Harvard Business School Dean Heads to Rexburg

Harvard Business School Dean Kim Clark is resigning to take over the Presidency at BYU-Idaho. See here and here. My impression from speaking to HBS faculty is that Clark has been a very effective dean, so this looks like great news for BYU-Idaho.

55 comments for “Harvard Business School Dean Heads to Rexburg

  1. Dean Clark did have a great reputation, and he was a real asset for the church in the Boston area. I’m sure that his decision will be questioned–especially by those in the Harvard community. However, it seems like Dean Clark is showing a great deal of faith and obedience by accepting this calling. What an example. BYU-I is very fortunate.

  2. Obedient? So the assumption is this was a “calling” and not an opportunity. Tough move, I’ll admit, from Cambridge to Rexburg (and I don’t mean just geographically), but BYU-I is lucky to have him. I suspect he is a future (the next?) president of BYU….

  3. I think it’s clear from Mr. Clark’s statement that he views the move to Rexburg as an answer to a call. The Deseret News today quotes him:

    “If the president of the church did not call me on the 25th of May, we wouldn’t be here.” (While you’re out looking for the last honest man, could you please, please try to find the subjuntive voice too?)

    If you remove faith and faithfulness from the equation, the move doesn’t make any sense.

  4. Mark, I agree with your reading, including the part about the subjunctive. Although I could imagine someone wanting to make such a move for other personal reasons (i.e., other than obedience to a call), it is certainly not a move up in prestige (even though he is moving from a deanship to a presidency).

    So do others find it curious that four Apostles are former presidents of Church schools? While not wholly coincidental — after all, presidents of Church schools have a lot of interaction with the Apostles — I assume that the presidencies are not formal training grounds for apostleship.

    And why does BYU need a General Authority as the President, but BYU-Idaho does not? Hmm.

  5. It would be even more curious if the president of BYU prior to Elder Oaks had been called to the apostleship.

  6. …another white and delightsome candidate for apostleship. God’s elect spring from quite an exclusive group!

  7. Yes. For example, I assume they’re exclusively drawn from the group that don’t go around accusing the brethren of racism.

  8. This is a huge loss to the larger Boston area.

    Frankly, I am not sure that Kim Clark will do more for the Church as President of BYU-Idaho than he did and was doing as Dean of HBS. Unless the First Presidency is grooming him to be the next apostle, as so many of you speculate (in which case it was probably the right move), the removal of a highly respected leader from a prestigious Eastern academic community seems to me like a wasteful sacrifice of influence. Of course, I felt the same way about losing Michael Young as the dean of George Washington University Law School (to the University of Utah of all places! ;) . When top academic, political, and corporate leaders who are LDS stay in or return to Utah (a Church-owned and operated school in Rexburg, Idaho falls in the same category here) I believe it adversely impacts the strength (and also the growth) of the wards and stakes in the rest of the US.

    Now, don’t jump down my throat. Although this may sound like a criticism of our leaders, I don’t intend my comment that way. It is more of a lament than anything else. I would very much like to know what the powers that be are thinking on this one because Kim Clark will be missed here in many ways.

  9. Melissa, This is an interesting issue that I wanted to write about in the original post, but I couldn’t seem to find the right way to broach the topic. Early in my career, my wife and I considered moving to Utah, and one of the (many) factors that caused us not to take that path was a desire to live and work in an environment with fewer Mormons. Now, part of that was just a matter of taste, but part of it was inspired by a desire to strengthen the Church outside of Utah.

    I assume that Church leaders consider these issues when calling someone like Kim Clark out of Cambridge and asking him to move to Rexburg. At least I hope they do.

  10. Good points, Melissa.

    Except, the bigger loss with Mike Young was when he left New York and went to Washington. We need people like him here more than in Washington–the Church hasn’t got much of a public voice in NYC. (And, I don’t think that the Church had anything to do with his going to the U. )

  11. Gordon, I’m sure you’re right that Church leaders do consider these sorts of factors and likely did so in this case as well.

    My feelings of disappointment over this situation are also probably influenced by my own personal thoughts on this issue. Although I grew up in Utah (and loved it) and went to BYU (and loved it), for the last five years or so I have strongly felt that I should not live in Utah. I am often forcefully struck by how much work there is to do to build and support church in the US outside of Utah, particularly on the East coast. My own sense of what needs to be done to accomplish that work certainly colors my reaction to announcements like these.

  12. Mark, I didn’t think about his move from NYC to Washington, but I agree completely.

    I didn’t mean to imply that I thought the church had anything to do with Young’s decision to leave George Washington—I don’t think it did either.

  13. Melissa and Gordon: I can’t imagine that the Brethren didn’t think about the loss to the Church in Massachussetts created by Clark’s appointment. My experience with them in Europe and Asia suggests pretty strongly that they are well aware of how important it is to have strong, high profile members outside of Utah. But I suspect they see making BYU-Idaho into a strong 4-year institution is also very important to the Church. For years the members have put an incredible amount of pressure on the Brethren to do something to make a “BYU” education more available. BYU has been unable to admit all those who would like to enter, and that has made a lot of people very angry. Making Ricks into BYU-Idaho didn’t solve that problem, but it did relieve the pressure somewhat. I bet that, by appointing Kim Clark to be the new president, the Church is saying a lot about what it expects to have at BYU-Idaho, namely a strong 4-year undergraduate school.

    As for whether this is grooming for Clark to become an apostle: that strikes me as perhaps interesting party-gossip, but little more. I don’t think the Brethren think that far in advance about these things.

    Gordon: I think it is an interesting question what it means that BYU needs a GA as president but BYU-Idaho doesn’t. Perhaps it means that, though we have a GA as president (and, in him, someone well-qualified for the job), we no longer “need” one.

  14. That all makes sense to me, Jim. Thanks for that perspective.

    Melissa an Mark, the Church may not have been the motivation for Mike Young, but I assume that his being Mormon was an important factor for the U, which has long struggled with the perception that it is an anti-Mormon institution.

  15. I may be mistaken but I believe the permanent presidents of BYU-I and BYU-Hawaii are now, in addition to being university presidents, to be area authority seventies. Eric B. Shumway called April 2004, Elder Bednar originally called April 1997. I guess we’ll see.

