When the Brigham Young Academy Foundation approached L. Douglas Smoot, ’57, to help with the restoration of the Brigham Young Academy building, his answer was a resounding “No!”
“I said no more than once, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the project,” Smoot says. “I sensed an obligation to my great-grandfather Abraham Owen Smoot.” In 1875 Abraham was named the first president of the academy’s board of trustees, and for the next 20 years he dedicated much of his life to keeping the school alive. Near the end of his life, he told his wife Annie, “I haven’t a piece of property that is not mortgaged. I have had to do it to raise money to keep the Brigham Young Academy going.”
A century later, Doug Smoot finally gave in and joined forces with the foundation dedicated to saving the academy building. Smoot became the motivating force in raising $6 million dollars, to add to Provo City’s financial commitment, to renovate the building into the Provo City Library at Academy Square.
Smoot has created a book, Miracle at Academy Square, available at the BYU Bookstore, that details the academy restoration.