Dignitaries, spectators, and members of BYU’s band gather for the original Joseph Smith Memorial Building’s groundbreaking ceremony in 1939. The building was razed in 1991, after the new Joseph Smith Building was completed.

125 years ago: The number of Protestant schools throughout Utah peaks at 93, decreasing attendance at Brigham Young Academy. Hampered by limited funds and frustrated with their failure to convert large numbers of LDS children and youth, most eventually close.

100 years ago: Jesse Knight donates a morale-boosting $100,000 in irrigation stock to the financially strapped university.

75 years ago: Ground is broken for the original Joseph Smith Memorial Building.

50 years ago: Ernest L. Wilkinson resigns in January as BYU’s president to run for a seat in the U.S. Senate and is replaced with an interim president. After an unsuccessful bid, he is reappointed in December.

25 years ago: After 11 years as men’s basketball assistant coach, Roger Reid begins his first season as head coach, leading the team to five NCAA tournament appearances during his seven-year tenure.

10 years ago: BYU’s first student-produced computer-animated short film, Lemmings, wins a student Emmy.

5 years ago: Elder M. Russell Ballard presides over the groundbreaking of a new BYU Broadcasting Building.


web: Read more about BYU’s history on the University Archives blog at

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