Address for Founder's Day Program, Weber College

JAN. 7, 1938

by David O. McKay

[4] President Dixon, Honored Guests, and Fellow Students: My joy on this occasion is inexpressible, first because I have no words to tell you how much I appreciate being with you, and, second, if I did have the language adequate, the Scotch strain that I have would prompt me not to be extravagant in the use of it. You know the Scotch very seldom use superlatives in expressing their feelings or in describing any condition. I'll give you an illustration:

[5] A man's wife having died, his neighbor came in and expressed his condolence at Sandy's loss, and then praised the virtues of that good wife. she was loving, devoted, and always true to her husband. Sandy listened and finally said, Aye, Thomas, what ye say is true, and she was a' that and more: she was aye good, true wife tae me, and I cam' near tellin' her sae, aince or twice.

That is just about as effusive in praise as a Scotchman can be.

The poet wrote the lines, Backward, turn backward, O Time, in your flight; Make me a boy again just for tonight. This occasion has made me a boy again. All the memories of a sixteen-year-old boy as a student when the academy held forth in the Second Ward to the present moment have been crowding my mind. Having such memories of youth, I as somewhat surprised on this occasion to have some of these friends persist in referring to me as an old timer, and I object. Professor Henry Peterson said "though our hair is white, we are still young". I assured him that our grey hair is due to frost, and not to age.

Early Beginnings

My mind has gone back to the early beginnings of this school, and I want to say just a few words of tribute to the men whom we honor today as the founders of Weber Stake Academy, Weber Academy, Weber College, and Weber Normal College. The spirit that actuated them illustrates one of the noblest traits of human nature. I have in this little file the names of three men who constituted the Faculty 50 years ago, and through the courtesy of Professor Waldrum (the only one of them present today) I have a list of the names of the students:

Names of the First Students of the Weber Stake Academy from January 7, 1889 to May 24, 1889

 

School sessions were held in the Second Ward meeting house; Louis F. Moench was principal, with Lorenzo Waldrum and Edwin Cutler as teachers. The Students were:

Alta Anderson, Alice Anderson, Eliza Barker, Leroy Barker, May A. Brown, Mary E. Browning, Frank Browning, George Ballinger, Herbert Brown, Addie Belnap, Minnie F. Barnie, Dan W. Best, Grant Geddis, Ella Burch, Eva Burch, Brigham Ballantyne, John B. Berkhoel, Olga Berkhoel, James M. Boyle, Adie Nettie Boyle, Norman F. Boyle, Annis B. Brown, William R. Brown, Heber Ballantyne, Laura E. Ballantyne, Edna Bingham, Elisha N. Bingham, Eliza May Brown, William Banford, Elizabeth Blair, Alice M. Blair, Annie Barker, Maggie Capkin, Mary Cardon, Alice V. Critchlow, William J. Critchlow, John W. Critchlow, Theodore F. Childs, Squire Coop, Carrie Canfield, George Carr, Rose Cole, Alma Carstensen, Clarence Childs, William M. Dye, Mary Dalton, Fred F. Dalton, Eunice Dalton, Horace Dewey, Ellen Doxey, David Eccles, jun., Henry Emmett, Parley Eldredge, Lona M. Eldredge, Edna Lucy Ferrin, A. C. Farley, Annie Freeman, Joseph C. Flygar, Enoch Farr, jun., Heber Folkman, William Fowler, Alma Flinders, Reuban Farr, Reuban E. Farr, Lottie Foulger, Ezra Leon Farr, Peter C. Geertson, William H. Green, Charles L. Green, Pearl Gay, Hortense Gurrin, Nettie Herrick, Aggie Herrick, Lester Herrick, Annie Hanson, George H. Hall, Victor C. Hogsted, August A. Hedburg, Matilda Heller, William Hardy, Lettie Higginbotham, Herman Horrocks, Frank Horrocks, James Hewitt, Charles Hinchcliffe, Marcia Hinchcliffe, Mary A. Hancock, Marchia Hinchcliffe, James Engebretsen, Benjamin Johnston, Lottie Johnston, Frank Jennie, Walter a. Kerr, Edward Keyes, Andres Kerr, Elijah A. Larkin, Maude Loughney, Peter Later, Niels P. Lee, May Littlefield. Sylvia Lane, Gertrude Lamont, Richard Later, Isaac McKay, Grace McKay, Angus W. McKay, Violate Manning, David R. Marsh, Arinda Moench, Laure Moench, Ephraim Maw, Hyrum W. Marriott, Oscar B. Madson, Edward Moore, Joshua Morley, John McFarlane, Elwood Roy Murphy, David Marriott, William E. Newman, Thomas Newey, John Newey, Ada P. Oakey, Hattie Packard, George Pulter, jun., Henry Peterson, Lauritz Peterson, John J. Powell, Thomas C. Powell, Soren Peterson, William H. Peterson, Rudolph Parry, Annie Pingree, Chauncey Parry, Charles Pincock, Edward W. Pearce, Parker Pratt, Lillie Robins, James E. Riley, Whitney Richards, John F. Rawson, Ezra Richardson, Jospeh Stone, George Stadford, Ida Scowcroft, George J. Smuin, Horace Shurtleff, Mary Shipp, Lester S. Scoville, Elbert C. Stratford, Barnum Stowell, Francis Stowell, Harriet Stowell, Louie Shurtleff, Horace Stratford, Amelia Stevens, Emily Tanner, Levi Taylor, Orson Taylor, Seth Thomas, Mamie Thomas, Harry Stone, Bardella Shipp, Edith Volker, Lillie Vest, Louis Vandyke, Jane R. West, Walker J. West, Bessie Watkins, Alfred Watson, Jospeh W. Watson, Frank Wright, Ethel Walker, Diana Watson, William Watson, Mary Weaver, Porter Woodmansee, Nettie Woodmansee, T. J. Wilson, Charles Carlson, Eliza Hinchcliff, Junius Hampton, Frederick Maddock, David Marriott, Emeline Pidcock, Richard Pincock, Lottie Stephens Elizabeth Stimpson, Eller Smuin, Florence Tribe.

