University of Utah marks its 164th year

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - There are very few organizations in Utah that have lasted since 1850. That is when the University of Utah first held classes. It just had its 164th birthday. We asked our old U of U grad Craig Wirth to tell us about it.

A carefully penned document created the University of Utah is dated February 28, 1850 almost exactly 164 years ago.

Then it was the University of Deseret.

It started in Mrs. Pack's front room on the west side of Salt Lake City.
LDS Church President Brigham Young insisted on having a university in the new land and he donated $20 while another man donated a load of wood.

One the occasion of the 150th birthday of the u in 2000 I asked his then counter part and 1932 University Graduate President Gordon Hinkley about Brigham Young’s bold plan.

“It really is an tremendous thing to think that while they were struggling against all the odds that they faced that they actually went to work to establish a university and put money into it and effort into it great vision,” said Hinckley.

The university purchased two globes from England one to teach the countries of the world and the other to teach the stars of the heavens.

The ambitious idea didn't catch on at first and the university skipped a few years here and there until the late 1860's.

By 1868 they did what any good college does, they put out a catalogue. They also raised tuition to $20 a term.

They also offered student housing in the president’s own house plus hired faculty members at $1200 a month.

Now the regents picked some new land for the U right where the cow was standing east of 1300 East.

The first thing they did was authorize almost 8000 to build a wall around the U except it doesn't go all the way around as they sadly reported someone stole most of the sandstone.

Half of it disappeared. This set the plans back a decade.

But by 1901 they started building the buildings.

The university still has the old linen blue prints of everything from the buildings to the amazing light fixtures some that still hang in the Park building.

And of course they created courses for this was a modern university with the latest technology.

Within years you could learn about machines, electricity and how to be a lineman or welding cement.
By the time Craig Wirth went here in the early 1970s those classes were gone such as blacksmithing and he had to settle for journalism.

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