  16. This move brings up a lot of interesting topics to discuss. The one thing I am interested in is one’s attitude in accepting a position like this. Let’s imagine that Clark did not want to do it. Would turning it down be like turning down the job to coach football at BYU because a Big Ten team offfered you their head coach postition, or is it like turning down a call to be a mission president or general authority? Being a U of U rebel I don’t like to think of positions at BYU-anywhere as a church calling. However, a phone call from Pres. Hinkley might quickly change my attitude.

    Also, I don’t think we should overreact to the loss of church influence in the Boston area. Both Clayton Christensen and Kent Bowen seem to be rather influentional faculty members at HBS. If anything, the church is overrepresented at the B-school.

  17. Jim F. brings up some good points. BYU-I has made some big changes, but it has a long way to go. The reaction (my husband has been a visiting professor at BYU-I for the past year) to bringing in an experienced and influential administrator has been very positive here. I think there is a lot that BYU-I can do, but it needs the help of some people who have been able to have an impact in other, more well-known institutions.

    The school has potential and I’m glad that Bro. Clark is willing to give a lot to develop it. I hope to see an increased level of professionalism and scholarship here as a result. The school has had some trouble recruiting professors with the kinds of qualifications that a respected four-year university needs.

    I’m inclined to think this is akin to a calling instead of a job offer, especially after hearing then-President Bednar talk about his interview when he was asked to be the president of Ricks.

  18. Adam S. (#17): Being a U of U rebel I don’t like to think of positions at BYU-anywhere as a church calling. However, a phone call from Pres. Hinkley might quickly change my attitude.

    Though I understand your feeling myself, and though the idea can be and has been abused, even faculty positions at BYU are considered to be something like a calling. Thus, the need for a temple recommend, the salary slightly lower than the average of comparable schools, etc.

  19. This call and the discussion raises the question of obligation.

    Melissa’s lament is partly for the issuance of the call, as though Clark (or any other believing Mormon) would have no choice but to accept once the call came. Do our covenants obligate us to accept large callings that require us to change our careers and move our families? Should we feel sorry for Clark for being cornered with the call he never would have chosen?

    I guess another way of asking the question is whether Clark’s devotion compromises his agency.

  20. I think this was a perfect decision for Kim Clark. Oddly enough, it didn’t sound like he had been on the radar screen for a while in terms of University Presidencies – I think he’s done a tremendous job at HBS and this will be the perfect capstone to his career.

    In terms of losing people from the East, Mike Young’s departure from NYC to DC was probably something the brethern appreciated, especially as he was able to be on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms. As per his move from DC to Utah, I think the goodwill towards the church at the U now far outweighs the contributions he was making in DC (although he was definitely making great contributions in DC). I wonder how the transition from DC to SLC is going for him and his family…since they had lived on the East Coast for so many years.

  21. The notion that a “believing Mormon would have no choice but to accept once the call came” troubles me.

    What if there is a compelling reason to turn down a call, something that the leader extending the call has no knowlege of? Does belief require us to “run faster than we’re able,” or are there times when belief demands refusal? There is never a time when a righteous leader would expect us to compromise our agency: John Taylor said “I was not born a slave! I cannot, will not be a slave. I will not be a slave to God…” Most of the time, accepting the call is the right choice, but every once in a while, we know things about our circumstances that the bishop or stake president doesn’t, and it’s just not right to say yes to what they’re asking.

    Back to the BYUI presidency, it’s not like this is a hardship assignment. Look at the track record: Of the last five presidents of Ricks College/BYUI, one went on to become president of a state university, two were called to the First Quorum of Seventy, and two are members of the Quorum of the Twelve. It’s clearly a showcase position, a place for men of whom the Brethren expect Big Things.

  22. #22 “What if there is a compelling reason to turn down a call, something that the leader extending the call has no knowlege of?”

    My sister told me once she was extended a calling that she felt was inappropriate for her current circumstances. She told the Brother what her circumstances were and told him that if they still felt inspired to have her serve in such capacity she would accept. I think they decided to extend the call to someone else. I do not think it would be right to accept a call that one feels is not right. You are entitled to the same inspiration about you as your leaders.

  23. I am not entirely familiar with the faculty at BYU but I did attend Ricks for a year when Elder Bednar first began. I am now finishing up at Southern Virginia University, which although it has a disclaimer that it is not owned or endorsed by the Church is often viewed as though it is, especially by some of the faculty. Jim F. talks about lower pay, etc. but at SVU it is really low. While I do not doubt there are certain professors and administrators who feel like they were “called” to work here, there are some who I cannot understand why the Lord would call them. It just seems like they use it as a crutch to justify taking a lower wage when in fact they could not get a job anywhere else. While in some cases such as Kim Clark’s this is obviously not the case, it certainly must be in others. Nearly all the faculty and most of the students whould say they felt inspired to come to SVU it seems pretty obvious who chose to answer a call and who had no choice but to accept.

  24. Salem: My point was not that some BYU profs and administrators feel that they were called to work here. It is that the Church speaks of working at BYU in terms of a calling. I’ve recently heard several GAs, some of them members of the Twelve, use that kind of language to talk about working at BYU. for most, it isn’t a calling in the usual sense (though it appears that it may be that kind of calling for Kim Clark). But the Church and the university think of working here in the same kinds of terms that they think about callings.

    As for SVU: I don’t know a lot about the place, though I have a lot of admiration for the people who are trying to make it work, and I have high hopes for its success. We need more LDS universities, and I think it would be good for us to have a number of them that are not officially sponsored by the Church. I wouldn’t be surprised if, indeed, the Lord does inspire people to take positions at SVU, nor would I be surprised if some people work at SVU (or BYU or . . .) because they have a position there and couldn’t get one some place else.

  25. Cort,

    Um, Kim Clark does not need BYUI as a stepping stone to being president of a state university. I would guess that almost any state U in the country would snap him up in an instant. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that many of the Ivy’s would take him as well.

  26. Melissa, you are right of course that the church has great needs outside of greater Deseret, but we also have great needs inside of greater Deseret (what is the proper term for the region where LDS are a large portion of the population?). Some of the cultural differences between Deseret and the wider world are not entirely good. And why shouldn’t we plan on having a Mormon Boston College in a couple of decades? How else would we get one except by bringing in people who know what it takes to make a Boston College? (Especially since what we really want isn’t exactly Boston College, but something like it only more religiously serious)

  27. As a Utah resident I occasionally resent the implication that talented individuals need to be located outside of Zion in order to be effective, but I understand the point. The same argument can be made about current Utah residents who have been called to church service from influential or significant positions in our relatively small community. For instance Elder Dallin Oakes was a justice of the Utah Supreme Court when he was called to the apostleship.

