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7-foot centennial statue unveiled at Ricks College homecoming game

Ricks College unveiled a "Centennial Statue" here Sept. 24 to represent 100 years of accomplishment as a Church-sponsored educational institution.

Ricks Pres. Joe J. Christensen and three of the college's past presidents - including Bishop Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the Presiding Bishopric - performed the unveiling during halftime of Ricks' homecoming football game. The other two former presidents taking part were Bruce C. Hafen, dean of the BYU Law School, and John L. Clarke, a retired educator living in Rexburg.The seven-foot sculpture, paid for by a private donor, has been placed in a garden area between the administration building and Manwaring Center on the campus.

Ricks College commissioned Edward J. Fraughton of South Jordan, Utah, to create a statue representing what the school has accomplished during its century of existence. Fraughton crafted a sculpture of a young man and woman sitting back-to-back while studying.

The unveiling was the highlight of a week-long centennial homecoming celebration.

Ricks opened its doors in 1888 as one of many LDS academies throughout the Church, founded to provide religious and secular education to LDS youths. As public school systems expanded and improved in the early 1900s, most of the academies were dissolved or became public schools, but Ricks, BYU and the Juarez Academy in Colonia Juarez, Mexico, have continued as Church-sponsored institutions.

Last April, Ricks began its 100th anniversary celebration with its Centennial Choir singing at April Conference, and will wind up the year's activities next April at the college's spring commencement. Homecoming day festivities marked the half-way point in the year's commemoration.

Homecoming week events started Tuesday, Sept. 20, with a devotional address by Elder Robert L. Backman of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Later in the week, the college held a homecoming queen pageant, concert, pep rally, centennial and homecoming dances, homecoming parade and a football game.

In the homecoming football game, Ricks defeated Snow College of Ephraim, Utah, 51-29. Interestingly, Snow, too, had once been a Church-sponsored academy.

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