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LDS leaders dedicate Hunter Law Library

Published: Saturday, March 22 1997 12:00 a.m. MST

Former LDS Church President Howard W. Hunter was praised and gratitude was expressed for the newly opened facility that bears his name during the dedication ceremonies for the Howard W. Hunter Law Library at Brigham Young University Friday.

"He was a man remarkable in so many respects," said President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.President Hunter was a deliberate, careful man who didn't jump to conclusions, and he was a fine student. "What a great soul he was," President Hinckley said.

Other LDS Church officials as well as BYU officials and members of the Hunter family, including President Hunter's widow, Inez Hunter, attended the dedication of the facility. Also attending were donors to the project and law school faculty, staff and students.

"He was literally a legacy of virtues," said President Thomas S. Monson, first counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS Church, of President Hunter.

Those virtues included courtesy, humility and scholarship. "Howard W. Hunter was a humble servant of the Lord, and that endeared him to all the membership of the church," President Monson said.

"A great library is a fitting way to memorialize President Howard W. Hunter," said President James E. Faust, second counselor in the church's First Presidency. "His was such a far-reaching and astute mind."

The library combines a new 60,000-square-foot addition, which was built on to the north end of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School building, and the law school's existing 40,000-square-foot law library. The combination makes it one of the largest law libraries in the nation.

The addition was built at a cost of $10.4 million - under its original budget of $11 million - and completed nine months ahead of schedule.

Funding for the project came completely through donations, including large contributions from Jon and Karen Huntsman and Alan and Karen Ashton. Construction began in May of 1995.

More than 400,000 volumes and volume equivalents are housed in the library. It has nearly 20 times the public study space of the old law library and includes 476 student study carrels equipped with electrical outlets and data connection to the law school's computer network.

There are also 24 study rooms for students, three computer labs and four rooms with audio feeds from classrooms. The library was built to accommodate 20 years of growth.

President Hunter graduated cum laude from Southwestern University Law School in 1939 and operated a successful law practice for 19 years. He was involved in selecting the first dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School and in fund-raising efforts for that school.

BYU President Merrill J. Bateman expressed gratitude for the legacy left by President Hunter and for the faculty that has made the J. Reuben Clark Law School one of the finest in the country. The facility will serve students as well as any other law library in the country, he said.

"This is a wonderful addition that one would feel was really a part of the original construction," Bateman said.

The law school will be able to offer state-of-the-art access to information for its students with the new facility, said H. Reese Hansen, dean of the J. Reuben Clark Law School. "For me, there's a special feeling of welcome and warmth in this new space."

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