- Brigham Young University. Office of the President (Creator, Organization)
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Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish material from George H. Brimhall papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the Special Collections Board of Curators.
42 boxes (21 linear ft.)
2 oversize boxes (3 linear ft.)
Brigham Young University has had a president since Brigham Young Academy was changed to Brigham Young University in 1903. While the school was still called Brigham Young Academy the head officer was titled principal.
The Board of Trustees delegates to the University President the responsibility to conduct the operations of the institution and administer the policies enacted by the board. Since 1996, the President of the university has also been a General Authority of the Church.
Past and present Brigham Young University presidents include George H. Brimhall (1903-1921), Franklin S. Harris (1921-1945), Howard S. McDonald (1945-1949), (acting president) Christian Jensen (1949-1951), Ernest L. Wilkinson (1951-1971), Dallin H. Oaks (1971-1980), Jeffrey R. Holland (1980-1989), Rex E. Lee (1989-1995), Merrill J. Bateman (1996-2003), Cecil O. Samuelson (2003-2014), and Kevin J. Worthen (2014- ).
George Henry Brimhall was born in Salt Lake City on December 9, 1852, to George Washington Brimhall and Rachel Ann Mayer. At age eighteen, he attended high school at the Timpanogos Branch of the University of Deseret in nearby Provo taught by Warren and Wilson Dusenberry. He and some friends built a school they named the Young Men’s Academy. There Brimhall met Alsina Elizabeth Wilkins, a student at the academy, whom he married in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City on December 28, 1874. Together, they had six children. In September 1885, Brimhall married a second wife, Flora Robertson, in the Logan Temple. Together, they had eight children.
He gained teacher’s certiﬁcates and diplomas and was elected superintendent of Utah County Schools and Provo City Schools. In 1891, the BYA board of trustees chairman, Abraham O. Smoot, asked Brimhall, to join Brigham Young Academy’s teaching staﬀ and head the Normal (teacher training) Department. Brimhall received the degree of Bachelor of Pedagogy and became BYA Alumni Association’s ﬁrst president. He received all of his higher education at BYA or BYU.
In 1898, Brimhall became a member of the General Church Board of Education. From 1900-1902, while Benjamin Cluff Jr. was away, he became acting principal of BYA. In December 1903, he received a letter from Joseph F. Smith asking him to be the president of the newly renamed Brigham Young University. He was inaugurated as BYU’s second president on April 16, 1904 with Joseph B. Keller and Edwin S. Hinckley as his counselors.
Brigham Young University underwent a great deal of change under Brimhall’s tenure. Student enrollment expanded, the degree of bachelor of pedagogy was replaced by the Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree was oﬀered. In addition, The Banyan, the university's first yearbook was published, the block Y on a mountain above campus had been painted, thirty-seven acres of the upper (present) campus had been acquired, the ﬁrst honorary degree had been conferred, and two new buildings (the Maeser Memorial Building and the Mechanic Arts Building, now known as the Brimhall Building) had been erected on upper campus.
Brimhall was released as president of BYU in 1921. He remained on campus and continued with his work for Church seminaries and as a member of the General Board of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association. Brimhall died on July 29, 1932 in Provo, Utah.
Other Finding Aids
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Brigham Young University -- Presidents
- Brigham Young University -- Administration
- Brigham Young University -- History
- Brigham Young University. Office of the President
- Brimhall, George H. (George Henry), 1853-1932 -- Correspondence
- Colleges and Universities
- Education, Higher -- Utah -- Provo
- Register of George H. Brimhall papers
- J. Gordon Daines III
- Description rules
- Language of description
- Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant, 2007-2008
- 2014 November 19: File level description added; Erin Owens; November 2014.