    He was replaced by a person who was somewhat antagonistic towards the church, and that has changed the direction of the court even today. This court often hears cases invovling the church, and it is important to have friends there. I have often wondered whether there are some in the first presidency who regret calling him away from a position where he could have done much good for the church for many years.

    I do not beleive that a church calling — even a high one — is necessarily the highest and best use for our most talented members, wherever they are located.

  28. Brother Clark was “called” by the prophet to Idaho. The Lord has probably been watching him develop the talents that He gave him and is now calling that into his service. Brother Clark’s statement that he would not be leaving HBS except for this calling were a clumsy way of saying that he loves his job and would never leave unless the Lord asked him to do otherwise. It is a compliment to HBS and a statement of committment to the church, although it could have been phrased better. I am impressed and appreciative of his desire to sacrific wordly prestige for the church.

  29. I am a immediate relative of Kim and I’d like to clear something up. When the prophet asked Kim if he would be presidint of BYU-I, the prophet specifically told him that this was not a calling and that he should pray about it, and make sure that he was making the right decision. Kim never once stated that he was “called” to do this. What he meant was that he got a “phone call” by the prophet.Kim had been wanting to know what Heavenly Father wanted him to do next and asked if he could make it clear to him what he should do. That day he got a call from the prophet, and to him it was an answer to his prayer. A lot of people in the academic world think that this is a foolish move for him, but this is no surprise to those who are close to him. He doesn’t care about position or prestige. He wants to make a difference and go and do what Heavenly Father wants him to do.

  30. As a non-Mormon who has read the Book of Mormon, studied the religion, and after graduating from both Harvard and Harvard Business School I also went to Harvard Divinity School.

    I’m frankly amazed at the narcissisim I see here. None of you seem to realize what a blow this reall is to a minority faith that considers business so unimportant that there are only 16 professors of business at Ricks/BSU, the wearing of shorts or flip-flops is against school rules, and the Internet is filtered to exclude any part of the outside world that suggests violence, sex, “lifestyles” or about a dozen more no-nos. The school says they’d like to think that Mormon undergraduates coud control themselves, but they can’t. There is no tenure, there is no history of scholarship, there is a Drum and Bugle Corps to replace the Boston Symphony, and this is what the Heavenly Father wants?

  31. Not to be garrulous, but your site is very sensitive and I got cut in mid sentence.

    To continue, I have met Dean Clark on a number of occasions. He raised a lot of money by eliminating or downsizing most of the Alumni-oriented institutions to concentrate on the richest alumni, his decision to cut the alumni magazine was opposed by 87% of the alumni. For his first two years he seems to be acting like the Preacher – we did a survey and a majority indicated “More teaching, less preaching” but he couldn’t stop it. Even with Bush slaughtering thousands and the Enron scandals, all Harvard Business School grads, he never said a humble word.

    We thought that it might be because he probably thought homesexuals were sinners and the Harvard chaplain was gay, and the Divinity School has a number of them, so he thought he had to be the moral leader of Harvard. Unfortunately, he also got caught up in the dotcoms and for a couple of years, HBS was acting like Babson, kids dropping out to start fast companies, and he’s still never taken any responsibility for that. President Summers lifted their great Dean and CFO Donella Rapier and Howard Stevenson off the decks last year, and I was sure Kim was in the sights. He’s a nice man, but at Rexburg the athetic director says “I always root for a tie” because it’s brotherly” Root for a tie? This is the Dean of the Business School, and he’s supposed to root for a tie? And was it brotherly of Enron to destroy so many lives?

    One of my classmates, Rod Hawes, is about the nicest man you can meet. Starting out from Idaho, he came with his wife and kids to Harvard Businss School. He worked hard, starting an insurance firm and proceeded to have a large family, run the Connecticut stake, and increased that firm by good hard work and a devout and humble spirit until he sold it for $1.3 billion. Rod is a great man, and a great benefactor to BYU, but he never gave to Harvard until Kim came along. Kim drove down again and again, nd finally Rod became chief donor of Hawes Hall, the state of the art Internet-savvy classroom building. Rod and Beverly spoke eloquently at the dedication, saying fervently that knowledge such as these classes would produce would be shared all over the world “For they are all the Children of our Heavenly Father”

    On the other hand, there’s Kim Clark. He has an entire office, full of staffers. He appeared on Charlie Rose talking about flex time and how he specially did it for his assistant, who had worked for him for years. What about them? Any new Dean will bring their own, and he’s not taking them with him to Idaho. What about all those committments, he doesn’t plan just a few months in advance. What about leaving HBS high and dry without any succession or search? This is the place that promotes strategic planning and what’s this? He’s been waiting all along for a sign from God? This does not sound like the actions of a man with any consideration for his employees, his school, or his colleagues. This business of “dropping out” to head off to a pure simple place of religious clarity where everyone is together, rejecting the immoral ways of business and politics, filtering out the nasty sex and evil gays?

    This is what we did in the 1960’s – just throw it all up and let God lead you to the promised land.

    This is not so great for LDS. It suggests that Sepncer Kimpall is there, the Prophet and the President that the President of Harvard cannot bargain with. Come, Kim, says President Kimball and in one day, the Dean drops everything like a newly baptized convert moving to the Cumorah. Either he was ready to do this for a long time, which calls his entire tenure into doubt as well as the sincerety of any of his pro-business pronouncements, or he’s given to suddenly disappearing, which is going to be what he’ll be chiefly known for since nobody ever did that before. It’s not a capstone, it’s more like a gravestone. Here lies Dean Clark who wanted us to be moral and ethical, but we couldn’t do it, so he’s moved to a place where they force it, or else. Straighten up, Johnson, burn those flip-flops!

