Shaping BYU: The Presidential Administration and Legacy of Benjamin Cluff Jr.

Benjamin Cluff Jr. has been called BYU’s third president, but in reality he was the first president of Brigham Young University; his two predecessors presided over Brigham Young Academy, a secondary school that became a degree-conferring university under Cluff’s leadership. Cluff raised BYU’s academic standards by attending eastern schools and encouraging faculty to do the same. He was not opposed to hiring credentialed non-LDS faculty, and he aimed to garner more respect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by educating students and future missionaries. To the same end, he led an expedition to Latin America in hopes of finding archaeological evidence supporting the Book of Mormon. Sadly, Cluff’s significant impact on BYU has been largely overlooked, in part due to the controversy surrounding the end of his presidency.

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