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Snow College to celebrate Founders Day

Officials will break ground on the new Robert M. and Joyce S. Graham Science Building and accept a generous donation for the Eccles Center 

EPHRAIM –   In 1888, Danish Mormon settlers founded Snow College, first called Sanpete Stake Academy, for the purpose of educating themselves and their children. The first class of 150 students met on the top floor of the local Co-op.  Dedicated faculty and staff with this same vision have been educating students for 127 years. 

By looking through history books and visiting with students, it is apparent that much has changed in those 127 years, and, yet, so much has remained the same. This place is saturated with a “Spirit of Snow” that permeates the college community.  This spirit will be the focus of the scheduled Founders Day events. 

On Thursday, November 5, at 11:30 a.m., officials will break ground on the new Robert M. and Joyce S. Graham Science Building. From 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, a science extravaganza will take place on the footprint of the new building, located on the campus corner of 100 East and Center Street. This event will include interactive science and math activities to engage all that choose to attend. The hands-on activities foreshadow the opportunities with science exploration and discovery that will be available once the building is complete. Students and community members of all ages are invited to join Snow College employees in this exciting celebration. 

Construction on the new science building is scheduled to begin in March 2016 and will be completed for fall 2017 classes. The 56,600 square foot building is organized into two wings – a classroom/office wing and a laboratory wing. The wings bracket a courtyard dedicated to STEM learning events and are linked by a glass bridge that includes student study space.  The state legislature appropriated nearly $20 million to the project, and private donations totaling approximately $3.5 million have been secured.  Directors of the George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Foundation chose the name of the new facility; Mr. Graham, a native of Fairview, Utah, and 1950 graduate of Snow College, is the current Secretary, General Counsel, and Treasurer of the Foundation.

President Gary L. Carlston said, “This groundbreaking is significant for the college. Many, many people have spent a great deal of time getting us to this point.  We appreciate the support of the state legislature, the generosity of so many donors and friends, and the tireless work of our faculty and staff.  We look forward to the completion of the new facility and pay tribute to those who have influenced and taught students within the walls of the current building.”

Music faculty and students will also receive a gift this Founders Day:  a 1873, Steinway nine-foot grand piano.  In May of 1898, the then-Sanpete Stake Academy received word from the Superintendent of Schools for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reporting there would not be enough funds to send the appropriation for the small school’s operation. Because students were enrolled and the Sanpete Valley saints were determined to see their academy survive, academy President Newton E. Noyes sold the school’s only piano – which had been purchased by local donations – for $600 to a local businessman. Recent graduates were asked to come and teach as, “service missions,” and once again the academy and its people showed their resilience. 

Through a current, generous donation, a piano similar to the one sold by Mr. Noyes has returned home and will be presented to the college during the annual Founders Day concert on Friday, November 6, at 7:30. Mr. Brent Brown will be recognized during the concert for his piano gift, and LaVar Jensen, a former faculty member and accomplished musician, will be inducted into the Horne School of Music Hall of Fame. The public is invited to attend the concert which will showcase 200+ student musicians.            

“This story of selling the only piano illustrates the sacrifice and commitment of the college’s founders and early leaders,” says President Gary L. Carlston. “Our faculty, staff, and stakeholders today are equally committed to the success of this great institution.  We recognize and appreciate all who play and who have played a role in this important endeavor of educating students and changing lives.”

The Spirit of Snow can also be experienced during Founders Week as students organize a food drive for the needy and faculty and staff participate in an employee scholarship campaign, where every dollar goes back to help Snow College students. The weekly Convocation, which is held every Thursday at 12:30, will celebrate innovation by welcoming author Russ Beck and honor veterans with a musical number performed by the students from the Horne School of Music.



Snow College, founded in 1888 by Mormon settlers, is a two-year college with campuses in Ephraim and Richfield, Utah.  Serving 5,000 students, the college has been nationally recognized for its student success rates, affordable cost-for-value, involvement opportunities, and exceptional teaching.  Learn more about all Snow College has to offer online at