    Even worse, what about our Governor Mitt Romney? It was bad enough when people thought that the Pope might tell JFK what to do, if Spencer Kimball can call up the Dean of the Harvard Business School and send him off to Ricks “Plus” at Rexburg, not even BYU, what if he called up Mitt Romney. It looks as if Mitt’s looking for a call from the other President, but pretty soon the voters are going to start asking, is Spencer Kinball going to let us have our Deans and our Governors, or, like Kim, cherry picking the richest grads and ignoring the rest, will President Kimball simply make calls and call the best back to Utah, proving he, and no other person, is the final authority. If not, then any LDS official, like Kim, could well be harboring in his heart the urge to break free and run back West to the bretheren anhd we’ll get three months notice when The Heavenly Father speaks?

    Peace, brother, is all I have to say. It sure made it hard on Harvard, it sure made it hard on Larry Summers, it sure made it hard on Harvard Business School, his loyal staff, and their families, and his colleagues and his reputation and his legacy …

    And I’m just so amazed that not one of you can pull out of the parochialism to see what damage this could cause to everyone’s reputations, and especially the LDS for stepping in a hauling people off to Idaho in mid career. If that’s Kim’s own idea, then maybe Mormons are a little less caring and thoughtful than we had believed after witnessing the kindness and geneosity of Rod Hawes. Kim’s going to his reward, but who takes care of his “family?”

    You have some real saints, it’s a pity that we hear so little about them, and so much about things like this. I have nothing against any religion and I know they all think they’re God’s word, but aside from the theological issues, the social questions to just – dropping -out are profoundly disturbing, if it becomes a trend. Do you think this makes LDS look better, or worse, or does anyone care?

    Good luck with our Dean, he worked hard among the sinners and now he’s headed for the saints I guess.


    Laurence McKinney

    PS: Kim wouldn’t let us have reunion wine labels any more. Maybe the custom will return.

  32. His actual quote was: “”If the president of my church had not called me on the 25th of May, we would not be here,” Clark told reporters yesterday.” What this meant was that it was not planned, it was a surprise, but he promised HBS ten years when he became Dean and a succession plan has been in place internally at HBS as the completion of the ten years was coming closer. He also said a lot about Enron. The comments about his stand on gays is outright religious bigotry.

  33. Laurence, your claim “I have nothing against any religion” is belied by your comments. Further, your heaping blame on the HBS Dean for Iraq, Enron, and students leaving to run dot.coms is either extremely naive or cunningly dishonest. Additioanlly, your criticism of his move and its impact on his “staff” is completely without insight or knowledge. You have no idea how he’s been to them, or what he’s told folks about his plans concerning his job. You should know that on campus, his ten year pledge was well known and the question about when he was leaving was not unique. The “surprise” was where he was going, but not that he would be leaving HBS. I’m not sure where this venom comes from. You claim to have met him many times, I can’t fathom your hatred comes from those encounters. Perhaps it’s simply intolerance? I’m not sure, but your comments about ‘Bush slaughtering thousands’ reveals a certain frame of mind. I submit that your view of the world is a slightly left leaning one and that you see religious people in a tainted light. Your view that this somehow hurts the Church or that it’s “profoundly disturbing” is so bizarre. I mean think about it – he gets a call near the end of the time period he committed to and is offered a job – oh my goodness! I think that in your case, “disturbing” means “religious” – face the facts – you DO have something against LDS people and, I would imagine, all religious people. As far as your comments about Mitt Romney – keep it up, religious bigotry is a beautiful thing. Shame on you. Really, you should be ashamed of yourself. I know you think you’re funny and all that, but what you wrote is what is “disturbing”

  34. Laurence McKinney (32): “Pretty soon the voters are going to start asking, is Spencer Kinball going to let us have our Deans and our Governors, or, like Kim, cherry picking the richest grads and ignoring the rest, will President Kimball simply make calls and call the best back to Utah, proving he, and no other person, is the final authority.”

    Laurence M., are you implying that the Mormon prophet is the “final authority” on matters that are none of the prophet’s business? Are you arguing for the supremacy of private concience? Please elucidate.

    What makes you think a call from the Mormon prophet means Clark or any other Mormon must move at the prophet’s whim?

  35. Anonymous, if you’re going to skirt the thin edge of our comment policies by speculating about Mr. McKinney’s “frame of mind” and denouncing his “religious bigotry,” you should at least be bold enough to sign your name to your comments.

  36. I apologize to Mr. McKinney. It was unfair of me to make assumptions about him, I was only meaning to critique his comments. It was a hasty post.

  37. Anonymous had some very fair criticisms–I don’t see how one could interpret Mr. McKinney’s post in any way other than Anonymous has done–but those criticisms are not kind and should not have been made anonymously. Thanks for the apology, Anonymous.

  38. As one having attended BYU and HBS (under Kim’s tenure) and being somewhat friendly with Kim Clark, I have a few thoughts:

    1) People on this thread have assumed that General Authorities, and even the President himself, carefully consider one’s circumstances before issuing a calling or high-profile church job offer. This is not always the case. My father was in a high profile career position–one that gave the church positive exposure–when he was called to be a mission president. The apostle extending the call had never considered this or some of our family’s other extenuating circumstances. People wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt assume Hinckley carefully considered Kim’s standing in the HBS and Boston community before placing the phone call, but we really DON’T KNOW. I’ve personally experienced the opposite. What I have found, though, is that some General Authorities are open to learning about special circumstances and will on occasion retract a call or job offer accordingly. It doesn’t sound like Kim pushed back because he either wanted to do this, felt like he couldn’t question or say no to the prophet, felt as though it was a calling, or some combination. By the way, his ten year plan was NEVER communicated to the HBS community during my time, and I recently graduated.

