Amid the noise and dust of the Main Street construction, dozens of people gathered in front of the American Stores building on Saturday for the rededication of the Morgan Commercial College Monument.
As the Utah Symphony Brass Quintette played, descendants of the college's founder, John H. Morgan, reminisced with each other."My grandfather, Heber J. Grant, was a student at the Morgan School," said Sen. Bob Bennett, one of the speakers at Saturday's event. "My grandfather never graduated from anything. His total time in a classroom amounted to about four years," Bennett said, "He got his education from the world of experience."
Other well-known students of Morgan College included Orson F. Whitney, Mathias F. Cowley, J. Golden Kimball and Brigham H. Roberts.
The monument was originally dedicated on May 8, 1959. John Morgan's son, Nicholas G. Morgan Sr., commissioned sculptor Ortho Fairbanks to create the monument in remembrance of his father's contributions to Salt Lake City.
For many years the monument stood on Main Street and 300 South. However, with the construction of the American Stores building, the monument had to be moved. Saturday, the refurbished monument - restored to its original spot - was unveiled by John Morgan's great-great-great grandchildren Morgan Matthews, Terrance Longden and Kristen Longden.
Morgan Commercial College opened in 1866. "Grandfather wanted to give pioneers an educational opportunity," said John Morgan Jr. Classes were held day and night by the light of kerosene lamps. Courses included practical experience in banking, bookkeeping, business correspondence and commercial and international law.
In addition to Bennett, Elder David B. Haight, a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Scott W. Bean, Utah superintendent of public instruction, spoke during the dedicatory program.
"Education is a lifelong experience," Bennett said. "My grandfather passed on the importance of education to his children. This is the legacy of a man who went to the Morgan College. That's a legacy worth celebrating."
Haight said he was amazed by the broad spectrum of courses taught at the college. "It's an honor to be here with all of you to honor a most unusual man," Haight told the audience. "You ought to be mighty proud to be a descendant."
John Morgan Jr. also announced the new Morgan scholarships, $2,000 to be awarded annually to two students for use at the college of their choice. "What we're trying to do is build on the foundation of what he (Morgan) started," Morgan said.
Karen Matthews, a great-granddaughter, expressed her gratitude to Fairbanks, who also completed the restoration work. "A piece of granite is just that, unless you make it alive, and Ortho has done just that. I want people to be able to see themselves in this monument," Matthews said.