Education: Mormon Dynamo

The big 1918 influenza epidemic was at its height, and almost every man in the two companies of Students Army Training Corps recruits at Utah's Mormon Brigham Young University had the dreaded fever. Among them was Private Ernest Wilkinson—a short (5 ft. 5 in.), devout and dedicated boy who was then in his sophomore year at B.Y.U. As he prayed for recovery, young Wilkinson made a vow: If he lived, he would "do something great for the Lord's university."

Eventually, he more than fulfilled his vow. In 1950 he took over as president, promptly launched the most vigorous building campaign that shaky...

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