    2) There’s no question that Kim was much more valuable to the church being the dean HBS than accepting a position at BYU-I. Kim has impeccable academic credentials and has been a monster fund-raiser for HBS. Contrary to Laurence’s comments, he has taken stands on questionable ethics. For example, last year he threw out the applications of those caught hacking into the HBS database where admission decisions had been stored. He took a stand–like it or not–against what he believed was unethical behavior. He even recently introduced a class, now part of the required coursework, that looks studies corporate governence (using Enron as the case study) so students better learn what is ethical vs. unethical behavior in the workplace. To many HBS graduates, Kim is the only face of the church they’ll ever know (a few will have had courses from Christensen, Wheelwright, or Bowen, or DeLong). He was a wonderful example and leader and most of my classmates loved him. Many of my friends at HBS look much more favorably upon the church because of Kim’s talents, leadership, and stellar example. Of course, Kim will do a wonderful job at BYU-I; however, there are dozens of church members that could have run BYU-I just fine. Since BYU-I’s president will always be constrained by the board of trustees, Kim won’t be able to truly shake things up and build a reputation for BYU-I. As long as the president is constrained in such a way, I believe there are many others who would run the university just fine. On the other hand, Kim is uniquely qualified to run HBS in a way that probably no other Mormon is or ever will be. You can bet that Larry Summers won’t approve another Mormon as he too could bolt for Utah at the drop of a hat. BYU-I don’t need a powerhouse like Kim Clark. A well-regarded religion professor or BYU-I professor would do just fine. They need somebody who has a testimony and a commitment to education. Kim’s credentials go far beyond such credentials yet will never be tapped. Meanwhile, HBS graduates hailing from around the world some of whom will become CEOs of Fortune 50 companies will never again have the exposure to Mormonism as they did with Kim at the helm. One can argue all day long about whether it was a calling vs. job offer and following the prophet, etc, etc, but in reality, the church is wasting a huge amount of talent and sacrificing exposure in an influencial sphere.

  39. The 10 year commitment was made to President Rudenstein and was known by those working at HBS and Harvard Admin – and he made public comments about 10 years being a good time for a Dean…in fact afor the last 2 years at the “state of the School” addresses to HBS staff all of the questions from staff were about what he was going to do next, if he was really leaving, etc. – he didn’t give a firm answer, because he didn’t know, but people were aware of it.

  40. I suppose Bro. Clark’s decision to move couldn’t be in response to a personal confirmation after a lot of soul-searching prayer and meditation, could it?

    If he’s as smart as everyone says he is, and as devoted as I’ve seen him to be, would Kim Clark overlook that all important step of obtaining a personal confirmation to go to Idaho, simply because he was asked by the Prophet? I think not.

    In the end, I believe Bro. Clark is going where the Lord needs him, and who are we to know the reasons, or to doubt his choice?

  41. I know my response is only hitting around the edges, but I think they expose the chinks.

    Laurence brought up a quote from the AD at ricks regarding rooting for a tie. This caught my attention as my wife’s grandpa was a long time coach and AD at ricks. My understanding was he was “the coach” for everything, then basketball only and then the ad, retiring in the early 80s. Until he died last year he still had a reserved parking space and a key to the gym. The change from Ricks to BYU-I brought about the retirement of the Ricks competitve athletic program (much to the dismay of my rexburg residents). It is pretty much an intramural program only now, thus it isn’t such a meek wish to root for a tie when the two teams are both Vikings.

    Laurence said
    “There is no tenure, there is no history of scholarship, there is a Drum and Bugle Corps to replace the Boston Symphony,”
    While I mostly agree with what you state, i don’t agree with the purpose for which you use this statement. K Clark is being brought in to help establish the scholarship to bring the school up to the tradition of a four year school. Instead of installing a caretaker dean, the Brethren are looking to raise the capacity of the school. Instead of viewing Clark’s time in Idaho as a waste of his potential, it might be helpful to focus on what he can give to the students of BYU I and the community.
    Also, the statement reflects the inability of elites to see value in other places. INstead of Harvard or Bust, it would be nice to recognize the education that Ricks/BYUI has instilled in its students and the contributions those students have made to society, that would not have otherwise occured without its existence.

    Also, Did I miss how president Kimball, the prophet I love best of all, figured into the argument?

    Also , the dress code argument. It has always bothered me when people equate dress code with a restriction of freedom of speech. That aside, it is really cold in Rexburg during the school year. I can’t imagine being very put out that you can’t wear shorts and flipflops, but I am sure there are some.

  42. I’d like to see Kim’s public quote that 10 years was a good time for a dean. Please foward me the URL so I can read for myself.

    And, observer, while you’re on your sanctimonious soapbox, at least have the guts to divulge your name. The whole purpose for this discussion room is exploring the reasons why Kim was asked to take the job/calling, why he accepted, if it makes sense for the church, and if GAs truly consider ones personal circumstances before offering a job/issuing a calling.

    Since discussion and speculation is obviously something that you can handle, may I suggest the Ensign blog for your further edification?

  43. A few thoughts from a first-timer:

    1) I’m surprised at the number of LDS who worry that Dean Clark’s move to Rexburg will stifle his influence for good in the “missionary field.” Will he really lose his ability to influence the world?

    Consider the influence of President Bednar. Thousands of LDS youth–future leaders of the Church, future businesspeople, and future leaders of the world–will forever remember the example of President Bednar. As president of BYU-I, he has personally affected their lives. They will carry his teachings and his influence around the world in a manner he never could have done by himself.

    To be sure, Brother Clark was already influencing the youth at HBS. However, how many of them left that liberal school as his staunch supporters and disciples? As President of BYU-I, Brother Clark will have thousands of young people looking up to him, and many of them will carry his influence to the world.

    Additionally, I believe President Clark will be just as respected in the business world and educational world as president of BYU-Idaho as he was before moving to Rexburg. The Church is not demoting a man of influence. Rather, the Church is moving him to a position where he will strengthen thousands of youth and bring BYU-I (and the Church) further out of obscurity.

    2) I read on cnn.com that Brother Clark’s current salary is $407,000, and that “BYU-Idaho officials won’t say how much he’ll earn in Rexburg.” I also followed another thread on this site where some thought Church positions were extremely underpaid. I will just point out that according to one city comparison, Brother Clark only has to make $261,514 in Rexburg to live just as comfortably as he has been living in Cambridge. He could take a $140,000 pay cut for his new “calling” (which, I believe, is a misnomer) and still be getting a standard-of-living boost.

    3) I apologize for the ad hominem (logical fallacy) which follows, but I just have to attack the writing style of Mr. Laurence McKinney, who claims to be a Harvard graduate–more than once. I couldn’t even follow what he wrote. How can you expect a solid debate when you don’t even express yourself coherently?

    Thank goodness, I didn’t go to Harvard. I thought about it, but I am certainly glad I wasn’t trained to write like Mr. McKinney.

    (To others of you who went to or go to Harvard, this is not meant as an insult to you or your school, which I admire. It’s directed at Mr. McKinney only.)

  44. Steve,

    I don’t think anyone is saying that Kim Clark won’t have a positive influence on the students at BYU-I. However I doubt that he would call them his “disciples” nor do I think that he expects anyone to carry his “teachings” to the world. This is very strange language to use when discussing the president of a college.

