Summers Visits Idaho Mormon College

Harvard group attends inauguration of former HBS dean as BYU-Idaho chief

A small group of Harvard administrators and donors—including University President Lawrence H. Summers—gathered in Rexburg, Idaho yesterday to attend the inauguration of former Business School Dean Kim B. Clark '74 as chief of the town’s Mormon college.

Clark led Harvard Business School (HBS) for a decade before stepping down this summer to become president of Brigham Young University-Idaho, an 11,000-student college affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Along with Summers and the acting dean of HBS, Jay O. Light, the array of dignitaries on stage at yesterday’s event including Idaho Governor Dick Kempthorne and the president of the Church of Jesus Christ, Gordon B. Hinckley.

Clark, a devout Mormon, left HBS last year after receiving a phone call from Hinckley, who asked Clark if he would be interested in taking the helm of BYU-Idaho.

“We believe that that man, Gordon B. Hinckley, is a prophet of God,” Clark told television host Charlie Rose in an interview in July, explaining his decision to leave Harvard. “And Moses says—the man who is acting like Moses says—he would like you to do something. Now, in this case, of course you`d say yes,” Clark told Rose.

Clark later added that Hinckley had “given me the option” of turning down the BYU-Idaho presidency.

In addition to Light, the list of Harvard officials attending the inauguration included Associate Dean Angela Q. Crispi, Assistant Dean Jean M. Cunningham, and executive assistant Susan Deavor.

Also accompanying the Harvard delegation was C. Dixon “Dick” Spangler Jr., a 1956 graduate of HBS who went on to make millions in construction and banking. The state-of-the-art HBS campus center that opened in 2001 is named in honor of Spangler and his wife, Meredith, who also traveled to Rexburg yesterday.

According to Summers spokesman John Longbrake, it is “proper protocol” for Harvard to send a representative to inaugurations at other universities. “In this case, Kim Clark is a highly respected citizen of Harvard and a long-time friend of President Summers,” Longbrake wrote in an e-mail.

—Staff writer Daniel J. Hemel can be reached at hemel@fas.harvard.edu.