By JARED PRATT
Names have value. Names identify people. They remind people of ancestors, events, or stories. Naming a baby is generally a time consuming process that has been given much thought and perhaps inspiration — names are obviously much more than just labels. So what about names of buildings?
The buildings on campus are named for much more than a way to tell them apart. Each building has a unique and often inspirational story behind it.
Janet Rex, Information Bureau Manager of Public Communications, researched the history of the buildings at BYU. Here is just a sampling:
The Abraham O. Smoot Building is named after the President of the Board of Trustees of Brigham Young Academy. Smoot did all he could to assure the success of the Academy. He gave so freely that he died a bankrupt man, having given all to keep the “Y” open.
W.W. Clyde was known as “the dean of Utah highway builders.” This generous contributor to the university now has the College of Engineering and Technology calling his name home.
How about a building where a man’s dream came true? This building has the university’s first elevator, is home to a huge Foucalt pendulum and contains the first planetarium constructed in Utah. Carl F. Eyring, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences for nearly 30 years, had his dream come true with the completion of the Science Center.
Here’s a name of a building, the Caroline Hemenway Harman Continuing Education Building and Conference Center. Her nephew, Leon Weston “Pete” Harman, searched for years to find something appropriate enough to dedicate to the memory of his aunt. He financed this building and felt that it’s purpose paralleled that of a woman who was always reaching out to serve others, his aunt.
Jesse Knight was a mining millionaire, important financial benefactor to BYU and member of the university’s board of trustees just after the turn of the century. The Humanities building bears his name.
The third largest on-campus indoor arena in the nation may not have continental breakfast but is known as the J. Willard Marriott Center.
Karl G. Maesar believed in the value of a strong general education accompanied by a strong major. The first building on “Temple Hill” is named after him.
Presidents of the church hold a special place in the hearts of members of the church and hold something of the same on BYU campus. Nine presidents of the church are found on any building index in university catalogs, class schedules, or maps. These men of God did so much that there is actually a BYU course available to learn about their teachings.
So when students are furthering their education in the buildings of BYU, maybe something of the good of the people whom the buildings are named for will permeate into the lives of the students who enter their walls.