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George H. Brimhall Memorial Essay Contest

“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

Congratulations to our winners!

1st Place Essay: "Charity Never Waiteth" written by Kelvin Jensen, a law student from Orlando, Florida
2nd Place Essay: "Stay" written by Alison Wood, a senior from American Fork, Utah studying English
3rd Place Essay: "Staking Our Claim for the Future" written by Garrett Barnes, a sophomore from East Wenatchee, Washington, currently undeclared
Honorable Mention: "Fertile Ground for Faith" written by Jared Langford, a sophomore from Knoxville, Tennessee, studying Communications
Honorable Mention: "Other Than Ourselves" written by Lilli Vehikite, a sophomore from Elwood, Indiana, currently Pre-Communications
Honorable Mention: "A Rich Inheritance" written by Austin Ball, a sophomore from Raymond, Alberta, studying Comparataive Literature

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.

Though Homecoming festivities will look different this year due to the pandemic, we are still excited to sponsor the essay contest as we honor Jesse and Amanda Knight, great benefactors to BYU.


Jesse and Amanda Knight

Note: Janie Thompson was originally chosen as the 2020 honored founder as noted in BYU Magazine. Since we will not be able to highlight the performing groups she founded this year at Homecoming Spectacular, we have decided to honor Janie Thompson in 2021.


1st Place: $3,000 and published in BYU Magazine

2nd Place: $2,000

3rd Place: $1,000

Honorable Mention (3 awarded): $500


The essay must establish a connection between:

  • The honored founders, Jesse and Amanda Knight
  • The 2020 Homecoming theme “Building for the Future”
  • Personal reflections


  1. The contest is open to all full-time BYU undergraduate and graduate students enrolled Fall Semester 2020.
  2. Essays should be approximately 750 words.
  3. Your name must not appear anywhere on your essay.
  4. Submit essay online at
  5. Essay submission deadline is Friday, September 25 at 2 p.m. (MST). Submit your essay here



Does my essay have to be exactly 750 words long?

No. Your essay should be approximately 750 words long. This is about the length that BYU Magazine will allow for publishing. Be aware that BYU Magazine will likely edit the winning essay for publishing.

What format should I use for citations?

Because this is an essay, you may choose any accepted formatting citation style you like. Citations of the winning essays will be checked. However, the citiations for the winning essay will not be printed in BYU Magazine.

Can I submit my essay late?

No. The submission deadline is firm.

What is considered full-time?

Full-time for undergraduate students is 12+ credits and for graduate students is 8.5+ credits. For less than 8.5 credits, graduate students must petition for full-time status through the Graduate Studies Office.

When will the winners be notified?

The winners will be called Sept. 30. All other entrants will be notified by email Oct. 1.

Can I get feedback on my essay from the contest judges?

Unfortunately due to the large number of entrants, this is not possible.

In what format should I submit my essay?

Essays must be submitted online as a PDF or Microsoft Word document.

To be eligible, do I have to be attending classes on campus during Fall Semester?

In past years, this has been the case. However, entrants may now be full-time online-only students.