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Proposed Junior College Plan

The early 1960s saw a lot of discussion within the Church Educational System of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about the possibility of the developing Church-sponsored junior colleges. The Church saw junior colleges as a way to increase accessibility to the high quality spiritual and secular learning found at Brigham Young University. Church leadership was beginning to realize that Brigham Young University was no exception to the national trend of rising college enrollment and that it would eventually not be able to accommodate everyone who wanted to attend the university unless they increased enrollment. Church leadership was not willing to move past the 25,000 student cap on student enrollment at Brigham Young University. With Brigham Young University unable to increase enrollment without major expansion, the possibility of developing multiple smaller institutions (junior colleges) began to be explored.

Extensive investigation into Church population and Church growth was done to determine possible junior college locations. A list of potential cities was compiled based on LDS population, growth predictions and overall church strength. The top six cities were Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Portland, Spokane, and Idaho Falls. While it was suggested that a junior college be established in each of these locations, Los Angeles had the potential of being home to three individual colleges.

The University Archives is home to various collections discussing the purposed implementation of a junior college system. They include:

  • UA 1168 Proposed pilot plan for junior colleges, 1963. This collection contains a proposal by Brigham Young University President Ernest L. Wilkinson discussing the pros and cons of LDS junior colleges.
  • UA 468 Study to establish additional junior colleges as part of the LDS Church educational system, undated. This collection contains a study and analysis of various geographical regions to determine potential sites for junior colleges.
  • UA 1239 Proposed Anaheim College Campus of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints records, 1964. This collection contains a 240 page analysis and proposal for a junior college in Anaheim California. The proposed college would facilitate 5,000 students and 250 faculty and staff.

If you would like to learn more about the resources for study the proposed junior college system, please contact the University Archivist at (801) 422-5821 or gordon_daines@byu.edu.

Post written by Joseph Wiest.

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