This unusually shaped building commemorates one of the most important patrons in BYU’s long history. Before being owned and operated by the LDS church, the young school depended on the generosity of donors and tuition to keep its doors open. Having come into much wealth through great luck in the mining industry, Jesse Knight donated large amounts of money to the school for salaries, equipment, and for many of the early buildings on campus. For his generosity, he is often called the “patron saint” of BYU.
Known affectionately as Uncle Jesse, Jesse Knight’s generosity made him crucial to the development of the early BYU and the economic success of the area. He helped to make BYU the school that it is today and earned the honor of a building bearing his name to commemorate his help.
Located near the ASB (the headquarters of the school), the Jesse Knight building is an important part of BYU history. It was built in 1960, when the school wanted a new home for its business school. It was expanded in 1966, leading to its odd design of an L shape and somewhat confusing half-floors. After the completion of the Tanner Building, the BYU Commercial College, its business school, left for the new building and Jesse Knight building became the home of the College of Humanities. Now, it also houses the BYU Police, Human Resources Development, many writing centers, computer labs, and many classrooms. Most students who attend BYU have a class in this building, as the large rooms and amphitheater-style lecture halls are ideal for large classes, and many generals are taken in this building.
The Jesse Knight building is a hallmark of campus, and commemorates the devotion of this man to the school that he so dearly supported. It is a reflection of his commitment to educating the rising generation and teaching the importance of generosity and perseverance to those who came after him.