Nibley’s Plan to Leave BYU for his Career

[From an interview in 1983 on the subject of academia]

Then there was the time I was at Chicago [on sabbatical leave] and I decided, well, I’ll look for another job. And so I did, and I got a good offer at Pennsylvania – it was Clarion College in western Pennsylvania, a very good school, belonged to the University of Pennsylvania.

They had a special dinner for me. I didn’t realize it was special. Afterward the dean [of] the College of History, he told me. They offered me far more than I was getting at BYU. We met in the hall after dinner, and he said, “You realize we had lobster tonight. That’s the first time we’ve had it in years. That means you’re a very special guy. They’re offering you so much?” And I told him and he says, “You can get three times that much. Just ask them, you’ll get more than that.” So I had it fixed.

I wrote to the family and they blew up…They didn’t like that at all, moving to western Pennsylvania. Well, western Pennsylvania was gorgeously beautiful country, as you know it’s beautiful country around there, but I would miss the mountains terribly. And I wrote to the brethren, I wrote to Brother [Marion G.] Romney and he said, “Please, that would be a disaster. That would be the worst thing that could happen. Come back on your terms,” and so on. And [BYU President Ernest L.] Wilkinson agreed. He was rather upset and so forth. Ernie and I, we really went round and round on numbers of occasions.

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About Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley, 1910-2005, was simultaneously the LDS Church's greatest intellectual defender from attack from the outside and Mormon culture's strongest critic from the inside. This blog is composed mainly from Nibley's unpublished writings, letters, interviews and conversations, with occasional posts from associates who had personal interactions with him.
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2 Responses to Nibley’s Plan to Leave BYU for his Career

  1. Chris says:

    Nibley getting a job at Clarion College would have been incredibly good for both him and the Church.

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