Bednar to serve as Ricks president


    The announcement of the new president of Ricks College was made Tuesday by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    David A. Bednar will succeed Steven D. Bennion as president of Ricks College starting July 1. Bennion has accepted the presidency of Southern Utah University in Cedar City.

    “It’s overwhelming, humbling and exciting,” Bednar said. “I view this as a sacred stewardship. It’s a humbling responsibility to stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me and continue in their work.”

    “We are pleased to have him,” said Jim Sessions, dean of students at Ricks College. “He seems to be a wonderful young man. He and his wife have strong roots both in the church and in the church’s educational system.”

    Don Sparhawk, coordinator of press relations at Ricks College, said Bednar and his wife, Susan Robins Bednar, spoke to the faculty and staff Tuesday morning.

    “It was during this meeting that a press conference was held and the announcement was made,” Sparhawk said.

    Sparhawk said the announcement was met with great approval by the Ricks College community.

    “I think people were excited that he is a teacher by profession, teaching for the last 20 years. He himself indicated that teaching is his great love,” Sparhawk said.

    According to a news release issued by the LDS Church, Bednar has been serving as a management professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Ark. Bednar also served as the associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Business Administration at the University of Arkansas from 1987 to 1992.

    Doyle Z. Williams, Arkansas dean of the College of Business Administration said Bednar was recognized twice for his work in the College of Business Administration with the Burlington Northern Outstanding Teacher Award, and he was recognized as the outstanding faculty member at the University of Arkansas in 1994.

    The university is excited for Bednar but he will be sorely missed, Williams said.

    “We are saddened to lose him,” Williams said. “But we are honored that he was chosen for such a position.”

    Bednar’s love for teaching and concern for students will be a great asset for Ricks College, Williams said.

    “He puts a real premium on teaching. He understands the importance of making learning active, exciting and challenging,” Williams said.

    Bednar taught some of the most popular courses at the university and he was instrumental in the development of an innovative program at the University of Arkansas known as “Partners in Progress,” a program taught by university faculty and business leaders who work with students to solve real issues facing businesses.

    “We call the program ‘real-time’ learning as opposed to textbook learning,” Williams said.

    Williams also said Bednar has been a key individual in revamping the MBA program at the University of Arkansas.

    Concerning his plans for Ricks College, Bednar said he plans to continue the tradition of excellence that has existed at Ricks College in the past.

    “My immediate plan is to learn as much as I can, as fast as I can, about Ricks College,” Bednar said.

    “The mission of Ricks College is to foster faith in the Savior and provide quality education for those wishing to continue their education and for those who wish to enter the work force. That mission will never change. It is a constant. The technology that we use in accomplishing that mission may change or improve, but the main mission will never change,” Bednar said.

    Sparhawk said Bednar also has extensive experience in church service.

    “He has great strength as a church leader,” Sparhawk said. “He is a member of the recently organized Area Authority Seventy. Before this calling he has served as an area authority, a regional representative, a stake president and a bishop.”

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