Y. raising funds for Hinckley Center

$35 million building will serve as the 'gateway' to campus

Published: Thursday, Dec. 29 2005 12:00 a.m. MST

PROVO — Feel bad you didn't send a present to LDS Church President Gordon B. Hinckley for his 95th birthday in June?

Left him off your Christmas shopping list because you just don't know what to get a man considered a prophet, seer and revelator by more than 12 million people?

Well, you're in luck. Just go in with Brigham Young University on the ultimate group gift — a new building at BYU to be named for President Hinckley.

Visit byu.edu/gbhb, enter the amount you want to give and your credit card information, and you're done.

The university quietly began raising money in October for the $35 million Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center. BYU President Cecil Samuelson took advantage of a Homecoming Week meeting with alumni leaders from around the country to announce the project, but BYU won't make a formal media announcement until it schedules a groundbreaking ceremony for the 80,000-square-foot building.

No construction date is set for the building, which will replace the Alumni House, built in 1961 across the street and west of the Abraham O. Smoot Building (ASB).

"The Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center will serve as the gateway to campus," BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said. "Plans are still being finalized, and we don't have architectural renderings at this point, but it will be three floors above ground."

Samuelson told students about the building at a campus Family Home Evening in November, when he announced that millionaires Ira and Mary Lou Fulton are making 5-to-1 matches on every student donation up to $5,000. The Fultons offered a 1-to-1 match on faculty and staff donations.

The Board of Trustees approved the building in November. President Hinckley is president of the board and agreed to the naming of the building, a rarity since BYU seldom names buildings for living persons. One exception is the Marriott Center, the campus basketball arena named after major donor J. Willard Marriott.

"It will stand for generations as a remembrance of the life and example of this extraordinary ambassador for the church," a brochure published by LDS Philanthropies, the church's fund-raising arm. "His unflagging efforts in the areas of education, public outreach and international friendship are the very purposes of this building. It will be a place designed to reach out and welcome all the world, as President Hinckley has."

Jenkins said the building will allow BYU to expand its visitors center offerings for campus guests.

"It will include exhibits and media that will help visitors to campus better understand the mission of Brigham Young University," she said.

BYU's Alumni Association committed to raise $10 million, Jenkins said. The rest of the building's cost will be paid for through donations to LDS Philanthropies, known as the LDS Foundation until a name change earlier this year.

The church established the fund-raising group in 1971. The organization raises money for BYU, BYU-Idaho and BYU-Hawaii and has offices at each of those church-sponsored schools.

LDS Philanthropies also oversees giving to LDS Humanitarian Services, the General Missionary Fund, Church History or the Perpetual Education Fund. One hundred percent of all donations to LDS Philanthropies goes directly to the purpose selected by donors, Bishop Richard C. Edgley of the church's Presiding Bishopric recently said in an interview with the LDS Church News. No overhead or administrative costs are deducted from the donations.

Edgley said that since 1984, the LDS Church has donated nearly $750 million in cash and goods to people in need in more than 150 countries.

BYU collected $77.6 million in donations to the university in 2004.


E-mail: twalch@desnews.com

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