[6] Many of them are living, but a few have gone to their last reward. I look beyond that beginning to the men who founded his school and more particularly to the five or sic men who assumed the responsibility of establishing it, and before I name them I want you to keep in mind the noble objective that actuated those men.

This was originally, as you know, a Church Institution. At that time the funds of the Church were very low. When this institution was founded, it was difficult for the Church authorities to borrow $50,000. Keep that in mind. Church officials were passing though difficulties. Church property was confiscated, so from the general fund, the founders of Weber could draw very little if any money. They had to assume the responsibility of carrying the expenses of this school. No compensation even for traveling expenses to say nothing to salary. Under those conditions they took steps to found the Weber Stake Academy. They were actuated purely by the spirit of self-sacrifice. To them the welfare of their children was paramount. To them youth was the "Book of Beginning--story without end" When the Weber Stake Academy was first founded it was housed in the Second ecclesiastical ward of this city. For a year or two that meeting house, and a room in the rear served the purpose. From there they moved to the tabernacle on what was then Second and Main Street, I'll not take time to give dates. I believe, one year in the Tabernacle, and then the school Tabernacle, and then the school moved over to the Ogden Fifth Ward. During that time these early founders had undertaken that task of erecting this first part of the building of the Weber School---this old building which faced the East. These leaders, and the people of Weber county, assumed that responsibility. I am not sure that any financial help came from the General Office. I haven't been able to find any record of it. These men assumed the responsibility and the people made the contributions week after week, month after month, year after year for the erection of that building.

The Spirit of Service

Just a word about that spirit. Did you read recently about the wounded man in China who was left to die? One man passed him saying, "It is every man for himself," and another man fleeing for his life, seeing this man, stopped, and at the risk of his won life saved the life of that wounded friend. I leave you to conclude which is the spirit of the progress of humanity. Lately did you read of the old man in the hospital who, hearing that a young man might have his eye sight saved if some one would give the cornea of his eye, said: "You may take my eye. I am old, I will not need it much longer," and he gave his eye that the young man might see. As long as we have men in the world, not a mere few individuals but hundreds and hundreds of thousands, who are actuated by that spirit of public service, we need not worry about depression, and the misunderstandings and problems of the government and international relations. That quality of universal brotherhood is the spirit which actuated these men. That is the spirit which moves humanity forward.

The First Board

Some of the young ones do not remember Lewis F. Shurtliff, President of the Stake Board, Charles F. Middleton, second counselor, Jospeh Stratford, Robert McQuarrie, Thomas Jordan Stevens, Louis F. Moench, and David McKay who succeeded Bishop Stevenson on that Board. Those were the men, who, when they were facing the responsibility of paying for this building, had to go to the bank and borrow money and some of them for the first times in their lives signed a note which obligated their homes. True the bank did not take a mortgage on their homes, but I happen to know that one wife who was greatly worried about the fact that her husband had signed a promissory note said, "Do you know what that means--if the people fail to contribute that our home and farm are liable for the entire note?" The answer was, "yes, but do not fear; the people will pay that debt." Students, you owe something, we all owe something to the men who laid so well the foundation of this great school. Honor, Integrity, Unity of effort, the spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion to the public welfare were virtues that guided their activity and permeated the very atmosphere in which this school was first built.

