Filed Under Education

Marigold Mall

The beautiful landscape of Marigold Mall was named in remembrance of Marigold N. Saunders. After visiting campus as a guest of Adelaide Hardy, Saunders became a patron of BYU students when she bequeathed her fortune to funding scholarships at BYU and other colleges in the West.

Marigold Mall is a pedestrian mall nestled between the Harold B. Lee Library, Herald R. Clark Building, and Martin Classroom Building on the west and the Wilkinson Student Center, Harvey Fletcher Building, and Clyde Engineering Building on the east. The space has been named and maintained in honor of Marigold N. Saunders and her generous gift to Brigham Young University.

A resident of Oakland, California, Marigold N. Saunders was the wife—and, in her later years, the widow—of H.J. Saunders, a life insurance executive who had worked for companies such as New York Life Insurance and California–Western States Life Insurance. The couple had no children or heirs, but they took an interest in supporting the young. Personal friend and colleague Grant Taggart remembered them as “an inspiration” who mentored him from an eighteen-year-old salesman into a member of the California–Western board of directors.

After contemplating how to bequeath her wealth, Saunders decided to leave it to college students in need in the form of scholarships. Saunders named Taggart executor of her estate and instructed him to take whatever remained of her wealth after other bequests and taxes and donate it to universities and colleges of his choosing.

BYU was one clear choice. Saunders had visited BYU as a guest of Adelaide Hardy before Hardy’s passing in 1967. As the Provo Daily Herald related, Saunders “was tremendously impressed by what she saw and learned about the University, what it stood for, and what it was doing with young people.”

After contacting BYU administration, in May 1977 Taggart publicly announced the Saunders estate was donating $500,000 to BYU for the establishment of an endowment to fund scholarships. Dallin H. Oaks, BYU president at the time, announced that this endowment would annually finance twenty-five “Marigold N. Saunders Awards.” Each grant fully funded a student’s tuition for two semesters. In gratitude, the Board of Trustees moved to name the campus’ north-south pedestrian mall “Marigold Mall,” in Saunders’s honor, and landscape it with decorative flora, including marigolds.

Today, a commemorative plaque on the east side of the Lee Library denotes Marigold Mall. The landscape stretches as far south as Campus Drive, encompassing both the concrete sidewalks between the library and Wilkinson Center and the grassy lawns between the Clyde Building and Martin Building.

In addition to the sidewalks, benches, and lawns—perfect for resting between classes—the mall also hosts three distinctive art pieces. The class of 1916 established a sundial on the mall, giving the time during daylight hours. Since 1975 (just two years before the mall was named for Saunders), the south end has featured Windows of Heaven, a stained glass statue by sculptor Francis P. Riggs commissioned to celebrate BYU’s centennial year. And in 2002, BYU relocated First Born—a statue featuring a family holding hands—from the then-demolished Smith Family Living Center to the north end of the lawns on Marigold Mall.

Saunders’s gift continues to finance what is now known as the Marigold N. Saunders Scholarship, which fully funds each recipient’s tuition for a year, and Marigold Mall continues to express BYU’s “grateful remembrance.”