    Furthermore, I don’t think the discussion is about whether he will do more good at BYU-I. The issue that concerns some is that while the are many LDS who could be president of BYU-I, there are not going to be many in the position of dean of HBS. That said, I don’t have any doubts that he was the best candidate for the BYU-I job.

    As for whether the wider world will respect his position at BYU-I as much as it respected his position at HBS, that is an interesting question. I would guess that he will bring respect to the position rather than gain respect from it. In any case most in the business and academic community when considering the position alone and not the man, would consider president of BYU-Provo a step down from dean of HBS, to say nothing of BYU-I.

    I doubt that pay has anything to do with this decision. Also, despite all our blabbing here about what would be best for whom and which position is most prestigious, I think that Kim Clark is in the best position to determine what the right move for him was and it is obvious what his decision was.

  45. John said:

    I doubt that he would call them his “disciples” nor do I think that he expects anyone to carry his “teachings” to the world. This is very strange language to use when discussing the president of a college.

    You will admit that BYU-I is a “very strange” college to be president of. Where else does the student body meet with the president weekly in a devotional, listen to him speak twice a year, and gather in his home for family home evening once in a while? Where else is the college president identified as a spiritual leader and Church authority as well as a secular/educational leader? Often, the college president teaches religious or other courses himself.

    The BYU-I president is historically a teacher, a mentor, and a religious leader, with students that really do look up to his words as “teachings” and follow them as “disciples.” Whatever good he might have accomplished in future years as the dean of the Harvard Business School will be magnified by those who interact with him and look up to him at BYU-I. Perhaps one of his new students will follow his example and eventually replace him at HBS. We can’t know.

  46. The quote about 10 years was past “state of the School” addresses in front of the staff at HBS also addressing the “Dean for Life” quote from Summers, his quote in the meeting was “somewhere between now and the end of my life, I will step down” but he did say that he had thought that 10 years was about right, but that Larry’s support meant a lot – I don’t know if that is online anywhere – but it is referenced in his departure announcement:
    and on the Charlie Rose show as well –

    Looking back, when I wrote that it was well known on campus, I should have specified that I meant within the staff…

  47. Re #40 — You’re assuming, of course, that NO ONE in Church headquarters knew anything about Clark’s situation/wanderlust/10-year-plan. Somehow, I find that hard to believe; I personally believe that there is a lot of due diligence that goes into these calls. Consider all the paperwork a stake presidency has to do before they call a bishop — you think that they don’t do any research before they call a university president or a mission president?

    My father-in-law recently returned as a mission president, and he gave up his entire law practice (it was just him). He was given time to get his affairs in order, and that took some time. I know a guy at Bain who had to have his call rescinded and then extended a second time (a year later) because Bain wouldn’t let him go in time (but these tend to be exceptions to the rule). There are mission presidents with handicapped children who willingly make the sacrifice to serve. There are very few extenuating circumstances that can’t be overcome, even if a couple of private details escape the gaze of an apostle.

    Having someone like Clark — an East-Coast guy — at the helm of one of the Church’s educational jewels is EXACTLY the kind of person they need at BYU-Idaho. BYU-Provo has had a record recently of hiring top people to lead it (all successful deans). Why should BYU-Idaho be any different? At some point, if you’re going to make it a real university, you need to go out and hire the biggest free agent you can find, and from all of Clark’s apparent comments, he considered himself a free agent looking for a new opportunity (short of taking over Harvard’s presidency, the Harvard “faithful” would have excoriated him for going anywhere else; what if he’d gone to Yale?).

  48. The 10 year quote in the URL never specifies that Kim shared this openly in public forums. Much of the alumni community was shocked by his departure announcement. Kim got a call from Hinckley to take the job/calling. We don’t have any evidence whatsoever suggesting Kim was a “free agent” and would have entertained any non-church-related job. He wasn’t looking to go anywhere else. Why would he? He had one of the most presitgious jobs in all of academia.

    There’s no doubt he’s the best qualified candidate the church could have found, but I still believe the church’s reputation and scope of influence would have been much better served by having him remain at the helm of HBS.

    To address a few of Steve’s points. Many, many graduating students looked up to Kim Clark. Sure, many BYU-I students will admire him, but it’s hard to argue that–on the whole–BYU-I students will have the same kind of influence in business as HBS students. And by the way, I would not consider HBS liberal. Don’t confuse Harvard professional programs with that of the college. They’re two entirely different animals.

    Also, we are not “disciples” of Bednar or Clark. We are (or are trying to be) disciples of Jesus. We seek to share the message of Jesus with the world, not the message of Bednar. To the extent Bednar or Clark exemplified some of the Savior’s teachings, this will be beneficial to students attending under their tenure.

    To queuno’s point: there are plenty of times when full due diligence is sadly lacking in calls like bishops and mission presidents. I know from personal experience.. I don’t know how much thought was given before the call was placed to Kim. Was it discussed among the twelve and to what extent? Did they discuss they same kinds of questions we are in this forum? One hopes they did, but I’ve certainly experienced the contrary on many different occasions.

    Finally, Kim Clark will never elicit the same level of respect from the business or academic world while at BYU-I vs. when he was at HBS. Not even close. The alumni community can’t understand why anyone would make such a decision. The job has nowhere near the same level of prestige academically and the business world simply doesn’t consider BYU-I a place that spawns talented business people. This is not to say that there haven’t been or won’t be successful business people coming from BYU-I, but on the whole, BYU-I isn’t even on the educational or business map. This is reality.

    In the end, though, I agree with John that this was Kim’s decision to make, and I’ll always admire him as a person, professor, and leader. I think the church made a huge mistake extending the job offer/calling, but it’s all water under the bridge now.

  49. What makes you think that Kim Clark gives a rats’ patootie about the “respect” from the business or academic world? I figure that in 10 years as the HBS dean, he *had* to have had other feelers to take over a university somewhere. He turned them down, obviously. He accepted this one. It seems quite apparent that *he* doesn’t care.

    As to due diligence, we’ll never know what went into it. But, who cares? The prophet knew who he wanted. Debate and hypothesis aside, isn’t that *really* enough? Clark decided to accept it. Isn’t *that* enough? Do you really think that Clark sat there and thought, “Gee, I’m going to sacrifice my position in the business and academic word to go take this?” [Even if he did, again, he obviously doesn’t care THAT much about it.] He obviously isn’t sweating what the Harvard alumni think about it.