Faculty Assumes Responsibility of First New Addition

When the building was completed long before it was paid for it was crowded to overflowing. Students were meeting on the steps of the old building and the members of the Faculty petitioned the Board for the privilege of building a new addition. The Board said, "Well we have had an experience for a number of years paying for the one we have." Right here, fellow educators, I think I can refer to a condition which is probably that most unique incident in the history of education in this State. As I say, the faculty asked permission to solicit funds to build this addition in which we now meet. Asked permission, mind you, that they the faculty, not the Board, might build the new addition. You will be interested in this document which I am glad I found in an old file. Here is the original copy of a letter sent out by the Weber Stake board of Education in reply to the Faculty's request. It is signed by Lewis W. Shurtliff, President and Jospeh Stratford, Secretary.[7]

To the Bishops and General Local Church Authorities, as all the Saints and all Generously Disposed Persons, of the Weber Stake of Zion, GREETINGS:

Dear Brethren and Friends:

At a meeting of the Academy Board of church Schools in this Stake held July 6, 1904, the committee appointed to visit the General Board of Church Schools in Salt Lake City reported that the Church authorities promised to contribute the necessary funds with which to purchase the ground adjoining the Weber Stake Academy on the south, provided the Saints would furnish the means to erect this building. Whereupon professor L. F. Moench offered the following: "Be it resolved that the Weber Stake Academy to canvass the Weber Stake of Zion and solicit means for the erection of an annex to the present academy building." The resolution was adopted and the President and Secretary directed to formulate a letter to the members of the faculty authorizing them to call upon the bishops an local church authorities and solicit their hearty co-operations and mutual assistance in this matter. We wish to add that these gentlemen and thoroughly familiar with the necessities that exist for increased, hence will be pleased to answer any questions on this subject.

The Academy must keep abreast of the times and hold its own in all educational advancement and be fully prepared to meet all educational competition of this city and county.

Yours respectfully,

(signed) L. W. Shurtliff, President

(signed) Jospeh Stratford, Secretary

Thus authorized, the members of the Faculty of the Weber Stake Academy in 1905-1906, in addition to their teaching, each teachers overloaded with hours, traveled around this County and solicited funds for the erection of this $40,000 building. I remember that there was a restrictions made by the Board that we must not go into debt. It was definitely stipulated that we were to proceed with this addition only as fast as we had the funds. I wish here to pay tribute to the men and women members of the Faculty and the other men and women who stood so loyally by the Faculty in that first reaching out for greater improvements. I am not going to name those to whom I refer except one, but I want to pay a worthwhile reference to some on the others side. I hope their children or grandchildren are in the audience. Mrs. Woodmansee, Mr. and Mrs. David Eccles, Mrs. Thomas D. Dee, Mr. and Mrs. Becraft, Mr. and Mrs. Heber Scowcroft, Mrs. Scowcroft is still living in Salt Lake City, Mrs. and Mrs. Jospeh Scowcroft, Henry Perry, Samuel Newhouse, to the Bishops of the Wards and to members throughout this County who were loyal and true in their efforts to uphold those of the Faculty in the completion of this building. I have to mention also in appreciation the Ogden Standard Examiner, and business men who just seemed to unite as one family in promoting the interest of this school. Wilford M. McKendrick was a former principal of this school. He hasn't been mentioned today. He and his wife are both gone but the placing in this school the first domestic arts and science departments. He went down to a real estate agency and made that agency believe that it would be to its interest to put in twelve sewing machines. The owners of the business believed him and thanked us for the privilege of putting in the twelve sewing machines. That was the beginning of the Domestic Arts Department. Another teacher who has not been mentioned today but who has been with this school from the beginning is worthy of our highest tributes. I appreciate his generosity as we recall those strenuous days. Dr. John G. Lind. (All the people arose in Tribute to Dr. John G. Lind) (Applause)

President Dixon, I am going to stop here and relate an instance that happened with President Jospeh F. Smith who was then President of the Church.

