C. Shane Reese named 14th president of BYU - Y Magazine
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A Worthen Successor

President and Peggy Worthen look on as Shane Reese addresses an audience in the Marriott Center.
Shane Reese, above, speaks at the devotional that announced his appointment as BYU’s next president. He will succeed Kevin J. Worthen (center), his longtime mentor and friend. Photo by Nate Edwards.

“This will be a devotional with a twist,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland (BS ’65, MA ’66) announced to a packed Marriott Center on March 21.

The apostle then revealed that BYU president Kevin J Worthen (BA ’79, JD ’82) would finish his tenure on May 1, nine years to the day after taking the helm. His successor, and the university’s 14th president, will be C. Shane Reese (BS ’94, MS ’95)—academic vice president and a statistics professor who once turned down a job as director of analytics at the Philadelphia Eagles to stay at BYU.

“The Lord has prepared him in profound ways,” Holland says of Reese. “He has the confidence and trust of the Church Board of Education to lead BYU.”

That preparation began in 1989, when Reese was a wide-eyed BYU freshman. As Reese explained at the devotional, his young optimism faded fast: the classes were tough, and it seemed he was referred to more by his student ID than his name. Reese decided to call it quits.

But first his mother had a request: talk with their family friend’s brother, a faculty member on campus.

“What he said wasn’t important,” Reese recalled. “What was important was that here was a busy faculty member who took time to spend with Shane Reese the person, not the ID number.” Reese was convinced to give BYU a chance.

That faculty member? A young law professor named Kevin Worthen.

Turning to the Worthens seated behind him, Reese continued: “I will forever be grateful for your mentoring influence in my life, first as a lost freshman and most recently as one who sits in council with you, amazed at your love for BYU, its students, faculty, and staff. . . . [My wife,] Wendy [BS ’95], and I pledge our best efforts to build on the progress of President and Sister Worthen [BA ’03].

Watch for a profile on the Reeses in the summer 2023 issue of Y Magazine.