    It wouldn’t surprise me that the alumni might not have known about his wanderlust. Since when do deans and academic chairs share their most intimate, internal career debates with students or alumni? It’s not a perfect metaphor, but it’s similar to the college football coach discussing his jump to the pros with the recruit or the alum during recruiting or fundraising (it doesn’t happen).

    I honestly don’t think, though, that President Hinckley OR the Twelve care too much about whether they (or any other member) has influence over HBS. They care about BYU(s). They care about mission presidencies and stake presidencies and the like. They don’t care about how they are “perceived”.

    On a related note, I noticed that 2-3 of the Deans at BYU have been called to be mission presidents. Now, I don’t know much about Croatia, but I suspect that the (now former) Dean of the College of Engineering at BYU probably had more clout amongst the engineering industry and academia than he will ever have in Croatia. But should the Brethren care?

    I can’t remember the exact citation, but President Kimball said a long time ago that the time was past for the Church to be worried about making friends, that it was time to advance the aims of the Church (I’m paraphrasing). It just seems so obvious that Clark’s call is an example of this — picking the best man to advance the aims of the Church.

    [Not to Harvard bash or anything, but it seems like the only people who are really gnashing their teeth over this are Harvard alumni and a few other East Coasters. Sorry, but I missed the revelation where Boston was the center of the Church.]

  50. Queuno:

    I never said Kim Clark cares about any of this. He obviously made the decision he felt was right for him. For him to make the jump to BYU-I, the church is clearly more important to him than what the world or the alumni community thinks.

    Who cares about due diligence? I like to think that the brethren consider all potential ramifications before issuing a major call/job offer like this. Unfortunately, they don’t in all cases and the results can be disastrous. It’s a very important part of the revelation process, which in my mind makes it essential.

    I totally disagree with your point that the brethren don’t care about outside perception. Why does President Hinckley continue to frequent the Larry King Live show? What about the church redesigning its logo to accentuate the “Jesus Christ” font? I had an uncle called to be mission president but was in an elected position where had he left the church would have been seen very negatively. The brethren reversed the call and re-extended it the following year. The examples go on….but my point is that of course they care what others (outside the church) think. I hope they factored this into their decision to remove Kim from HBS.

    Your comparison of BYU deans to Kim Clark doesn’t work on a number of fronts. For starters, the BYU Alumni community has no issue with them leaving (unlike the HBS alumni community). Also, the BYU engineering dean does not have nearly the academic clout that the dean of HBS has. Pure and Simple. I went to BYU undergrad and I majored in engineering so I should know. Finally, does Provo (and all the students that come to BYU) really benefit more from one Mormon Dean vs. another (very unlikely to ever be non-mormon)? Probably not. Does the church in Boston and the East Coast benefit more from having Kim as HBS dean vs. no Mormon as Dean? Definitely.

    If your parting snide comment was supposed to be funny…ummm…try again. Nobody is saying or acting like Boston is the center of the church. Obviously, people who live near Boston or on the East Coast will miss his influence and question whether the church would have been better served in his current position. I know of plenty of “west-coasters” that feel the same way I do. Questioning these things is normal. You don’t seem to care that much, so maybe you should go join a blog that doesn’t allow discussion interspersed with speculation.

    We all understand that it’s his–and only his–decision to make, and we respect that. Some may disagree with the whole process/decision, but I respect his right to do what he feels is best.

  51. I’ve read through all of the comments, and I feel that I need to clarify some things here. It appears that those who are familiar with Boston, HBS and the Church are a bit disappointed with Kim’s departure, whereas those who are less familiar with Boston and HBS are making fairly general statements based on their experiences and/or gestimates. I currently live in Boston, I go to church in the same stake with Kim and other members, I was in the same Stake Council with Kim (he got released last month), I graduated from Harvard College, AND I graduated from HBS. So, with all due respect to HBS graduates who are living thousand miles away from Boston and to those who’ve never lived in Boston or attended HBS, I feel that I can explain views from Boston with some authority.

    1. Truth about Kim’s departure

    I can tell all of you with high level of certainty that Kim’s departure was a surprise to everyone, including the Clarks. Some speculations (‘queuno’ for example) have surfaced that Kim was “shopping” for other jobs, but I don’t think ‘queuno’ knows what s/he is talking about. Some of you may consider the following view as Harvard pride or Harvard arrogance, but the reality of it is that there really is not too many academic administrative jobs that could be more prestigious than the Deanship of HBS. Maybe Harvard Presidency would be the only job that could top the HBS Deanship. HBS is the second richest institution behind Harvard GSAS within Harvard community, and it has one of the biggest influences within the community. Kim Clark has been not only the head of Harvard Business School for the last ten years, but he also has represented the Church to young business leaders of the world. HBS does have the best international student body, and School’s influence reaches far beyond the borders of the US. So the question in Boston has been, “why is Kim leaving all of that?” Well, Kim’s answer to people here has been, “I’ve been called by the Prophet!” So that’s why he’s leaving! He didn’t lobby for the job, he didn’t consider BYU-I, and he certainly didn’t plan to move out of Boston or retire from the Deanship. He has mentioned both in public and private settings that 10 year tenure may have been enough, but that’s his opinion based on his decision to leave for BYU-I. He’s repeatedly indicated that he would have never have considered leaving Boston or Harvard had President Hinckley not called him (in fact, in his last testimony in front of the Stake Council, he became emotional as talked about leaving Boston he and his family loves so much). Those of you who are not familiar with HBS, there are at least 4-5 LDS professors at HBS. All of them are very close, not only as spiritual brothers but also as professional colleagues. They all got the same story from Kim, “I wouldn’t leave Boston, but I can’t turn down a call from the Prophet.”

    2. How should we evaluate Kim’s departure?

    God’s plan is often beyond comprehension of mortal men, so it is hard to say whether Kim’s departure over long run will matter so much. It’s tough to compare the long term value that he will create at BYU-I and the missed opportunity here at HBS due to his departure. Short-term, however, it does dampen the influence of the Church worldwide. That’s something that people such as ‘queuno’ doesn’t understand or realize. S/he doesn’t see the big picture and how much positive influence has had in the business world, worldwide!!! I wish those who wonder why we current Bostonians and former Bostonians (particularly HBS students) are saddened to see Kim leave, have had opportunities to attend some of the HBS graduations and Cambridge Stake High Council meetings where he would share missionary stories.

