Groundbreaking for BYU’s Ezra Taft Benson Science Building
June 1993

“Groundbreaking for BYU’s Ezra Taft Benson Science Building,” Ensign, June 1993, 76

Groundbreaking for BYU’s Ezra Taft Benson Science Building

The purpose of a new chemistry building to be built on the Brigham Young University campus and named after President Ezra Taft Benson is to provide the finest education possible in science and to keep up with modern discovery, explained President Gordon B. Hinckley, First Counselor in the First Presidency, at the facility’s ground breaking.

“You can’t stand still in the world in which we live; you have to keep up or even stay a little ahead,” said President Hinckley. “That is the purpose of this building.

“In my lifetime, there have been more scientific discoveries than in all the generations of men before. Chemistry has become of the very essence of our lives, and the greatest of all chemists was the Creator.

“I hope the students who learn here will feel a deep sense of gratitude to those who made it possible. I hope the faculty will appreciate it, because there will be no finer structure for the teaching of chemistry. I’m grateful that it will bear the name of President Benson. … Worthily it bears his name, and it will become a memorial to a great life, well lived and dedicated to the improvement of people and the circumstances in which they live.”

In addition to President Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, also spoke at the April 9 ground breaking.

“I know the large footprints President Ezra Taft Benson leaves behind wherever he serves,” noted President Monson during his remarks. “I know of few leaders in the Church who have earned the international reputation of President Benson. … [He] has always been concerned with the development of a better life for the people whose lives are dependent on agriculture. … He’s a man of strong convictions, and we certainly need that in the sciences today.

“Many years ago, [while a student here,] President Benson was designated as most preferred man on campus,” President Monson concluded. “And today he still is.”

President Rex E. Lee conducted the ceremony. Four of President Benson’s children, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, also attended the event.

The design for the Ezra Taft Benson Science Building features three connected wings, according to Gene Libutti of BYU Physical Facilities. The east wing will house biochemistry facilities, while the central and west wings will have faculty and student offices, laboratories, and classrooms for the other areas of chemistry: physical, analytical, inorganic, and organic.

The east wing will be two stories tall, with both stories above ground, while the central building will consist of four above-ground levels and a basement.

The west wing’s ample ground-level space will be devoted to classrooms and three auditoriums, two of which seat 250 and another which will seat 162.

A dramatic, glass-walled study area will offer a panoramic view of the campus and mountains to the north. Smaller classrooms with capacities of twenty-five to sixty students will be located in the basement.

The three-part structure will add approximately 180,000 square feet to BYU’s academic physical facilities and will become one of the largest buildings on campus.

Architectural rendering of Ezra Taft Benson Science Building on BYU campus