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The Tree of Wisdom

The Tree of Wisdom

UPDATE: The original Tree of Wisdom was razed in 2011 due to structural issues that came from wear and tear. A new version of the same sculpture was replaced in early 2013. The sculpture now stands just north of the Joseph Smith Building.

This white concrete sculpture, located just south of the Spencer W. Kimball Tower, was completed on July 15, 1975, by Paulsen Construction Company. The sculpture consists of 10 evenly spaced vertical, curving panels, that each weigh two tons and are five inches thick and 14 feet tall. Student body officers presented the arrangement of panels to Brigham Young University as a Centennial gift on Sept. 18, 1975. The Tree of Wisdom was created by part-time BYU faculty member Frank Nackos, with Glenn L. Enke doing the structural engineering, and was originally erected just north of the Harold B. Lee Library.

On July 29, 1996, the $21,766 sculpture was uprooted and moved to its new location south of the SWKT in preparation for the expansion for the Lee Library. The "Windows of Heaven," a 30-foot-tall stained glass structure, was presented on the same day as the the Tree of Wisdom sculpture. The two art pieces were a result of an invitation given to 40 LDS artists in 1974 to express the centennial theme: "Love of God, Pursuit of Truth, Service to Mankind."

In an Aug. 28, 1975 article in The Daily Universe, Nackos said the tree symbolizes both the planting of spiritual roots and the blossoming toward godliness. "I feel that it will be controversial," he said. "It probably always will be."

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Jaren Wilkey/BYU

The Tree of Wisdom.

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