Family and BYU
One of the core beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the importance of family. Brigham Young University has taken its responsibility to family extremely seriously from its inception. This can be seen in the university’s approach to student housing and in its academic structure.
The concept of “in loco parentis” (in place of parent) has always played a strong role in the American university. At Brigham Young Academy it led Karl G. Maeser to establish the Domestic Organization. This organization was responsible for ensuring that students behaved appropriately while they were attending the academy. This organization would eventually develop into the Housing Office when Brigham Young University got into the student housing business in 1939 with the construction of a men’s residence—Allen Hall. Allen Hall was swiftly followed by a residence for women—Amanda Knight Hall. These two dormitories were the extent of on-campus housing until the 1950s and 1960s when the building boom under Ernest L. Wilkinson saw the construction of
Helaman Halls, Heritage Halls, and Deseret Towers as well as married student housing.
The importance of family to Brigham Young University can also be seen in the establishment of the College of Family Living in the early 1950s. It was quite possibly the first college in the United States dedicated to the study of the family.
It was housed in the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center—a building designed with kitchens and other spaces for studying the family. Although the College of Family Living has been incorporated into the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences and the Joseph F. Smith Family Living Center has been replaced by the new Joseph F. Smith Building, the university’s attachment to family can still be seen in today’s Family Studies Center.