Birthplace of U Restored and Then Dedicated

Paying $8 tuition, 25 students enrolled in the first quarter of higher education offered in Utah in 1850. While waiting for the completion of buildings on what is now the University of Utah, the students attended classes at the University of Deseret?the U’s predecessor?in the home of John Pack.

Saturday, a restored version of Pack’s house was dedicated at This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Calling the Pack Home “the birthplace of one of the great universities of the world,” Elder M. Russell Ballard, member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, dedicated the 30-foot by 60-foot replica.

About 150 people?primarily Pack family members?crammed into the small, pioneer-era structure for the event.

The U donated about $15,000 to the $250,000 home reconstruction effort, said Bob Raybould, one of Pack’s descendants. Along with donations from alumni and the Eccles foundation, about $28,000 came as a result of U ties.

The ceremony happened one day before the 151st anniversary of the first day of classes in the Park Home.

Sporting a crimson sweatshirt before Saturday’s football game, U Board of Trustees Chairman Jim MacFarlane represented the U at the event, both because the Pack Home was the birthplace of the U, and because of ties to Crimson Club member Raybould, who has helped raise funds for the U.

“I love the University of Utah,” Raybould said.

Raybould wished more representatives from the U could have attended, noting a dedication ceremony in Fort Douglas occurred concurrently to the Pack Home’s.

This Is The Place Foundation Chairman Randon Wilson invited U groups and administration to use the home in the future, such as for trustees meetings.

“I’m hopeful we’ll be able to have a trustees meeting here,” especially during the Olympics when space on campus is so tight, MacFarlane told The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Ballard attended the U, but pursued business rather than complete his degree, which he regrets. He commented about the importance the LDS Church places on education, both for professional and spiritual ends.