The Caroline Hemenway Harman building is on the most northern side of campus. It houses the University Conference Center, as well as offices for BYU’s Continuing Education programs. While the building is off the beaten track, it memorializes a generous and compassionate woman in Utah and Church history.
Who was Caroline Harman?
Caroline Hemenway Harman was born January 2, 1872 in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was the second of eleven children born of Lachoneus Luther Hemenway and Annie Roberts. The Hemenways settled near the Jordan River. They helped organize the Granger Ward in the Salt Lake Valley. When Caroline was 22, she met and married George Reese Harman, a man who worked for her father. They married on January 26, 1895 in the Salt Lake Temple. Caroline and George became parents to seven children. Caroline served in a number of callings throughout her life, especially serving in the Relief Society and the primary. After seventeen years of marriage, George passed away, leaving Caroline responsible for the family farm and six children. Caroline faced many more trials- she remarried twice more and outlived both husbands and saw the death of a couple of children, as well as dealt with poor health. However, Caroline did not let the trials bring her down. She chose to serve her family and her community despite her trials. As Relief Society president of the Granger Ward, Caroline served the sisters in her community. Her home was always open to neighbors and friends, and many teenagers found a place in her home. Caroline started a chicken business on her farm. During the Great Depression, she refused to receive aid from federal welfare programs, choosing to cart water from across the road. Caroline worked hard, and was remembered as such. Caroline’s son Leon Weston (Pete) Harman said of his mother, “[She] had every reason to be waited on. Yet she continually served others. She never complained. She never quit. Aunt Carrie asked for so little, and gave so much.”
The construction of the Caroline Hemenway Harman building was made possible by the generous donation by Pete Harman, the youngest step-son of Caroline. Pete wished for his step-mother’s generous and sweet legacy to be remembered for generations to come. The Harman building was completed and dedicated on April 13, 1982 by President Gordon B. Hinkley. It houses BYU’s Continuing Education programs. Those programs include BYU Independent Study, evening classes, the general studies degree, and programs for middle school and high school students. Continuing Education provides programs that range from sports and music camps for youth to BYU’s Education Week and symposiums. It also houses the offices for the Jerusalem Center study abroad. On June 24, 2016, ground was broken marking the beginning of construction for new additions to the building. After two and half years of construction, the Harman building was rededicated on February 5, 2019 by Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The new structure stands at 142,693 square feet, and the new additions created a larger space for BYU’s Independent Study program and Continuing Education offices to operate.