    Over the last 10 years, Kim Clark stood in front of 9,000 future business leaders and their families and taught Gospel principles!!! And when he talks about importance of family, families cheer! He taught the truth. He was an example to many students who would be future CEOs, Presidents, magistrates, rulers, kings and other powerful figures who will influence many millions (all of them have gone through HBS believe it or not). During High Council meetings each month, Kim would share missionary stories in which he would relate remarkable stories of him sharing the Gospel with foreign dignitaries, business and political leaders, and alumni across the world. Kim Clark shared the Gospel with NO FEAR!!! That’s the influence that we will miss. It’s not just his deanship and the fact that he is an LDS, but he was interacting in the midst of leaders, showing them how a leader should behave, what principles a leader should espouse (Christ’s) and while doing all that represented the church and INVITE people to church.

    There are many who consider that his value will not diminish by him being at BYU-I. I agree somewhat, but that’s more of a long term view. Near-term, his presence will be sorely missed. Over the past two decades, the growth truly took the church to the next level in the worldwide stage. The Church of Jesus Christ of LDS is now a worldly recognized church. We have politicians, business leaders and other high profile members who represent the church to the rest of the world and help the work to move forward. Kim Clark was an integral part of that group. Now, his influence will be more limited and the impact beyond the walls of the Church may not be felt for sometime (as those who are influenced by him today will take 10-20 years to become more integral part of this society).

    So, if you actually believe that the Church is not taking a short-term hit by not having him here in Boston, you must be breaking the Word of Wisdom by smoking some kind of crack. I wish that he stayed on for another 10 years here at HBS, leaving indelible mark and legacy here. That’s 20 years of business leaders who will talk about Kim Clark for the next 100 years. That’s what the Church really needs. We need people to see exemplary members so they could yearn to know what the Gospel is all about.

    ‘Queuno’ seems to be especially vocal, so I will respond some more to his completely ridiculous claims. President Hinckley and the Twelve SHOULD care about people outside of BYU(s), because they are after all the Prophets for everyone, the entire WORLD, not just for the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS!!! When you are called to be a bishop or a stake president, you are called to be the bishop of your entire ward boundary and the stake president of your entire stake boundary. President Hinckley is the prophet, seer and revelator for the ENTIRE world, BEFORE he is the president of the church. So, he and the twelve should definitely care and consider the impact of people worldwide in making decisions. BYU is just a small church run school!!! From that global perspective, I am saddened that a true, righteous leader has been taken away to tend to smaller responsibilities.

    3. Was it a mistake?

    As I said earlier, long-term it wouldn’t matter as much. Not having Kim at the helm of one of the most influenential academic institutions of the world could slow the work 10-20 years. But 10-20 years is not that big relative to eternity. So, I am not sure if we can label it a mistake and close the book. Who knows. One of Rick’s grads will catch the vision while running around Rexburg, and he will become as influential as Kim. You never know these things.

    But this question brings up another interesting question regarding revelation and whether this particular “invitation” from President Hinckley was a calling in a true sense. Like I said before, President Hinckley is the Prophet for the mankind, and not just for the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS. Father in Heaven is not a respector of persons. From that perspective, it seems a bit odd for our Father in Heaven to pluck somone who’s not only setting examples of gospel living to non-members but also actually inviting, teaching and baptizing them (all true, factual stories), and put him in the middle of a small town where more than 95% of people living within 50 mile radius are all baptized members.

    But, maybe that’s what the church needs!!! Young people living along the Wasach Front are facing similar moral challenges that other young people are facing elsewhere. I am sure Rexburg is not that different. I respect President Hinckley’s decision to call up Kim Clark to “offer” the job, and I respect Kim accepting the job. I consider actions of both men to be of great faith, and I hope that the power of faith will bring even greater good at the end. But, short-term, even as Christ asked the cup to be removed (not that I want to make such analogy but…), I wish the decison were made differently. I wish that President Hinckley didn’t give Bro Clark a call, and Kim is still the Dean of HBS today.

    Another question that has been raised is whether the due diligence has been complete. No man is perfect. People make mistakes. I am sure more thorough studies could have been conducted and better data points and more opinions were gathered before making the decision. But, the truth of the matter is that leaders make decisions based on an incomplete set of data (Kim Clark taught me this). President Hinckley gathered the data, studied them out in his mind, asked God, and he felt good about it and made the decision. As long as such process took place, I respect his decision, even if my perception is different.

    4. Conclusion

    I will miss Kim dearly. Initially, I was so disappointed with the news that I considered writing a letter to President Hinckley. But, after I slept on it for a few weeks, I developed a new perspective. Maybe this seemingly shocking news for many of us is a call to wake up. Maybe we out here in Boston were getting too comfortable. Maybe it’s time for us to build a new group of future leaders in Boston area. But, I will miss Kim dearly, and I wish that he never left.

    5. Why is Boston the Hub of Mormon leaders

    Without saying too much, let me just list just the First Presidency and the Twelve who went through Boston or have their children gone through Boston (that’s important because places where your children live are places where your mind often is)

    President Hinckley – Both of his sons are graduates of HBS. His grandkids have been out here working and attending school

    President Packer – Former Mission President of Mass Boston Mission
    L. Tom Perry – Form Stake President of Boston Stake
    Russell M. Nelson – Research fellow at Mass General Hospital, Boston, MA
    Robert D. Hales – HBS MBA
    Jeffrey R. Holland – Yale PhD. His son Matt spent three years in Boston working for Monitor Consulting
    Henry B. Eyring – HBS MBA; HBS DBA

    7 out of 15 members of the Twelve have very close relationship with Boston/New England. That’s close to 50%. I say that’s pretty close to being the 2nd Hub, eh? Let’s not get into Seventy’s level. Every year, I run into sons and daughters of GA’s coming to many schools here in Boston. I say over 30% of current Seventies have direct ties (their own tenure here or their children being here) to Boston!!!

  52. It seems that one of the main things to be considered is how this may impact BYUI and its prestige. BYUI has a great chance to go to a much higher level – the new president will play a big role in that. That seems to be the main issue here. HBS is already HBS – BYUI has the vision to rise to a higher level.

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