On May 1, 2023, C. Shane Reese officially replaced Kevin J Worthen to become the 14th president of Brigham Young University.
“Humbling. Honored. Those are kind of the only words that are even… come close to describe how it felt that day,” Reese said. “It was kind of a surreal day for both myself and my wife.”
President Reese gave the first devotional address of the fall 2023 semester on September 12.
President Reese’s inauguration has been set just one week after his address.
“It just never even crossed my mind that I would be even considered a candidate for being president of BYU,” Reese said.
Before being appointed President, Reese worked as the Academic Vice President and as a statistician.
“I was kind of raised as a faculty member here at BYU. And when I say raised, I mean my adult life,” Reese said. “And it is the students at BYU that give me such an enthusiasm about what it is we’re trying to accomplish as a university, and it’s the focus on students.”
President Reese started off as a first-generation college student at BYU, and at first, he was a little worried.
Then, someone suggested he talk to a man on campus named Kevin J Worthen.
“He was a brand new law faculty in the law school and I went to him and said, ‘I’m feeling kind of unnerved about this whole BYU experience,’” Reese said. “And he just said, ‘You know, I found that BYU is a really welcoming place, give it a chance.’”
For his own presidency, Reese said he hopes to bring a passion for accomplishing the mission of BYU.
“If there was one thing that defined President Worthen’s leadership, it was humility and meekness,” Reese said. “But not at the sacrifice of strength and command.”
As President Reese is set to begin his own leadership journey, he had a message for students.
“Everybody who’s at this university has something to give, not all the same thing to give, but everyone has something to give,” Reese said. “And I just want them to have a sense of who they are, what they have to get, and what they have to give. And that’s what I hope students know.”
Video: Trevor Myers
Interview Video: Kris Boyle, Anna Hair, Miles Romney
Photos: BYU Photo
Videos: BYU University Communications, BYU Center for Teaching and Learning