New BYU president named in devotional

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PROVO — Church officials named Kevin J Worthen as the new president of Brigham Young University in a Tuesday devotional.

President Henry B. Eyring, on behalf of President Thomas S. Monson, chairman of the board of education, announced in the morning devotional that Worthen will replace Cecil O. Samuelson as the university's president. Samuelson has held the position since May 2003.

"Truly, his leadership and influence for good cannot be measured," President Eyring said. "We love you and appreciate all you have done during your tenure here."

He also recognized Sister Sharon Giauque Samuelson as a "steadfast" and "admirable" woman.

"(She is) a friend and mentor to all associated with this great university; a woman of tremendous talent and ability in her own right," President Eyring said.

Worthen takes the position as the 13th president after spending many years in BYU's leadership, including his most recent role as vice president of advancement. Previously, he worked as the dean of the J. Reuben Clark School and the Hugh W. Colton Professor of Law.

"It is my solemn testimony that the Lord directs the work of his kingdom here on the earth and that He is interested in this vital institution," President Eyring said.

If you keep focusing on the mission, opportunities will come up to enhance what we're doing.

–Kevin J Worthen

An underground coal miner turned BYU alumnus, Worthen is considered an expert in federal Indian law, according to BYU. He was a Fulbright scholar and clerk for Justice Byron R. White of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Malcolm R. Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Court.

Worthen will officially begin his tenure as president on May 1 and remain and area authority. In a press conference following the announcement, Worthen said he does not foresee any immediate changes, but acknowledged, "No one's given this kind of assignment to maintain the status quo."

He said he will continue following the school's mission and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.

"If you keep focusing on the mission, opportunities will come up to enhance what we're doing," Worthen said.

Worthen thanked Samuelson for his guidance and work at the university, acknowledging the president as a mentor.

"I really don't consider myself in the same category as those who have served before," Worthen said.

Worthen also recognized parents and educators who helped students prepare to attend BYU.

"They are very well prepared," Worthen said. "In many ways, they clearly are our best asset. I think we just need to make sure we keep providing them with every opportunity they need."

Worthen is married to Peggy Sealey Worthen. Together they have three children and one grandchild.

Contributing: Carole Mikita


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