George S. Romney

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George Samuel Romney (November 12, 1874–December 19, 1935) was the president of Ricks Academy (now Brigham Young University–Idaho) from 1917 to 1930, a pivotal time for the survival of the school.

Romney was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was born in St. George, Utah.[1] His father, Miles Park Romney, moved the family to St. Johns, Arizona. When he was twelve years old, his family moved to the Mormon colonies in Old Mexico so that his father could continue practicing plural marriage, a practice that was now illegal in the United States. Education was not easily available in Mexico, so Romney was not able to attend in his youth. However, he worked hard to gain an education later, working his way through high school and graduating at the age of 31. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.

Romney married Teressa Artemesia Redd while living in Mexico. They were the parents of eight children by the time they left Mexico in 1912 during the Mexican Revolution (under Pancho Villa). They later had three more children. The family moved first to El Paso, Texas, then Los Angeles, California, and finally Oakley, Idaho. They then moved to Salt Lake City so Romney could finish his schooling at the University of Utah.

By 1917 Romney was a faculty member at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In 1917, he began his work at Ricks Academy as the last principal, and that same year became the first president when the academy became Ricks Normal College, a state-accredited junior college and teaching college. He was still president in 1923 when the name was changed to Ricks College. He was president at the end of World War I and helped it survive the postwar depression. During his administration, high school classes were dropped and college classes were improved. He also instituted standards for dress and conduct.[2][3] In 1930, Romney was replaced by Hyrum Manwaring.

During the summer months, Romney studied at Stanford and earned his master’s degree in 1922. He continued his studies at the University of Chicago, but set them aside to preside over the Northern States Mission in 1931, where he had also served as a missionary earlier while a young father. He died on December 19, 1935, in Rockville, Illinois. Bryant S. Hinckley replaced him.

His eldest son, Marion, served as an apostle and member of the First Presidency. He was an uncle to former Michigan governor George W. Romney.


  1. Howard, F. Burton. Marion G. Romney: His Life and Faith. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988) p. 10.
  2. Public Relations Office – BYU–Idaho
  3. Public Relations Office – BYU–Idaho