A birthday party 186 years in the making


Brigham Young University held a birthday party to honor Karl G. Maeser’s 186-year legacy, complete with party games and cake, on Jan. 16.

“I have been on campus for a couple of decades now, and some of my faculty friends have been on campus for much longer. They say that in the last 30 to 40 years they have not seen any event that has celebrated Brother Maeser’s birthday,” said Heather Seferovich, curator of the Education in Zion gallery. “It was high time that we change that.”

The central event of the birthday party was a lecture given by LeGrand “Buddy” Richards, associate professor of educational leadership and foundations. He shared some interesting facts and stories he gathered over the nine years he has been researching Maeser’s life.

It was evident Karl G. Maeser has left a lasting impact on Richards’ life.

“I am so thrilled to be here. It really has been one of the greatest blessings of my life to study in-depth the life of Karl G. Maeser,” Richards said. “I think I am part of the (Maeser) family now.”

Richards shared stories of Maeser’s childhood in Germany, his conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and his great passion for education.

One of Richards’ favorite quotes by Maeser is, “Every man’s life is an object lesson.”

Richards considers his experience researching Maeser’s life as an opportunity to study one of the greatest object lessons of all time.

“Students need to know about (Maeser’s) dedication and perseverance,” said Alice Cannon, a third-generation granddaughter of Karl G. Maeser. “He did everything that he could to make everyone else’s lives better, especially with regards to education.”

The festivities continued with party games, a cut-out of Karl G. Maeser that students could take their picture with and, last but not least, cake.

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