President Cecil O. Samuelson said the recent frustrating changes to campus will provide vast improvements for the future.
In an Aug. 27 address, President Samuelson discussed the missionary age change and campus construction when he welcomed the faculty and staff to BYU’s annual University Conference. He also acknowledged the complications that come with the long-term construction project that is the new walking plaza.
“While we already enjoy pleasing and delightful surroundings,” he said, “we believe these modifications will help us be in a better position to serve our campus community even more so in the future.”
He thanked the faculty and staff for their support and patience before discussing the expected drop in enrollment, which he said may be between 10 and 15 percent. President Samuelson said, despite the drop, BYU would not be accepting transfer students from other universities to fill the gap and gave three reasons for doing so.
First, BYU’s Board of Trustees has not raised the enrollment ceiling because of projections that in 2015, when the new wave of younger missionaries begin to return to attend the school, there will be a spike in enrollment, which would be more difficult to handle.
Second, state universities are suffering from similar drops in enrollment, and, as their funding is chiefly tuition-based, BYU does not wish to exacerbate the financial strains they are experiencing.
Third, the Provo Missionary Training Center needs extra space and help to accommodate the surge of missionaries and BYU can use its extra resources available from the drop in enrollment to assist them.
President Samuelson praised missionary work and the university’s ability to play a part in spreading the gospel. He also said that the age change would have long-term benefits for BYU because missions add to the maturity and work-ethic of young people in the LDS Church.
“Our already-impressive student body will become even more so with an earlier missionary experience,” he said.
President Samuelson also discussed the faculty and staff’s work to keep BYU’s accreditation and the accomplishments of the various university departments from last year and closed with a spiritual thought inspired by the conference’s theme from Psalm 25:9.
“The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way,” he quoted.