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Provo is the third largest city the state of Utah with a population of 115,166. It is also the county seat of Utah County. Originally called Fort Utah when it was settled in 1849 by 33 Mormon families from Salt Lake City, the city was re-named Provo in 1850 for Étienne Provost, an early French-Canadian trapper who arrived in the region in 1825.
Provo is surrounded by beautiful mountains, rivers, lakes, canyons and in the winter, some of the "Greatest Snow On Earth". Fishing, kayacking, river rafting, hunting, shooting, biking, camping, hiking, rock climbing, sight-seeing, golfing, boating, snowboarding, skiing, snowmobiling, water skiing are just a few of the things you can enjoy within minutes of Provo
According to a study released by the Bay Area Center for Voting Research, Provo is the most conservative city in the United States with a population over 100,000. Per the Uniform Crime Reports, incidents of crime in Provo are generally much lower than the national average. The racial makeup of the city was 88.52% White, 0.46% Black or African American, 0.80% American Indian, 1.83% Asian, 0.84% Pacific Islander, 5.10% from other races, and 2.44% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.47% of the population.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) is chiefly responsible for the enormous development of much of Utah and Provo in particular. Many points of interest are related to their efforts in the area.
The LDS Provo Utah Temple is located at the mouth of Rock Canyon in Provo. This temple is among the busiest the LDS Church operates because it is so close to Brigham Young University (BYU) and the Missionary Training Center (MTC).
Each week some 475 LDS missionaries come to the MTC for 3 - 12 weeks of training before they depart on their missions. Over 50,000 LDS missionaries serve at any given time in more than 120 countries. Presently, about 1,100 instructors teach over 60 languages. The MTC building was completed in July 1976 and was expanded in the early 1990s, becoming the largest of 17 centers in the world.
Behind the temple to the southeast A large "Y" made of whitewashed concrete half-way up the steep mountain which serves as the towering backdrop to Provo city. The large "Y" has become internationally recognized as the symbol for BYU and to some degree, the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Y is the largest college symbol in the United States and at 380 feet high and 130 feet wide, it dwarfs even the letters on the Hollywood Sign. The Y was originally constructed in 1906.
Much of Provo is built around the major university it is home to. Indeed, it is referred to as "Cougar town" after the Brigham Young University (BYU) school mascot. BYU is a private university owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the largest employer in Provo. It is generally accepted that in 1875 BYU was founded by Brigham Young, the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. His goal in founding the school was made clear in the following quote: "I hope to see an Academy established in Provo at which the children of the Latter-day Saints can receive a good education unmixed with the pernicious atheistic influences that are found in so many of the higher schools of the country." — Brigham Young, 1875. His vision is realized today in the second largest private university in the country, with more than 35,000 students.
Most BYU students live near campus. BYU requires that single students live in BYU approved, non-coed housing. Students must agree to live the "Honor Code" which consists of specific standards that include no smoking, no alcohol, no pre-marital sex, and other regulations as well. BYU rules prevent apartments from being "BYU-approved" if they are more than two miles from the center of campus. Students live either in on-campus housing north of the University or just south of campus, in an area dedicated to student apartments and condos.
BYU offers 194 bachelor's degree programs, 68 master's degree programs, 25 Ph.D. programs, and a Juris Doctor program. The campus sits on approximately 560 acres and includes 311 buildings. BYU's Harold B. Lee Library was ranked by the Princeton Review as the #1 "Great College Library" in 2004, has approximately 8½ million items in its collections, contains 98 miles of shelving, and can seat 4,600 people. The Spencer W. Kimball Tower is home to several of the university's departments and programs and is the tallest building in Provo, Utah. BYU's Marriott Center is used for various functions (most noteably as a basketball arena) can seat over 22,000 and is one of the largest on-campus arenas in the nation.
The campus is home to several museums. BYU's Museum of Art is one of the largest and most attended art museums in the area. The Museum is also open to the general public. The Museum of Peoples and Cultures is a museum which focuses on native cultures and artifacts of the Great Basin, American Southwest, Mesoamerica, Peru, and Polynesia. It documents BYU's archaeological research. The Earth Science Museum displays the many fossils found by BYU's Dr. James A. Jensen (Dinosaur Jim Jensen). It is one the top five collections in the world of fossils from the Jurassic time period and has been featured in many magazines, newspapers, and television shows. The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum features plant and animal life.
