Franklin Stewart Harris
Franklin Stewart Harris is best known as the founder of the College of Fine Arts and Communications. Hserved as President of Brigham Young University from 1921 to 1945. Dr. Harris started the College of Fine Arts and Communication. President Ernest Wilkinson named the art center, the Harris Fine Arts Center after Harris, in 1960.
Early Life and Education
Harris was born in Benjamin, Utah, and grew up in Mexico. He later attended BYU and received his degree in 1907, a year later he married Estella Spilsbury, whom he met at school. In 1911 he attained his doctorate from Cornell University.
His experience as an agricultural scientist eventually led him to being the President of Utah State University. Harris directed experiments at USU until he was appointed as BYU’s President.
His administration was the longest in BYU history and oversaw many changes in the University. He helped the school move towards being a full university by establishing several colleges, including the college of Fine and Performing Arts (appointing Gerrit de Jong as the first Dean), added the Honors Program, and granting the first masters degrees, and establishing a library in the Heber J. Grant Building. Harris, "Mr. BYU," as he came to be known, was honored at Homecoming 1998. Under his direction, the school dramatically expanded in numbers, prominence and influence.
The Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU Provo’s campus bears his name. His name has also been given to The College of Fine Arts and Communication’s highest honor: The Franklin S. Harris Award.
President Wilkinson said in the April 1965 Daily Universe, “The reputation of the University, second to none in the country for a great lyceum concert series, is due in large part to the personal encouragement and support given by President Harris.
Harris wrote 6 books and over 600 pieces ranging everywhere from scientific papers to articles. Harris was honored as an agricultural adviser.
Daily Universe. Dedication Honors Dr. Harris. Vol. 17, No. 120. Friday, April 2, 1965. Brigham Young University. Provo, Utah.