Edwin S. Hinckley
Inspirational Educator, Sixth Principal of BYH,
Academic & Family Leader
Brigham Young Academy High School
Class of 1891

Edwin S. Hinckley, Principal of B. Y. High
BYH HS 1891, BYA B.D. 1897

Some of you will set in motion waves
that will not stop until they break
upon the shores of eternity.
~ Edwin S. Hinckley, Sixth Principal of BYH

Edwin Smith Hinkley graduated with the Brigham Young Academy High School Normal Class of 1891 on May 21, 1891. He was named Class Orator, and spoke at the commencement exercises.

He then graduated with the BY Academy Collegiate Class of 1897, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Didactics (B. D.) on May 27, 1897.

He became a member of the BYA faculty as Professor of Geology and Education from 1895 to 1915.

During that time he was chosen to serve as the Sixth Principal of BY High School from 1904 to 1909.

Edwin S. Hinckley was born July 21, 1868, in Cove Fort, Utah, the seventh child of pioneer parents, Ira N. and Adelaide Hinckley. They were known as people of refinement, integrity, religion, family, and education.

Edwin S. Hinckley attended Brigham Young Academy in Provo, Utah, and his experiences heightened his interest in higher education.

His half brother, Bryant Stringham Hinckley, graduated from BYA high school in 1885, and Edwin followed in 1891. Edwin was an uncle of later LDS Church Apostle and President, Gordon B. Hinckley, who is the son of his brother, Bryant.

The two brothers heeded Benjamin Cluff, BYA high school Principal and later BYA President, when he charged the Academy's teachers to go back east to further their education.

Edwin married Adeline "Addie" Henry in 1890, while Bryant went on to school in the East and was not married until three years later.

Edwin and Addie Hinckley moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan so he could pursue additional studies in geology at the University of Michigan; he graduated as class salutatorian. Simultaneously he served a part-time LDS Church mission in Ann Arbor.

Both Edwin and Bryant served as teachers, and both taught at BYA, Bryant for seven years from 1893 to 1900, and Edwin for twenty-one years from 1895 to 1915.

Upon returning to BYA to teach in 1895, Hinckley served another LDS mission in Colorado.

After Brigham Young Academy was dissolved in 1903, and replaced by Brigham Young High School and Brigham Young University, Hinckley served in the prestigious position of Principal of B. Y. High School for five years, from 1904 to 1909.

During his 21 years at BYU, he inspired students in the classroom and assembly halls. One of them, J. Edward Johnson, wrote that he "sat as one enchanted all the period he talked to our class". He remembered that one of Hinckley's expressions was, "Some of you here have it in you to do things which will set waves in motion that will not stop until they break upon the shores of eternity."

Waves breaking on the shores of eternity

"What he taught me in geology has long since ceased to make the slightest difference to me, but the inspiration of his personality and philosophy of life . . . his keen wit and wholesome good humor, continue to fire me with new ambitions."

Another student, Nels Anderson, BYU '20, credited Hinckley with his decision to stay in school. Discouraged and finding himself among "kids who had not come up the rough way," Anderson had already rolled up his bed to go home when he saw Hinckley. As he explained, "Hinckley listened and without my realizing, kept me an hour. He told stories and listened to mine. In the end he said, 'I'll gamble on you. If you agree to stay till the end of the term, I'm sure you'll come on top.' I went back, unrolled the bed and started over. By three months I was getting As."

Nels Anderson's book, Deseret Sands, was his tribute to his teacher.

Edwin S. Hinckley frequently told his students, "When one man says something can't be done, he is usually interrupted by someone else doing it." Throughout his life he was avidly learning, teaching, and in every way possible, improving the world around him.

Edwin Hinckley, the chief geologist of the University, was also selected to serve as Second Counselor, as it was termed then, to BYU President George H. Brimhall. He and E. D. Partridge, a mathematics and surveying teacher, laid out the iconic block Y on Y Mountain. He also served as Dean of the Church Teachers College.

Upon his BYU retirement, Edwin S. Hinckley moved his family to Ogden, where he served the State Industrial School for seven years as superintendent. He stated that his management philosophy there was "Trust - Not Punish."

He later served as Executive Director for the Provo City Chamber of Commerce and was an influential participant in the major economic development that took place in central Utah.

He was BYA's Alumni President in 1897 and 1898; in 1924 and 1925 he served again as BYU's Alumni President.

Edwin S. Hinckley died on November 15, 1929, leaving an influential family that included 13 children.

His younger brother, Arza Alonzo Hinckley, was ordained an apostle on October 11, 1934, by President Heber J. Grant, at age 64. Elder A. A. Hinckley served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1934 until his death in 1936.

In 1954, wanting to express appreciation to their parents, the children of the Hinckley Family extended the influence of Edwin S. Hinckley by establishing the Edwin Smith Hinckley Scholarship Fund at BYU.

The Edwin S. Hinckley fund became the largest privately endowed scholarship at BYU, and many leaders and educators have benefited from the scholarship, including Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, BYU '65, Massachusetts Governor W. Mitt Romney, BYU '71, and former BYU President Rex E. Lee, BYU '60. A large number of BYH alumni have also received the Hinckley Scholarship.

Brigham Young Academy HS Graduation Class 1891
Brigham Young Academy High School Class of 1891

Standing, rear, left to right: Alexander Jameson, A. C. Lund, George Ramsey, Alba Murdock, Edwin S. Hinckley, Thomas A. Yates, Eugene Hart, Henry Peterson, Archibald Bevan, and O. W. Andelin.

Seated, front: Benjamin Cluff, Jr. (assistant principal), Wilford McKendrick, Mary Lyman (Gowans), Cora Groesbeck (Snow), Ida Alleman (Taylor), and Richard R. Lyman.

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