BYU President Shane Reese: ‘Our task is to become … the world’s greatest institution of learning’

BYU President C. Shane Reese smiles as he speaks during his installation as BYU’s 14th president at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023. | Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO, UTAH—Shane Reese was installed as the president of Brigham Young University (BYU) by Elder D. Todd Christofferson at the Marriott Center in Provo Tuesday morning. He serves as the 14th president of the nearly 150-year-old university.

“The board’s invitation to become BYU’s 14th president was overwhelming, but it has already proved to be a great blessing for our family,” Reese said during his inaugural address. “My primary qualifications for this sacred stewardship are a willingness to serve, an ability to work and a desire to learn.”

During his address, Reese announced his intentions to strengthen the BYU student experience, retain a focus on undergraduate teaching, embrace the university’s religious mission as guided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and further “mission-inspired scholarship” by investing resources to strategic research initiatives. 

“We have recently seen a campus-wide upswell in research focused on poverty—its assessment, causes and remedies,” Reese elaborated during his address. “Other areas of natural strength might include peacemaking and education, among others. Becoming BYU will require us to strategically elevate mission-critical scholarship informed by revealed doctrine.”

The powerful impact of research is well-known by Reese, who has ”created statistical models addressing a range of issues from predicting the power of solar storms to determining the safest method for destroying chemical weapons, assessing climate impact on glaciers in high-mountain Asia and Antarctica” and more, according to his faculty profile. “His work has also been used by the U.S. Olympic volleyball team as well as the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.”

Reese joined the BYU statistics faculty in 2001, eventually serving as the dean of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences until 2019 and as the BYU academic VP until 2023. He earned a doctoral degree in statistics from Texas A&M University and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in statistics from BYU.

“Our task, I submit, is to claim in our day the prophecies of the past,” Reese said. “Our task is to become the university that prophets foretold—to become the world’s greatest institution of learning; the fully anointed university of the Lord about which so much has been spoken in the past; to become the BYU of prophecy and promise. This, then, is the challenge of our generation and the burden of my administration: Becoming BYU.”

Mekenna is the editor of Utah Business magazine and a graduate of the print journalism program at Utah State University. She has written about business, music and culture for publications like Business Insider, Time Out, SLUG Magazine, Visit Salt Lake and the Standard-Examiner. She loves hiking, thrifting, reading and going on camping trips with her partner in their 1986 Land Cruiser.