Warren Dusenberry and Brigham Young University
July 22, 2009
The educational underpinnings of Brigham Young University were laid in the early 1860s when Wilson and Warren Dusenberry moved to Provo and established the first Dusenberry School.
The Dusenberry brothers arrived at crucial time in the cultural formation of early Provo. Territorial leaders were beginning to emphasize the importance of education and citizens in Utah County were becoming more committed to providing educational opportunities for their children. Warren and Wilson believed that education ran the gamut of available topics and their school was popular because it offered classes in the standard educational topics of the day as well as classes in drama, music, and dancing. Financial difficulties forced the first Dusenberry School to close at the end of the spring term in 1865 and the brothers became involved in other pursuits.
In 1869 conditions appeared favorable for the establishment of another school and the second Dusenberry School was established in the Kinsey Building in downtown Provo. The school proved highly successful and in 1870 was reorganized as a branch of the University of Deseret and moved to the Lewis Building. The Timpanogos Branch of the University of Deseret struggled financially from its inception—in large part because the citizens of Utah County were not willing, or able, to pay tuition. The Timpanogos Branch was forced to close in 1875. About the same time Brigham Young was looking for a way to establish an educational institution in his name. Brigham Young had been heavily involved with the University of Deseret and was aware of the educational foundation that had been laid by the Dusenberry brothers in Provo. President Young decided to take advantage of the thriving educational environment in Provo and his ownership of the Lewis Building by establishing the Brigham Young Academy there under the interim direction of Warren Dusenberry. The Brigham Young Academy opened in 1875 with Warren Dusenberry as its first principal. Warren directed the winter semester (Dec. 1875 to Apr. 1876) before stepping down to pursue other employment opportunities. His successor was Karl G. Maeser.