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New BYU-Idaho president talks of call asking him to return

He has only been on the job one week, but Tuesday, the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho was introduced to the campus and the public. Clark Gilbert is returning to BYU-Idaho, but this time, as president, replacing Kim Clark.

“It does, it feels like we are coming home. In fact, even in Salt Lake City, I kept a picture of our family on the steps of our home in Rexburg,” said Gilbert.

He comes to campus as the former CEO of Deseret Digital Media in Salt Lake City. He has an extensive background in education, including time at BYU, Stanford and Harvard.

“You know, I love the classroom. I love teaching,” he said.

His previous time at BYU-Idaho included working on the learning model, online learning and the Pathway Program. He and his wife Chrsitine have eight children, ranging from age 18 to 2. They are excited to be back.

“Oh, so excited. They feel like they are going to Disneyland. They loved Rexburg and loved our neighborhood and the school district we were in. So they’re just thrilled to be back,” he said.

Eyewitness News anchor Todd Kunz asked him what it was like when he got the call.

“When I got the phone call, I had just landed to go speak to a group of media executives and they said, ‘They would like to meet you in the morning.’ And it was evening. So I said, ‘Should I just turn around and come back?'”

Kunz asked Gilbert who his meeting was to be with.

“President (Dieter F.) Uchtdorf (Second Counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church) And they said, ‘No, no, we’ll wait.’ And so it got pushed out three days. So I almost wish I (had) just flown right back, because (I had) three days to think, ‘What is this going to be?'”

As far as taking over the helm of a growing university, his wife said it best at the press conference.

“I love what Sister (Sue Lorraine) Clark told me. She said, ‘There’s no direction, there’s just inspiration. So you need to think about where the Lord is guiding you to help at the university.'” Christine Gilbert said.

Students on campus seemed very happy with the change in leadership.

“Well, I think it’s pretty cool that we have a new president. It’s kind of like having more experience and different ways of thinking about the problems and resolving similar issues,” said Grant Pray, a junior from Nevada.

“I think it’s pretty exciting. It’s going to be nice to see all the changes that are going to be made,” said Suzie Beaumont, a freshman from South Carolina.

President Gilbert said not to expect much change and that he is really in a mode of listening and learning right now. His inauguration will be held sometime this fall.

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