About The Karl G. Maeser Building, Provo, UTAH

The Karl G. Maeser Building, also known as the MSRB, is a building that houses classrooms, administrative offices, and an assembly hall for the Brigham Young University Honors Program on the university's campus in Provo, Utah. The building is named for Karl G. Maeser.

Soon after the death of Karl G. Maeser in 1901, plans were begun to erect a fitting memorial to this great teacher. Ten years later the beautiful Maeser Memorial Building was completed. This graceful structure was the first permanent building on upper campus, then called Temple Hill.

Designed originally as a classroom building, it has served thousands of students. But that has not been its only function. For a while, the spacious 175-seat assembly hall, occupying the central portion of the third and fourth floors, was used for college devotionals, and for forty years it served also for faculty meetings. Briefly, in 1918, the building housed a unit of the Student Army Training Corps.

In 1921 the Maeser Building became the first home of the newly organized College of Commerce and Business Administration which, for the next thirteen years, occupied most of the building, except for part of the first floor, where the Purchasing Department, under the direction of Kiefer B. Sauls, was housed.

In 1931 the offices of the University president and other administrators were moved from lower campus to the Maeser Building. Two years later the BYU Press began its operation in the south end of the first floor, directly under President Franklin S. Harris's office. Before moving out in 1947, the press had occupied the entire first floor. For sixteen years the administrative offices shared the third floor with the campus telephone switchboard.

In the 1950s the Maeser Building assembly hall was dismantled. A partial floor was built across the second story, and the historic hall was chopped into temporary offices to help alleviate the growing pressure for office space as the University population exploded following World War II.

Upon completion of the Abraham O. Smoot Building in 1961, the administration moved out and the Archaeology and English Departments moved in, the former to the first floor and the latter to the second and third. The Department of English stayed only two years, then History occupied the northern half and Political Science the southern. This arrangement lasted for the next fourteen years, until the French and Italian Department moved into the suites vacated by History, and the German Department took those left by Political Science. Between 1981 and 1983, Anthropology-Archaeology and the two language departments also left the building.

With the decision of the administration and Board of Trustees to restore the Maeser Building to its original classical dignity, and to make it the center for the University Honors Program, a complete renovation was carried out.

The Honors Program came into being to provide capable and motivated students with an enriched education. The first quarter century of the program's operation witnessed numerous administrative adjustments and curriculum changes in order to help fulfill Karl G. Maeser's vision of this hill covered with temples of learning. Making the Maeser Building a home for the Honors Program is another appropriate tribute to the memory of Karl G. Maeser.