ST. OLAF COLLEGE TO EARLY BYU CAREER
By Charlotte England
This group of reflections takes in our five years at St Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, where Gene served as Academic Vice-President, as well as our move to Kaysville, Utah, during which period Gene worked at the LDS Church’s historical department and taught part-time at the LDS Institute at the University of Utah, and our eventual move to Provo, Utah, where Gene began his career at BYU in the English department.
Ron Lee, a Danforth Fellow along with Gene at Stanford had gone back to teach at St. Olaf College after finishing his degree and played a major role in bringing Gene to St. Olaf. So we left the mild weather of Palo Alto and accepted the invitation to live in the Midwest and experience first-hand the bitter cold we had only heard about. Ron Lee describes some of the roles Gene played at the college between 1970 to 1975.
Frank and Joan Odd and Ray and Jean Jacobsen write about our experiences in the Faribault Branch, a small congregation that Gene led as president and that all of us chipped in to make a great time of fun and service. Ray, a teacher and sculptor at Carleton College (also located in Northfield, Minnesota), along with Jean’s musical and artistic talent helped turn a one room schoolhouse into a lovely little chapel for our group. Frank had joined the Spanish department at St. Olaf about a year after we had settled into a farmhouse on the edge of town. We became fast friends, Gene and Frank sharing their love and skill at fly fishing and all of us sharing our love for good home cooked food and lots of conversation.
Steve Capps was one of the young students who became part of our family, along with Greg Reece who lived with us for a year while attending Carleton College. We were fortunate to have Tom and Louise Plummer pop up in our lives more than once: first, in a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Minneapolis, and later at BYU when Gene joined the English department. A great delight each time. Clyde Parker, along with his wife, Ilene, invited us to join their study group that met each month for good discussions and food. Years later, they joined our Study Abroad group and eased into the company of the students. The students loved them.
We left St. Olaf in 1975 and chose to live in Kaysville, Utah, a small town similar to Northfield. We found an old house that we renovated a little to accommodate our family. Gene commuted on the bus to the LDS Church’s office building, where he worked with Leonard Arrington in the church’s historical department and gathered material for his first book, Brother Brigham. Gene also took a part-time teaching job at the Institute of Religion on the University of Utah campus, where he met teachers like Dale Lecheminant, who shares a brief account of that experience.
After three years in Kaysville, Gene joined the English faculty at Brigham Young University. There he found himself among friends who loved creative teaching, and he joined some of them—among them Bob Bennion, Suzanne Lundquist, and Sue Gong—in creating a very popular and influential two-semester class, most often referred to as Colloquium. We read student views of that time from Lorraine Bradford Kelly and Scott Bradford.
Another great teaching hightlight for Gene came as he taught in the Honor’s Program with Gary Browning. Gary also describes what it was like having Gene as a Gospel Doctrine teacher. The two of them also made a great home teacher team.
Thaylene Barrett describes Gene’s debating skills and the individual care he took with his flock while serving as our ward’s bishop. Josy DeHoyos shares a favorite memory of Gene when he taught a personal history class during Sunday School.
Alan Manwaring shares about his time as a student body officer at BYU when Gene and other faculty advisors where charged with fully re-imagining the purposes and structures of student government at the university, with one of their biggest challenges (at least at the beginning) being that they would meet every Tuesday at 6 a.m.
“A Prayer of Thanksgiving”
By Frank and Joan Odd
“Lifting Our Thinking”
By Ray and Jeanne Jacobson
“I Will Speak for Him”
By Steve Capps
“Surprised by Gene”
by Louise Plummer
“A Life-Changing Experience”
By Clyde A. Parker
“Eugene England at the Salt Lake Institute of Religion, 1973–1974”
By Dale Lecheminant
“To Shout Out Joy in Learning”
By Robert Bennion
“Learning How to Learn”
By Suzanne Lundquist
“What Loyalty Really Means”
By Sue Gong
“Eugene England, Gatekeeper to Heaven”
By Lorraine Bradford Kelly
“Gene, the Generous Genius”
By Scott Bradford
“Gene’s Sunday School Classes and Extra-Credit Readings”
By Gary Browning
“Allow Everyone Their Own Experience”
By Josy DeHoyos
“Snapshots of Eugene England”
By Thaylene Barrett
“Six O’Clock Tuesday Mornings”
By Alan Manwaring