed your lives. They helped lay the foundations that created this university, our student-centered culture, and so much more of what is special about this place. You did not see them, and you may not have known them, but you have felt their sacrifice and sensed their presence. And, like those early pioneers who harvested the crops of those who came before them, you must now decide whether you will reseed these fields for those who will come after you.
How can you give back? At some point, we hope you will contribute financially to the university and particularly to those in financial need. But since most of you live on a low-cost budget already, we don't expect that now. What we do expect is that you give back, even during your time as a student, by finding another student in need and reaching out; by lifting someone up academically, emotionally, or spiritually. If you have had a great experience with the resources given to you on this campus, find someone else and share with them. If you had a great leadership position in the Activities program or Get Connected, find someone else you can introduce to the program. If you had a great internship, work with the employer to bring another qualified BYU-Idaho student to the company. That is what we do at BYU-Idaho. That's how we give back. We expect you to find ways to engage, to volunteer, to hold leadership positions, to participate in the Tutoring Center, mentoring program, Activities program, and in so many other wonderful volunteer programs on campus.
Here is a picture of over 350 students who came back to school a week early to volunteer in Get Connected and to give back to the new students entering BYU-Idaho. You will have to pace yourself with prudence so you give back in ways that complement, not compete, with the other stewardships I have discussed; but give back, replenish, and start that pattern now while you are a student.
As I have spoken today, I hope you have felt my love for you. I hope you have felt as if you were one of our youth in Boston and that we love you and are teaching you as if you were one of our own children.
Here is a picture of some of those youth from Boston when they came to our inauguration last year. Most of them are or will be graduates of BYU-Idaho. Many of them have been married in the temple and are starting productive careers and beautiful families. Not all of their lives have been perfect or easy, but they are trying to do their best. I hope they all know they are children of promise. I hope all of you know you are children of promise. You have a remarkable future ahead of you. The Lord has given you talents and other resources you can draw on for that future. One of those gifts is this remarkable university. To realize that promise, you will need to become more self-reliant, strengthen your stewardship over the gifts you have received, and be willing to replenish what you have been given both now and in the future.
As you seek to realize these responsibilities, I know the Lord will bless you with added strength and capacity to become who He wants you to become. I so promise in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
 Gordon B. Hinckley, "The Announcement," BYU-Idaho, June 2000.  BYU-Idaho Mission Statement, "Our Mission," BYU-Idaho, 2016.  Henry B. Eyring, "A Steady, Upward Course," BYU-Idaho Devotional, September 2001.  Brigham Young University-Idaho, Intellectual Reserve, Inc., "Fulfilling the Mission," April 2016.  Craig K. Manscill, Robert Freeman, and Dennis Wright, "Presidents of the Church: The lives and teachings of the modern prophets," Cedar Fort, Inc., 2008.  Henry B. Eyring, "Child of Promise," BYU Speeches, May 1986.  D&C 58:27-28.  Matthew 25:15.  Henry B. Eyring, "Child of Promise," BYU Speeches, May 1986.  Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "Two Principles for Any Economy," Ensign, November 2009.  Gallup Purdue  David A. Bednar, "Brigham Young University-Idaho: A Disciple Preparation Center (DPC), Brigham Young University-Idaho Devotional, August 31, 2004.  Gallup-Purdue, "Great Jobs Great Lives," Washington D.C., 2014.  President Kim B. Clark, "Leadership with a Small 'L,'" Brigham Young University-Idaho Commencement, December 14, 2007.  Henry B. Eyring, "A Steady, Upward Course," BYU-Idaho Devotional, September 2001.  Clark G. Gilbert, adapted from Fall 2015 Commencement Address, BYU-Idaho Commencement, December 18, 2015.