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The BYU Student Alumni Association and descendants of former BYU president George H. Brimhall honor the founders of Brigham Young University each year at Homecoming with the Brimhall Essay Contest. The competition is designed to encourage high levels of scholarship among BYU students and promote understanding and appreciation of BYU’s mission and legacy and the challenges of its great founders. This year, BYU will honor Susa Young Gates.

“The school depends not on man, or any set of men. God planted it, and we are but gardeners to take care of it.”

-George H. Brimhall

Honored Founder—Susa Young Gates
Click here to submit essay.




The contest is open to all BYU-Provo undergraduate and graduate students who are full-time* during Fall Semester 2016.

  • The essay should be approximately 750 words.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on your essay.
  • Submit a pdf or Microsoft Word file of your essay online.
  • Essay deadline is Wed., Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. (MST)
  • Winners will be contacted and all other participants will receive an email by Thurs., Oct. 6.

*Full-time for undergraduate students is 12 or more credits and for graduate students is 8.5 or more credits. For less than 8.5 credits, graduate students need to petition for full-time status through the Graduate Studies Office.

The essay must establish a connection between:

  • Susa Young Gates

  • The 2016 Homecoming theme, "Go with Courage"

  • Personal reflections

In addition to connecting the three elements above, the winning essay will reflect strong writing.

Attend writing workshop conducted by a contest judge in Hinckley Center East Conference Room.

Wed., Sept. 7 at 4 p.m.
Thurs., Sept. 8 at noon

Use bibliographies provided by the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in the Harold B. Lee Library.

Read previous winning essays by clicking on one of the following links:

2007  2008  2009
2010 2011 2012
2013 2014 2015


First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Honorable Mention

  • $3,000
  • Essay Published in BYU Magazine
  • Opportunity to read essay at Homecoming Opening Ceremonies
  • Invitation to the Founders Day Luncheon
  • $2,000
  • Invitation to the Founders Day Luncheon
  • $1,000
  • Invitation to the Founders Day Luncheon
  • $500 (3 awarded)
  • Invitation to the Founders Day Luncheon