Filed Under Education

Spencer W. Kimball Tower (KMBL / SWKT)

The Spencer W. Kimball Tower was completed in 1981 and is the tallest building on BYU’s campus. It houses the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences and the College of Nursing.

The Spencer W. Kimball Tower was completed in 1981. It is the tallest building on BYU’s campus, standing at 161 feet with 12 floors, and was the tallest building in Provo until 2018. Architects of the building decided to position it at a 45-degree angle to nearby buildings in order to offset a potential corridor effect, an increase in wind speed caused by buildings arranged in straight lines.

The Kimball Tower is home to the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences and the College of Nursing. The School of Nursing was made the College of Nursing in 1958. It was originally housed in the Smith Family Living Center but moved to the Kimball Tower in 1982. Today, the College of Nursing offers both baccalaureate and graduate degrees and the employment rate for graduates is 100%. The College of Family Home and Social Sciences was established in 1981 and includes the departments like Economics, Family Life, History, Political Science, Psychology, and Social Work.

The Kimball Tower also houses the International Cinema, which is supported by the College of Humanities. The Cinema offers free screenings of international films to supplement foreign language class curriculum at BYU and offers approximately 164 screenings each semester.

In 2018, the building’s abbreviation was changed from SWKT to KMBL, possibly at the request of the Kimball family. BYU students had become accustomed to referring to the building as the “Swikkit,” while university leadership encouraged them to refer to the building as the Kimball Tower in order to respect the building’s namesake, Spencer W. Kimball.

Spencer W. Kimball served as President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1973 to 1985. As a young man he had hoped to become a schoolteacher and attended the University of Arizona and BYU. He described the importance of “education for eternity,” and said that BYU faculty had “blended successfully things secular and things spiritual in a way that has brought to you earned respect in both realms.” Of his hopes for BYU, he said, “Where all universities seek to preserve the heritage of knowledge that history has washed to their feet, this faculty has a double heritage—the preserving of knowledge of men and the revealed truths sent from heaven.”

Images

Kimball Tower
Kimball Tower Kimball Tower facing northeast. Source: "Brigham Young University photographs of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower." L. Tom Perry Special Collections Digital Collections, Brigham Young University. UA 827 box 6 folder 9. https://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/digital/collection/SCMisc/id/20907
Kimball Tower
Kimball Tower Kimball Tower facing southwest. Source: BYU Campus Maps. https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/48642706988_f2d85fd820_b.jpg
Kimball Tower
Kimball Tower Kimball Tower facing east. Source: BYU College of Nursing Home Page. https://nursing.byu.edu/
Kimball Tower
Kimball Tower Kimball Tower facing east. Source: BYU Political Science Home Page. https://politicalscience.byu.edu/

Location

Metadata

Allie Patterson, Brigham Young University, “Spencer W. Kimball Tower (KMBL / SWKT),” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 18, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/385.