Franklin Stewart Harris was president of Brigham Young University (BYU) from 1921 until 1945, and president of Utah State University from 1945 to 1950.
His administration was the longest in BYU history and saw the granting of the first master's degrees. Under his administration the school moved towards being a full university. He set up several colleges, such as the College of Fine and Performing Arts with Gerrit De Jong as the founding dean.
Harris was an agricultural scientist. He received his doctorate from Cornell University. He had served as the agriculture department head and head of the experiment station at Utah State Agricultural College and left BYU to become president of that institution.
The Harris Fine Arts Center on BYU's Provo campus is named after him.
"Standing on the campus where as a country boy from Benjamin, Utah, he had dreamed of the future, President Franklin Stewart Harris said on Founder's Day 1923, "Behold the greatest university campus in all the world - in embryo. More students will come, the faculty will be enlarged, new colleges will be added, and there is no end to the improvements which can be made. Truly the campus is the setting of what will undoubtedly be the greatest university in the world, a place to train for leaders."
Of Harris's international travels, Ernest L. Wilkinson wrote,
Of all the presidents of Brigham Young University during its first 100 years of existence, Harris, by all measurements, was more of an internationalist and the greatest traveler. Of those preceding Harris, Dusenberry did no traveling abroad; Maeser, although he came from Germany, never left the United States after his naturalization except for his mission to Germany; Cluff, after he became President, confined his international travels to Mexico, the Northern part of South America, and Hawaii, where he represented the Government in connection with certain annexation problems; Brimhall, except for rehabilitating from illness in Canada, never set foot on foreign soil largely to take care of University business. But none of these foreign trips were of anywhere near the importance of the Harris trips around the world to scores of universities and educational systems and to Russia, Iran, Japan, and Mexico for extended service to the world community. These trips and investigation added immeasurably to the status and prestige of the University.
The Deep respect and affection which was held by the General Authorities for Franklin S. Harris is reflected in a letter written by Stephen L. Richards just after Harris had announced his resignation: "I should advise you in advance that you have a job on your hands to reconcile me to your retirement from the Y, so come prepared but in the assurance that it is hardly conceivable that you could do anything to destroy my admiration for you, my confidence in you and my love and friendship that abound for you and yours."
"Behold the greatest university campus in all the world — in embryo. Truly the campus is the setting of what will undoubtedly be the greatest university in the world, a place to train for our leaders." —Franklin S. Harris
Frankie Estelle Spilsbury Harris
Dennison Emer Harris
Leo Lott Harris
Milton Hyrum Harris
Marion Luther Harris
Karl Orange Harris
Ireta Harris Becraft
Sterling Richard Harris
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