By that time the school received annual contributions from the Church. For every $1000 the faculty would raise, the Church would contribute $1000. Through Henry Peery's efforts we received $5000 in one check from Samuel Newhouse. Heber Scowcroft and others gave generous contributions. When those contributions were doubled, we succeeded in putting up the walls and covering the roof. After a celebration in the Fifth ward, I chanced to be walking with President smith west along the south side of Lester park. He looked up and saw the unfinished building. He said, "Well, David, how are you getting on with the new addition?"

"Not so very well, President Smith"

"That so? What's the matter?"

"Well, at first we received large contributions and the Church's equal contribution we were able to move along rapidly, but now the contributions are coming in very slowly in very small amounts. It reminds me of the [8] [. . .] cellar. If one inverted the can, the molasses would come out in a lump, but no matter how long one kept the can inverted, the molasses would just dribble, dribble, and the lost drop would not come out."

He smiled and said, "Shall I tell you how to get out that last drop?"

"Yes," I said.

"Warm the can."

So the faculty kept their enthusiasm warm, their spirit high and completed and paid for this Assembly Hall and adjacent rooms.

First Brass Band

There is another beginning to which I wish to refer. I was reminded of it as I came into the building today, and heard the strains of the brass band. Immediately I was reminded of the beginning of that excellent organization. Here it is: I do not know the year, but we were without a band, without music. We needed a band, but we could not buy the instruments. We chose from the students some who could play various instruments, and from the Student Body we learned of a bass drum down in Harris ville, a Cornet [sic] up in North Ogden and so on. We hitched up a team and drove around the County, and gathered up bass horns, a snare drum, a clarinet, and other noise making necessities. We chose from the students those who could play these instruments. We met in that room just east of the office for out first practice. It so happened that E. W. Nichols, a professor of music, and a skilled band director was passing the Academy when that conglomeration of discords burst on the air. Prompted by curiosity he entered the hall and through the open door saw the Principal of the school, who could not play a note or any instrument used, leading that first band. Professor E. W. Nichols said, "I will give you of my time if you will let me organize and lead this band." That was the beginning of you Weber Brass Band.

The First School Paper-- The Little Acorn

One more reference and then I am through. The first school paper was called the Acorn. It was just a few sheets, but it contained some good articles. It was sent out to some of our colleges for their exchange lists. One of these exchanges came back with he query: "Where does the little Acorn grow?" The students had left of the Ogden, Utah and the date. If any of you have a copy of the first Acorn, you should place it here in the files of this Institution.

Fellow students, it is a great thing to be able to build upon a firm foundation. It is a greater responsibility to be entrusted with the ideals of noble parents. That privilege and that responsibility are yours. God grant that as this Institution advances and takes its place among the leading Institutions of this County, this truth expressed by the wisest American. "Character is higher than intellect." "A great soul will be fit to live as well as to think."

May the Weber College ever stand for the highest and best in life!

McKay, D. O. Address for the Weber College Founder's Day Program, Ogden, Utah [January 7, 1938]. Archives, Weber State University, Ogden.

[excerpt from address by Aaron Tracy]

[15] While many now were convinced we were going to live, yet there were those who saw our finish. One of my friends said to me: "President Tracy, there is no use of your struggling on, you are sunk. A few buggles [sic] are coming up, and you are down their blowing them." (Laughter) I replied, "No, we are not sunk! We are right on top, sailing vigorously over the highest waves. We are going to be right here with a great institution for a long time." (Applause) Thus the "Spirit of Weber" battles on. The college is here to day under the strong hand of the State. This educational ship still sails on, though under the direction of a new captain.

I revere the spirit of this institution from 1922-1933. That spirit will live with the name of the institution. It shall not be a part of another institution. It will be a junior college of the first order in all the land. Students and teachers worked for it and they fought for it. I extend to them my love and respect for their loyalty to this institution. Any institution must be supported and loved, if it is to render service. This college is loved and supported and does render service.

I revere the great ideal of the college as announced and applied by President David O. McKay when he was the head of the institution. That ideal was taken by him from the philosophy of the greatest teacher of all time, Jesus of Nazareth. It is clothed in these simple but effective words: "Feed my sheep." When under the administration of David O. McKay this college fed the minds and hearts of its students. It cared for the students and was eternally after the lost sheep and more than once found the lost one.

In 1922-1933 we adopted this ideal. We kept it in constant operation. We sought the student who wanted to quit, and we wouldn't permit him to discontinue. We grouped the students according to their educational desires, and took care of them. Our policy was not to eliminate, but to hold the boys and girls to a cultural and a vocational training.