1 of 3
University of Utah
The tradition of whitewashing the Block U dates back to its construction in 1905.

SALT LAKE CITY — Today marks the 161st birthday of the University of Utah. Few institutions in our state have as rich a history — and photographic history — as the University of Utah.

Before there was a state, and before there was even the territory; it was created by the General Assembly of the provisional government of the State of Deseret on February 28, 1850. It was called the University of Deseret, until 1892 when its name was changed to the University of Utah.

From a handful of students in 1850 to today's 30,000 plus students and its almost 17,000 academic and administrative staff, the U provides a well rounded education for its students and a great contribution to the community and the world.

The university has had great leaders and instructors such as: Henry Eyring, Joseph Merrill, Ivan Sutherland, Willem Johan Kolff, Stan Pulst, Russell M. Nelson, Maud Babcock, Jesse D. Jennings and Noble Prize-winner Mario Capecchi.

LDS Church presidents who attended included President David O. McKay, President George A. Smith, President Gordon B. Hinckley and President Thomas S. Monson.

Comment on this story

Other individuals who have distinguished themselves who have attended the University included: Jake Garn, Robert Bennett, Frank Moss, LeConte Stewart, Wallace Stegner, Terry Tempest Williams, Alan Ashton, Alan Kay, David Evans, John Warnock, William DeVries Robert Jarvik, Keene Curtis, Mills Lane, Gordon Gee, Lily Eskelsen, J. Willard Marriott, Nolan Bushnell, Edwin Catmul, Dave Checketts, Tom Chambers, Jerry Chambers, Keith Van Horn, Alex Smith, Mike Newlin, Arnie Ferrin and Peter Breinholt — and that is to name but a few.

Roy Webb of the Marriott Library photographic unit within Special Collections shared with the Deseret News a number of photographs that chronicle the history of the University as well as some historic images from their collections.

e-mail: UtahHistoryPhotos@gmail.com