Y Facts

BYU Presidents

Brigham Young University Presidents

Warren N. Dusenberry - (1876) Probate judge, attorney, and Provo businessman who was briefly the principal of the first experimental term of Brigham Young Academy.

Karl G. Maeser - (1876-1892) Second principal of BYA and later superintendent of LDS Church schools; expanded the educational opportunities for BYA students, organized some of the students into a normal (teacher training) school and recruited a competent faculty to sustain what became the foremost teacher training institution in the territory, and, after a fire destroyed the home of the Academy in 1884, helped keep the school together through subsequent moves until approval was given, funding challenges were met, and the school's own building, the Academy Building, was dedicated in 1892.

Benjamin Cluff - (1892-1903) Third principal of BYA whose diligence in upgrading the Academy's Collegiate Department sufficiently contributed greatly to BYA becoming Brigham Young University

George H. Brimhall - (1904-1921) Fourth president of the BYA for a few months before becoming the fourth president of BYU; increased BYU's preeminence as a teacher training institution, upgraded the overall college program, initiated buildings on temple hill and reinstated football as part of BYU's athletic program

Franklin S. Harris - (1921-1945) Internationally recognized agronomist who became the fifth president of BYU; worked hard to increase the status of BYU as a university, contributing greatly to bettering programs, the campus, and the school's semi-centennial in 1925, and helped the university successfully complete its first accreditation by the Association of American Universities. 

Howard S. McDonald - (1945-1949) Superintendent of Salt Lake City public schools prior to appointment as sixth president of BYU. Responded to BYU's skyrocketing enrollment by increasing student housing, planning for the expansion of academic facilities, and creating new services for students.

Ernest L. Wilkinson - (1951-1971) Prominent graduate of BYU practicing law in Washington, D.C., until he became the seventh president of BYU. He launched the largest program for recruiting students and increasing physical facilities in the history of the school and helped established the university's first doctoral program.

Dallin H. Oaks - (1971-1980) BYU graduate serving as a professor of law at the University of Chicago who became the eighth president of BYU; concentrated his efforts on building scholastic aptitude and increasing the academic maturity of BYU.

Jeffrey R. Holland - (1980-1989) As ninth president of BYU, President Holland set excellence as the university's standard and further expanded the campus physically and technologically as well as expanded the cultural and international experiences available on the campus.

Rex E. Lee - (1989-1995) Former attorney and U. S. solicitor general, President Lee had argued 59 cases before the Supreme Court prior to becoming the 10th president of BYU and continued to do so on nine occasions while he was president of BYU; emphasized the importance of religious learning while initiating a period of growth in the university's size and prestige, formalized the rules of academic freedom and employment, and worked to streamline graduation.

Merrill J. Bateman - (1996-2003) Former BYU faculty member and dean who was the first General Authority called to serve as the 11th president of BYU; refined institutional objectives into five university objectives centering on BYU's Mission Statement and Aims of a BYU Education and outlining the standards and aspirations set by the Board of Trustees and contributed greatly to the growth and development of the university in distance education, research--including mentored learning for both graduates and undergraduates, technological development, enrollments, physical facilities, and athletic achievements.

Cecil O. Samuelson - (2003-present) Served at the University of Utah as professor of medicine, vice president of health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. Prior to his calling as a full-time General Authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was senior vice president for Intermountain Health Care. He holds a bachelor of science degree, a master's degree in educational psychology and a medical degree from the University of Utah. He fulfilled his residency and held a fellowship in rheumatic and genetic diseases at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

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Mark Philbrick/BYU

Former Presidents Dallin H. Oaks, Jeffrey R. Holland and Merrill J. Bateman and current President Cecil O. Samuelson.

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