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Yes, Shane Reese has been serving as BYU’s new president for more than four months, but it will be memorable when he is installed formally at his inauguration on Tuesday.

Based on past precedent, Reese could receive a charge from one who is both a senior member of the board of trustees and the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which sponsors BYU. Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles will be part of Reese’s installation, according to a university website.

Nine years ago, when Reese’s predecessor, Kevin Worthen, replaced Elder Cecil O. Samuelson as BYU’s president, President Henry B. Eyring, first counselor in the First Presidency and vice chair of the board of trustees, gave the charge to Worthen.

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He told Worthen to ask, as he considered alternatives to recommendations brought to him, “Is there a way to strengthen the determination of all who study and serve here to learn, to increase their faith and to move them to serve others better?”

The entire First Presidency of the church attended Worthen’s inauguration. The event was conducted by the man who today is the church president and chairman of BYU’s board, President Russell M. Nelson.

And four of the university’s past presidents sat on the stand in the Marriott Center.

Here are three fun things to know about Reese ahead of his inauguration.

How tall is Shane Reese?

Reese is a sociable, positive, happy guy. I’ve interviewed him several times over a couple of decades and agree with others that he has a gift for connection. He’s funny, self-deprecating and his humor and smile and positive outlook make interactions with him enjoyable. In short, he’s friendly.

That has nothing to do with his height, but his quick wit does apply to his response when asked how tall he is. That may be a state secret. He is on the shorter side, something he mentioned when he was announced as BYU’s next president back in March.

So, I asked him how tall he is.

“Five-nine,” he said.

“Five-nine?” I said, respectfully raising an eyebrow as a guy who stretches to get to five-foot-10.

His smile was already broad.

“Let me just say that’s slightly generous,” he said, then laughed along with the gaggle of reporters around him.

At the BYU devotional this week, he took another playful shot at his own height.

“I’ve heard that the cameras add 10 pounds,” he said. “I’m hoping they add 6 inches.”

What does Shane Reese eat for lunch?

Rosemary Thackeray introduced Reese during the University Conference for faculty, staff and administrators in late August, and she gave what Reese later called an “all-too-transparent” introduction.

“His go-to lunch is a peanut butter sandwich — no jelly, no jam, no honey — just peanut butter,” said Thackeray, assistant to the president for assessment and planning.

He doesn’t like mushrooms or onions, either, Thackeray said.

The BYU Creamery has a tradition of creating and naming an ice cream for the university president. The ice cream named for Reese’s predecessor, Kevin Worthen, is called Worthen’s PB&C, which is peanut butter ice cream with peanut brittle and chocolate swirl.

The big question swirling around Reese’s inauguration is what his Creamery ice cream will be. Thackeray said that whatever it is, it will have a lot of chocolate.

Food was a big theme. Reese has been a sous chef at a restaurant and worked as a milkman on the BYU campus when he was a student. More recently, he has been known to deliver wedding cakes for the business owned by his wife, Wendy.

How much does Shane Reese love sports?

This sort of question is hard to quantify, even for a statistician like Reese, whose expertise in the field landed him a job — insert “Oppenheimer” reference here — at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he worked on determining the reliability and readiness of the nation’s nuclear stockpile, according to a Y Magazine profile.

The campus data experts told me that he regularly dives into stats about the campus. He threw one out at this week’s devotional, noting that there are 10,000 new students this year. For the record, the number of admitted freshmen for spring, summer and fall 2023 is 8,446. New transfer students equal 1,562. The total is 10,008.

Reese’s expertise in sports statistics landed him a job offer from the Philadelphia Eagles when Andy Reid, a BYU alum and now the Super Bowl-winning coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, was head coach there.

He loves statistics so much that his wife Wendy said he likes to convert everyone to the field. He’s had plenty of practice. He long and enthusiastically taught BYU’s intro to statistics class. One semester, he had 986 students.

There’s plenty of evidence to simply say Reese bleeds blue and breathes sports.

New BYU President Shane Reese watches BYU beat No. 1 UCLA on Aug. 31, 2023. BYU took over the nation’s top ranking.
New BYU President Shane Reese watches BYU beat No. 1 UCLA on Aug. 31, 2023, while the advancement vice president, Keith Vorkink, left, looks on pensively. BYU took over the nation’s top ranking after the victory. | Brigham Young University

For example, he thrives on noon basketball games in BYU’s Richards Building and also plays tennis and pickleball, Thackeray said.

Y Magazine noted that Reese has a name for the noon faculty basketball games. He calls them “church ball on steroids.”

As the president of a university that became a Power Five school in the Big 12 school this fall, another big question remains to be answered: What will the BYU student section known as the “Roc” say after made free throws when the basketball season starts?

The Roc began to say “Whoosh, Cecil,” after made free throws when President Cecil Samuelson was president because they thought he wasn’t paying attention. They moved to “Whoosh, Kevin” for Worthen.

“Whoosh, Shane,” anyone?

My recent stories

‘We want you to flourish’: New BYU President Shane Reese welcomes students to campus (Sept. 12)

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland returns home to recuperate after extended hospital stay (Sept. 10)

See the first images from inside the renovated St. George Utah Temple (Sept. 6)

About the church

Happy birthday, President Russell M. Nelson! The church’s 17th president turned 99 on 9/9. There is a lot of related content:

On Saturday, church leaders will dedicate three temples in a single day for the first time in church history.

The First Presidency announced exact locations for two temples in Nigeria and released a rendering of the Kona Hawaii Temple.

The worldwide Young Adult devotional has been rescheduled for Nov. 19.

Blind individuals got a special tactile tour of the St. George Utah Temple.

Did you know there is a group called the Brigham Young Center that is producing “The Brigham Young papers?”

The church also updated the Sacred Music app and announced changes for scheduling recreational properties.

What I’m reading

The New York Times actually suggested Salt Lake City might be the next Austin, Texas. The writer had reasons. (Paywall)

The data in a new poll raised the question, Will Trump have a Latter-day Saint voter problem yet again?

On Oct. 1, the NFL will turn a live game into animated action with a “Toy Story” theme (paywall) in real time in a simultaneous broadcast on Disney+, ESPN+ and NFL+. Here’s the press release.

The home for the popular old TV show “The Brady Bunch” sold for $3.2 million. (Paywall) Here’s a story not behind a paywall.