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Becoming BYU: Seven Immediate Steps

April 2024

BYU President C. Shane Reese smiling on his inauguration day.

Thank you for your support and for living the mission of Brigham Young University. 

I love BYU and its mission and am awed by the powerful road map that has been set forth by latter-day prophets and apostles. Our task, I submit, is to claim in our day the prophecies of the past. We must become the university that prophets have foretold— the world’s “greatest institution of learning” and “the fully anointed university of the Lord” (quoting President Spencer W. Kimball). 

As we take the following steps, I believe that we will be blessed both individually and institutionally. We will come closer to what God wants us to be personally and to what He needs BYU to be. This is what I mean when I talk about “becoming BYU.” 

Strengthen the Student Experience

Becoming BYU will require enriching the student experience. Each student’s eternal progression must remain our foremost concern. To this end, we strive for every student to have an inspiring learning experience. 

Retain a Focus on Undergraduate Teaching

Becoming BYU will require increased focus on our primary teaching mission. As we sharpen our focus on student learning, we will qualify for the inspiration needed to better fulfill our scholarship and mentoring missions. 

Expand on BYU’s “Double Heritage”

Becoming BYU will require that we embrace our religious mission even as we speak to the broader academy with credibility and strength. BYU faculty and leaders must foster this double heritage and be bilingual: we must speak with authority about our disciplines in the language of scholarship, and we must speak with power about our Christian discipleship in the language of faith. 

Dare to Be Different

Becoming BYU will, at times, require the courage to stand alone. Our strength lies in our unique role as the flagship university of the Church Educational System, and we exert our strength only to the extent that we embrace and enhance our religious identity. 

Build a Covenant Community

Becoming BYU will require us to sharpen our students’ focus on their covenantal belonging. By emphasizing their covenantal identity, we will naturally help our students to fix their gaze on the holy temple. For BYU to become the temple of learning foretold by prophets, we must rivet our focus on the house of the Lord. 

Invest in Mission-Inspired Scholarship

Becoming BYU will require investing in strategic research initiatives that advance the Church’s purposes and bless our Heavenly Father’s children directly. This will include investments in areas in which we have natural strengths as a church and as a university, furthering recent efforts regarding the family, religion’s role in human flourishing, and constitutional government. 

Focus on Mission-Aligned Hiring

Becoming BYU will require us to make careful, mission-aligned hiring decisions, especially for faculty members. These are the people who BYU, the Church, the academy, and the world look to as examples of faithful disciples who combine professional excellence with deep and abiding testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Adapted from President Reese’s “Becoming BYU: An Inaugural Response,” given September 19, 2023. Read or watch the entire address and review its notes and sources at

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