Howard S. McDonald

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Howard S. McDonald
Howard Stevenson McDonald 2.jpg
McDonald pictured in The Banyan 1946, BYU yearbook
President of
Brigham Young University
In office
July 1945 – October 1949[1]
Preceded by Franklin S. Harris
Succeeded by Ernest L. Wilkinson
Personal details
Born (1894-07-18)July 18, 1894
Holladay, Utah
Died October 25, 1986(1986-10-25) (aged 92)
Los Alamitos, California

Howard Stevenson McDonald (July 18, 1894 – October 25, 1986) was President of Brigham Young University (BYU),[1] Los Angeles State College (now known as California State University, Los Angeles), San Fernando State College (now known as California State University, Northridge), and Los Angeles City College.


McDonald was born in Holladay, Utah. He served as a missionary in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in the Eastern States Mission,[2] which was headquartered in New York City. He spent part of his mission as president of the Western Pennsylvania Conference headquartered in Pittsburgh. While serving in this area he met Ella Gibbs, a young lady serving as a missionary who was the first Relief society president in Pittsburgh. Ella was later transferred to Baltimore.[3]

The Howard S. McDonald building at Brigham Young University

After he returned from his mission McDonald sought out Ella Gibbs and they began courting. Howard and Ella married in the Salt Lake Temple on 26 September 1917. They had two daughters.[4] Their first daughter Ruth was born while McDonald was serving in France as part of the United States Army during World War I.[5]

McDonald graduated from Utah State Agricultural College in 1921,[4] where he also taught.[2] He later taught in San Francisco public schools, and in 1925 he received his M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley.[1] Several years later he completed a Doctorate of Education also from the University of California. In 1952 he received a Doctor of Humanities. From 1944–45, McDonald was superintendent of schools in Salt Lake City, Utah.[2] McDonald became president of Brigham Young University in 1945. Enrollment more than doubled in the winter and fall semesters as veterans from World War II came home and enrolled at BYU. His administration was able to get many temporary buildings that housed the huge influx of students, and they began to build permanent buildings to replace them.[1]

The relationship between McDonald and trustees was strained as McDonald's increasing emotion left trustees frustrated. President Clark was also unhappy with McDonald's performance as president of BYU and as tension grew McDonald began looking for another job.[1] In 1949, McDonald left BYU to become president of Los Angeles City College.[2] When students began to protest the loyalty oaths faculty were demanded to make he reportedly said, "mind their own business".[1] Later the entire student council resigned in protest.[1]

He helped found San Fernando State College now known as California State University, Northridge (CSUN) in 1951, and became president of Los Angeles State College now known as California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) in 1962.[4] Fifteen years after leaving the BYU president he returned to Utah and served as president of the LDS Church's Salt Lake Temple from 1964 to 1968.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Bergera, Gary James; Priddis, Ronald (1985). "Chapter 1: Growth & Development". Brigham Young University: A House of Faith. Salt Lake City: Signature Books. ISBN 0-941214-34-6. OCLC 12963965. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Howard S. McDonald, ca. 1945". BYU Campus Photographs. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  3. ^ Wilkonson, Ernest L., ed., Brigham Young University: The First 100 Years. (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1975) Vol. 4, p. 463.
  4. ^ a b c "LDS Scene". Ensign: 79–80. February 1987. Retrieved 2009-06-02. 
  5. ^ Wilkinson. Brigham Young University Vol. 4, p. 463
  6. ^ Buchanan, Frederick S. (1996). Culture Clash and Accommodation: Public Schooling in Salt Lake City, 1890-1994. Smith Research Associates. ISBN 1-56085-082-5. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Franklin S. Harris
 President of Brigham Young University 
July 1945 – October 1949
Succeeded by
Ernest L. Wilkinson