Faithful man: Building honors early president

George H. Brimhall cited as man of loyalty, faith, ability, vision

PROVO, Utah — If the first group of Brigham Young University students that attended classes at what is now the George H. Brimhall Building returned for a reunion, they might dash for the exits in confusion.

Much has changed since the building on the southwest corner of campus opened its door in 1919. Back then, the structure housed vocational courses in auto mechanics, woodwork, even blacksmithing. Today, it is a refurbished, seismically-sound hub for communication. Where once students mastered the workings of the Model-T engine, today's tech-savvy counterparts learn the nuances of mass communication.

The newly renovated George H. Brimhall Building was rededicated Aug. 11 by Elder John H. Groberg of the Presidency of the Seventy and a descendant of President Brimhall. Following a two-year major reconstruction, the venerable building will now house the school's communication department while doubling as headquarters for the Daily Universe student newspaper and KBYU television. The Brimhall Building was originally dedicated in 1935 by President Heber J. Grant.

In remarks preceding his re-dedicatory prayer, Elder Groberg said the man for whom the building was named lived a life driven by four characteristics: loyalty, great faith, ability and vision.

President Brimhall — who served as BYU's president from 1904-1921 — was loyal to his Church, his family and Church leaders, Elder Groberg said.

"President Brimhall often spoke to students about Church loyalty," he said. "He felt devotion to the Church should be in their inclination."

Such loyalty, Elder Groberg added, was rooted in President Brimhall's faith in God, Jesus Christ, the restored Church and the Book of Mormon.

The young university was blessed to be led by a faithful man of great ability. "President Brimhall chose to be a teacher, and he wanted to be a good teacher." Elder Groberg said that President Brimhall looked to Christ as the perfect example of a teacher.

The future of BYU was "a driving force in (President Brimhall's) life," Elder Groberg said.

Despite serving at a time when the value of higher education was often questioned, President Brimhall remained certain the Church-owned school would succeed. His ambition for BYU was of a place where teachers would go forth and make a difference in the world. He recognized the balance that could be enjoyed on campus between religion and science.

BYU's current leader, President Cecil O. Samuelson of the Seventy, also offered comments. The evolving uses of the Brimhall Building is a microcosm of the development and significant changes happening at the school. The rededicated building stands as a monument to President Brimhall's academic commitment.

President Brimhall was "a beneficiary of inspiration as he led this school," President Samuelson said.

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