Ernest L Wilkinson, President of BYU from 1951 – 1971, was my great-great uncle. Uncle Ernest is best known at BYU for the growth he brought. Under his leadership, BYU grew from 4,000 to 25,000 students; from 20 buildings, to more than 100; from five colleges to thirteen; from 193 faculty to 1,070; from 26% faculty holding doctorates to 54%; from 84 graduate degrees offered to 840. During his tenure the University changed from the quarter system to the semester system and many new programs were instituted including ROTC, weekly speaker forums, intramural sports, the Institute of Government Service and the Institute of Mormon Studies. His proudest achievement was the establishment of LDS wards and stakes on campus. When he became president, one branch of the Church existed on campus; in 1971, ten stakes with 99 wards were operating.
Read more about President Wilkinson here:
Yet, I did not attend BYU. I chose my alma mater (Idaho State University in Pocatello) not based on family loyalty, but on factors that were logical and realistic to me at the time. ISU had one of the top five accounting programs in the nation and I wanted to be a CPA. It was located just down the street from my residence and attending would prevent me from moving my very young family out of state. And ISU had a large LDS population. ISU served my needs well and set me into a career that I have been able to use to provide for my family’s basic needs.
So why do I serve as a member our Chapter’s Executive Committee of BYU Management Society? Truth be told, I had never even set foot on the BYU campus (unless the MTC counts) when I paid my first membership dues years ago. What attracted me to the Society were the feelings I felt as I met with other business owners and professionals in our community who clearly had the same ethical standards that I did. Networking with these other members, regardless of their alma mater, whatever that may be, makes me a better businessperson and better overall human being.
You attended Utah? Eastern? You’re a Husky? A Cougar? Or maybe you went back east to go to school? It doesn’t matter. We have a place for you at BYU Management Society.
By Greg Stewart-Longhurst