Images

Marigold Mall
Marigold Mall A view of Marigold Mall facing southwest, with the south half of the mall stretching into the background on the left and the Herald R. Clark Building in the background on the mid-right. On the left, the statues First Born and Windows of Heaven are visible in the distance. Source: Nate Edwards, March 22, 2017. Courtesy of BYU Photo. https://byuphotos.photoshelter.com/galleries/C0000wxtzYQ9kNb8/G0000vgwlQCrzW4E/I0000u03Knw5LihY/1703-52-GCS-Spring-0002-JPG.
Marigold Mall in bloom
Marigold Mall in bloom A view of Marigold Mall, facing north, toward the Harold B. Lee Library (in the background on the left). Note the flowers in the midground. When BYU administrators named the mall after Marigold N. Saunders in 1977, they also announced the area would be landscaped with marigolds in her honor. Source: Negative 27, sheet 4332B, folder 183, box 19, BYU Photo photographs collection (UA 5754). BYU Photo, ca. 1980s. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archives.lib.byu.edu/repositories/14/resources/12396.
Marigold N. Saunders
Marigold N. Saunders Pictured on the left is Marigold N. Saunders, the namesake of Marigold Mall (on the right is Grant Taggart). By bequeathing her fortune to colleges around the West, Saunders has helped numerous students achieve higher education. Source: Courtesy of the Northwest College Foundation. https://northwestcollege.academicworks.com/donors/marigold-n-saunders-scholarship-endowment.
Marigold’s origins
Marigold’s origins Dallin H. Oaks (left) was president of BYU in 1977; Grant Taggart (right) was the executor for Marigold N. Saunders’s estate. Here they stand in front of what was the south mall of BYU campus, renamed Marigold Mall in gratitude to Saunders for her donation to fund new student scholarships. Source: Negative 1, sheet 2373, folder 186, box 11. Mark Philbrick, May 9, 1977. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archives.lib.byu.edu/repositories/14/resources/12396.
Oak and Taggart
Oak and Taggart BYU president Dallin H. Oaks (left) and Saunders estate executor Grant Taggart (right) can be seen holding a map of campus; perhaps Oaks pointed out to Taggart where Marigold Mall was relative to the rest of BYU. Source: Negative 4, sheet 2373, folder 186, box 11. Mark Philbrick, May 9, 1977. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archives.lib.byu.edu/repositories/14/resources/12396.
Marigold then
Marigold then Another view of Marigold Mall. Notice the absence of the statue First Born, which was moved to the lawn in the foreground in 2002. Source: Negative 33, sheet 4343, folder 194, box 19, BYU Photo photographs collection (UA 5754). Lynn Howlett, October 1986. Courtesy of University Archives, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. https://archives.lib.byu.edu/repositories/14/resources/12396.
Marigold memorial
Marigold memorial This plaque, placed just east of the Harold B. Lee Library, designates Marigold Mall and summarizes her gift to BYU. Source: “Marigold Mall.” Ben PL, January 15, 2017. Via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0). https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Marigold_Mall.jpg.
Marigold memorial surroundings
Marigold memorial surroundings The building behind the plaque (visible in the foreground) is the Harold B. Lee Library. Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 17, 2022.
North half
North half The north end of Marigold Mall lies between the Wilkinson Student Center (on the left) and the Harold B. Lee Library (on the right). The memorial plaque is visible in the mid-lower right hand corner (look for the dark gray quadrilateral). Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 17, 2022.
South half
South half The southern end of Marigold Mall lies between the Clyde Engineering Building (on the left in the background) and the Martin Classroom Building (on the right in the background). The First Born and Windows of Heaven statues are visible in the midground and background respectively. Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 17, 2022.
1916 sundial
1916 sundial This stone sundial, over a hundred years old now, stands as a testament to the presence of the class of 1916. Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 13, 2022.
“Only the hours of sunshine”
“Only the hours of sunshine” Though perhaps not the most precise timekeeping device, BYU students even today can check the time using this sundial—during daylight hours, that is. Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 13, 2022.
Windows of Heaven
Windows of Heaven In 1975, BYU students commissioned formalist sculptor Francis P. Riggs to craft Windows of Heaven as “A Centennial gift from the Studentbody” (see next photograph for the plaque at the base of the statue). Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 21, 2022.
“A Centennial gift”
“A Centennial gift” After spending some time teaching at BYU part-time, Riggs began teaching full-time in 1972, just three years before this centennial gift was established. Riggs has been called “one of the most significant nonobjective sculptors of Utah.” Source: Contributed by Makoto Hunter, January 21, 2022.
American Sycamores
American Sycamores In 2006, the American Sycamores between Marigold Mall and the Fletcher Building were “Favorites of Max L. Darrington (BS ’86), the university's arborist.” Source: “A stately American sycamore displays its fall palette.” Bradley H. Slade, Summer 2006. In Darais, Norman A. “Trees for All Seasons.” BYU Magazine, Summer 2006. https://magazine.byu.edu/article/trees-for-all-seasons/. Courtesy of Y Magazine. Creator: Bradley H. Slade
Adelaide Underwood Eldredge Hardy
Adelaide Underwood Eldredge Hardy BYU was chosen for Marigold N. Saunders’s philanthropy thanks to a visit Saunders made to the campus as a guest of Adelaide Hardy. Source: Image 1. Media, “Adelaide Underwood Eldredge.” Church History Biographical Database. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://history.churchofjesuschrist.org/chd/individual/adelaide-underwood-eldredge-1877.

Location

This pin approximately marks the location of the Marigold Mall memorial plaque. The mall stretches down the stairs south of the Lee Library and all the way to Campus Drive.

Metadata

Makoto Hunter, Brigham Young University, “Marigold Mall,” Intermountain Histories, accessed May 20, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/574.