Clark—a devout Mormon who has served as bishop, or lay leader of his congregation, in the Church—will leave HBS July 31, following a decade as the school’s top administrator.
Clark is the third head of a Harvard advanced-degree program to step down this year. Graduate School of Education Dean Ellen Condliffe Lagemann and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Peter T. Ellison both announced plans to leave their present positions earlier this spring.
At an HBS press conference announcing his departure yesterday afternoon, Clark said he received a call last month from Gordon B. Hinckley, the president of the Mormon Church, asking him to take the helm at BYU-Idaho.
Clark said that he had long considered 10 years an appropriate tenure for a dean, but the job offer from the highest official in Mormonism catalyzed his departure.
“If the president of my church had not called me on the 25th of May, we would not be here,” Clark said at the press conference.
“A PIONEER TRADITION”
BYU-Idaho spokesman Don Sparhawk said that Clark is to address the school’s student body this morning at its campus in the Upper Snake River Valley.
BYU-Idaho’s previous head, David A. Bednar, left his post in December upon being named to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Mormonism’s highest governing body beneath the Church’s president, according to Sparhawk.
BYU-Idaho is separate from the more widely-known Bringham Young University of Provo, Utah—although the two colleges share a common board of trustees.
According to Sparhawk, the all-undergraduate student body is 99 percent Mormon and draws from all 50 states and from 40 countries.
Clark joins BYU-Idaho in a transitional period. The school—which had been known as Ricks College since its founding in 1888—introduced a four-year bachelors degree program just five years ago.
Bruce E. Hobbs, the school’s director of public relations, said that BYU-Idaho remains firmly rooted in the “pioneer tradition.”
“The concept is that students don’t need an increase in budget or resources to start a new program,” Hobbs said. “We want them to take what they’ve been given and, through innovation, be successful.”
The school does not grant tenure to faculty, and 80 percent of majors require internships, most of which are off-campus and out-of-state, according to Hobbs.
The school also requires students to take courses in Mormon theology.