Old School Universe: Oldest BYU graduates attend basketball games

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On Tuesday, Feb. 2, 1960 Universe Feature Editor Chris Allred wrote about a Cougar basketball fan couple who attended Brigham Young Academy and the Church Normal School when Karl G. Maeser was teaching.

Within the article, the couple talks about their time at school and how the campus has changed since the late 1800s.

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Memories, Memories — Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jones, Provo residents, look over their long life together. Jones went to Brigham Young Academy when there were only seven faculty member and a few dozen students in the school.
Memories, Memories — Mr. and Mrs. Albert Jones, Provo residents, look over their long life together. Jones went to Brigham Young Academy when there were only seven faculty member and a few dozen students in the school.

“We still go to every basketball game, never miss one,” said two of Brigham Young University’s oldest living graduates and loyal fans.

Albert Jones, 89, and his wife Sarah, 86, are given a season ticket to all Y games by their children each year.

“There were no team sports when we went to school,” said Mr. Jones, “Only games we played were at noon-time so we are making up for what we missed.”

During the Jones’ school years, the BYU was called the Brigham Young Academy and the Church Normal School.

Mrs. Jones explained that “Normal” was a term describing a two-year course designed to educate teachers. After graduation the teacher was placed in one of the district schools.

“We met in the Old Chamber of Commerce building where the Farmers and Merchants bank is now located,” continued Jones. “There were two rooms downstairs for classes and a hall and theater upstairs.”

All plays, activities and dances were held in the upper story.

“I remember Brother Karl G. Maeser well,” he reminisced. “He taught the theology classes and higher group courses.”

Besides President Maeser, there were seven other faculty members, he recalled.

Mr. Jones relates that the school day would begin with a song and prayer, then theology and following that the regular classes.

“We didn’t have any high schools then. The Academy taught grade from the ‘Fifth Primer’ to graduation,” he said.

“I remember one day when the students came to school — and no school,” Jones remarked. “During the night the old building had burned down!”

In the next few years, he said, school was held in the Old Provo Tabernacle and ZCMI warehouse.

“People thought it was real crazy to build the new school on 6th North and University, clear out of town.”

In 1892, when the Academy, with Benjamin Cluff at the head, moved to the present site of lower campus, it was some blocks outside the town.

“You have a beautiful campus on the hill, now,” put in Mrs. Jones.

Her statement reminded Mr. Jones of a prophecy he had heard Brigham Young make once that the hill where upper campus is now situated would one day be the site of a temple.

“I always called it Temple Hill,” he said, “Because all that is up there are temples of learning.”

When questioned about his major, Jones replied, “I just took general courses like reading and writing and history. We didn’t have the same organization that you have.”

He served a mission for the Church in the Tonga Islands and has presented a rare Tongan Bible and a Tongan-English dictionary to the BYU Library. He has also presented the University with a bust of Brigham Young.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones were married in 1897 and have celebrated 62 anniversaries. They have four children, 13 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, many of whom have attended BYU.

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The article in its original paper layout can be found here.

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