The Ernest L. Wilkinson Student Center was completed in 1964 and named for Ernest L. Wilkinson, sixth president of BYU (1951–1971). As the number of students increased, both students, faculty, and administrators felt that campus needed a student or community center for large events, administrative offices, and other student activities. Construction on the Wilkinson Center began in 1960. The funding for construction came from the student fund, the Church, and auxiliary funds. The final cost of the construction of the Wilkinson Center was at $6,000,000. It became the largest university student center on the Wasatch Front. It also became the only building on campus to be named after a current BYU President.
The modern-day Wilkinson Student Center hosts numerous businesses, student activity and help offices, and a food court. On the main level, the BYU Bookstore takes up southwest corner of the building, the largest business in the Wilk. They sell textbooks and school supplies, BYU school spirit gear, with an LDS Distribution Center on the lower level. Recently, they expanded their sweets and candy counter, of course selling BYU specialties such as chocolate covered cinnamon bears and fudge. Additionally, the Wilkinson Center houses multiple food services. Located on the main level is the food court, known as the “Cougareat,” which is a popular lunch area for students and visitors alike. There Wilk also has two additional restaurants, the Wall located in the Southeastern corner on the first floor and a high class restaurant, the Skyroom, taking up the entire 6th floor.
The Wilkinson Center ultimately tries to cater to the needs of the students. It houses a post office, full-service copy center, and a barber shop and salon, to provide services for students close to campus. It also provides spheres for entertainment, such as a bowling alley with arcade games and billiards, a movie theater, and two large ballrooms. The ballrooms are often used for dance classes held on campus, as well as a space for various conferences and clubs to meet.
Most of the student service offices are located in the Wilkinson Center. Student activity offices such as the Y-Serve office, and BYU, are located on the second and third floor of the Wilk. University advisement and other student services such as Career Services and CAPS can be found first and second floors. The Wilk has become a central hub for students and visitors alike, to get involved in the everyday life of BYU campus.