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Cecil O. Samuelson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cecil O. Samuelson Jr.
Samuelson leading the April 2008 commencement exercises at BYU
First Quorum of the Seventy
October 1, 1994 (1994-10-01) – October 1, 2011 (2011-10-01)
End reasonGranted general authority emeritus status
Presidency of the Seventy
August 15, 2001 (2001-08-15) – April 5, 2003 (2003-04-05)
End reasonHonorably released to become president of BYU
Emeritus General Authority
October 1, 2011 (2011-10-01)
12th President of Brigham Young University
In office
May 1, 2003 – May 1, 2014
PredecessorMerrill J. Bateman
SuccessorKevin J Worthen
Personal details
Born (1941-08-01) August 1, 1941 (age 79)
Salt Lake City, Utah
Alma materUniversity of Utah (B.S., M.Ed., M.D.)
Spouse(s)Sharon Giauque Samuelson

Cecil Osborn Samuelson Jr. (born Aug 1, 1941) was the 12th president of Brigham Young University (BYU) and is an emeritus general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Prior to holding these positions, Samuelson had worked as a professor of medicine and later dean of the school of medicine at the University of Utah, and senior vice president of Intermountain Health Care (IHC).[1][2] While he was president at BYU, Samuelson pushed professors and students to raise their expectations and encouraged mentored learning. During his presidency, student enrollment limits stayed constant, new sports coaches were hired, new buildings were built, and a hiring freeze during the Great Recession reduced faculty.


Samuelson holds a bachelor's degree, a master's degree in educational psychology, and an M.D. from the University of Utah. He completed his residency at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.[1] He is a Brother of Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity.[3]

Samuelson worked at the University of Utah in 1973 as assistant dean of admissions and at the medical school as a faculty member. In 1977 he became acting dean of the University of Utah medical school, and in 1985 was promoted to dean of the medical school. In 1988 he became vice president over health services at the University of Utah, where he gained a reputation as a sensitive negotiator.[4] In 1990, IHC appointed Samuelson as senior vice president and then IHC Hospital president.[4]

BYU President

At the beginning of Samuelson's tenure as president of BYU, he invited students and faculty to "raise the bar" in their learning and teaching and in their expectations of student behavior.[5] During his time as president, the College of Health and Human Performance was dissolved into existing colleges. The university replaced old student dorms with New Heritage Housing, and built the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center (2007), BYU Broadcasting Building (2011), and Life Sciences Building (2014).[6] During the 2008 recession, along with the LDS Church which owns and operates the university, BYU instituted a hiring freeze for almost two years, and 70-80 faculty retired or left.[7][8] Enrollment limits stayed consistent, and Samuelson pushed for more mentored learning experiences, where professors work together with students on research.[7]

In 2005, the university hired Bronco Mendenhall to coach the football team, Tom Holmoe to direct the athletic department, and Dave Rose to coach the basketball team. In 2011, BYU football signed an 8-year contract with ESPN.[6] In 2004, students started cheering "Woosh, Cecil" after successful BYU basketball free throws, in an effort to elicit a response from Samuelson, who often attended games. Samuelson acknowledged the cheer with a thumbs-up in 2009, and continued to give a thumbs-up to subsequent free throw cheers. The tradition inspired the BYU Creamery to name an ice cream flavor "Whoosh, Cecil".[9][7] In 2006, students created "Cecil is my homeboy" t-shirts, which became part of student culture.[10]

Samuelson gave a talk in September 2007 to BYU students, quoting statements by J. Reuben Clark that the Constitution of the United States was not "a fully grown document", and that "we believe it must grow and develop to meet the changing needs of an advancing world." He also stated, in agreement with the doctrine of LDS Church, that the Constitution is a divinely inspired document.[11][12]

On March 11, 2014, it was announced that Samuelson would be succeeded by Kevin J Worthen as the president of BYU, effective May 1, 2014.[13] In November 2014, he began service as president of the church's Salt Lake Temple.[14]

Other LDS Church callings

Samuelson served in the church as a full-time missionary in Scotland as a young adult and has continued church service in his adulthood.[1] From 1977 to 1982 he served as president of a stake on the campus of the University of Utah.[1] He was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy in 1994, and while a general authority he served as an area president, in the Presidency of the Seventy, and as general president of the church's Sunday School organization.[15]

While serving in the presidency of the North America West Area, Samuelson was a signatory to a May 11, 1999 letter to all adult congregants in California which encouraged members to donate time and money to pass Proposition 22.[16][17]


  1. ^ a b c d "News of the Church: Elder Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr. Of the Seventy". Ensign. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 103–112. November 1994. Retrieved May 4, 2009.
  2. ^ BYU - Cecil O. Samuelson Archived July 15, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Utonian Yearbook. University of Utah. 1964. pp. 360 & 361. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Bergin, M. Sue; McClellen, Jeffrey S. (2003). "Fit for Office". BYU Magazine. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  5. ^ Samuelson, Cecil O. "A Few Questions and Answers from a BYU President - BYU Speeches". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  6. ^ a b Lane, Rebecca (11 March 2014). "BYU President Samuelson leaves unique legacy in his wake". UtahValley360. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  7. ^ a b c Walch, Tad (1 May 2014). "Samuelson departs after proving he fit at BYU after all". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  8. ^ Askar, Jamshid Ghazi (10 December 2010). "BYU ends hiring freeze, will fill jobs gradually". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  9. ^ Lee, Sugene (2 April 2013). "BYU basketball cheer becomes tradition – The Daily Universe". The Daily Universe. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  10. ^ Walch, Tad (30 December 2006). "Sober? BYU is full of drollery". Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  11. ^ Samuelson, Cecil O. "Year of the Constitution". BYU Speeches. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  12. ^ BYU News - Release Archived January 15, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "New BYU president named in devotional" Archived October 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, KSL March 11, 2014.
  14. ^ New temple presidents Archived October 22, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Deseret News, 14 June 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2014.
  15. ^ Cecil O. Samuelson, Jr., General Authority Archived August 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ AP (5 July 1999). "LDS urged to back a ban on gay marriage". Deseret News.
  17. ^ "Proposition 22 Dominates California Wards' Attention, Divides Members" (PDF). Sunstone. Sunstone Education Foundation. April 2001. pp. 86–92. Retrieved 2017-03-08.

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Merrill J. Bateman
President of Brigham Young University
2003 – 2014
Succeeded by
Kevin J Worthen
This page was last edited on 1 January 2021, at 08:47
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