In addition BYU is home to several performing arts buildings. Seating 500, the Pardoe Theatre is BYU's largest. The Margetts Theatre is a smaller, black box theater. It seats 125. The Nelke Theatre is used for instruction in experimental theater and seats 280.BYU offers an exceptional performing arts program. Their Ballroom Dance Company is one of the best formation ballroom dance teams in the world. They have won the United States National Formation Dance Championship every year since 1982. Their Ballroom dance team has won first place in Latin or Standard (or both) every year they have competed at Blackpool, and they were the first United States team to win a trophy at Blackpool. The NDCA National DanceSport championships are often held at BYU. BYU offers numerous ballroom dance classes, educating thousands of students per semester, making it by far the largest ballroom dance program in the US.
The Young Ambassadors have been performing song and dance for 50 years. They have performed throughout the US and throughout the world. They have performed for many noteable foreign dignitaries.
BYU also has a long running tradition in both concert and marching bands. The Symphony has toured many countries. BYU also has a marching band program called the Cougar Marching Band.
BYU has a choral program with over 500 members which makes it one of the largest in the United States. There are also four auditioned choirs:
BYU Singers (40 voices), BYU Concert Choir (85-95 voices), BYU Men's Chorus (at 210 male voices it is the largest male collegiate choir in the US), and BYU Women's Chorus (200 female voices).
Led by Cosmo the Cougar, BYU has a devoted fan base for all of its many sports programs.
In 1984 the BYU football team was declared NCAA Division I-A national champions. The undefeated Cougars (12-0-0) beat the Michigan Wolverines (6-6-0) 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego on December 21, marking the only time a national champion played in (and won) a bowl game before New Year's Day. Heisman Trophy Winner In 1990, quarterback Ty Detmer won college football's highest individual award, the Heisman Trophy. Detmer is the only BYU football player to win the award. Detmer passed for 5,188 yards and 41 touchdowns during the 1990 season, with 28 interceptions. During the same season, he also led BYU to defeat the top ranked Miami Hurricanes 28-21 in Provo. The Davey O'Brien Award The Davey O'Brien Award has honored the nation's best quarterback since 1981. BYU quarterbacks have won the award four times—more than any other school. Former NFL greats Jim McMahon and Steve Young both won the award while at BYU, and in 1991, Ty Detmer became the first of only three quarterbacks to win the award twice. BYU has an overall 8-16-1 record in bowl games. Until 1999 the school colors were bright royal blue and white. In 1999 the school colors switched to dark blue and tan, and the football helmets switched from white to dark blue. these new football uniforms were unpopular, and the traditional design with the white helmet was reinstituted for the 2005 season—although the darker blue remained on the home jerseys and the road pants.
BYU's head football coach from 1972-2000 was LaVell Edwards. Edwards is a legend among college football coaches, winning 257 games over a span of 29 years. Only five other head coaches have won more games. He was twice awarded with Coach of the Year awards (1979 and 1984). Under Edwards's leadership, the Cougars were conference champions 20 times, had 26 winning seasons, played in 22 bowl games, and held a top-25 ranking for some portion of 22 different seasons, including 9 seasons with top-10 rankings. After Edwards' retirement in 2000, BYU renamed its football venue from Cougar Stadium to LaVell Edwards Stadium in his honor.
In 2001, head coach Gary Crowton started BYU out with 12 consecutive wins. The team was ranked 7th before finishing the season with 2 losses. BYU won only 14 of its next 35 games. Crowton resigned at the end of 2004, following three consecutive losing seasons.
Bronco Mendenhall took over in 2005 and led the Cougars (6-6) to their first bowl game since 2001, and the Cougars finished second in the Mountain West Conference (5-3). The Cougar offense ranked second in the MWC in scoring and sixth in the nation in passing. The Cougars finished the 2006 season as Mountain West Conference Champions and were ranked in the top 20 for the first time since 2001. The team finished the regular season with a 10-2 record, having finished unbeaten (8-0) in the conference. On December 21, they beat the Oregon Ducks 38-8 in the Las Vegas Bowl. The win was the largest margin of victory for BYU in their bowl game history.
BYU has had a long running regional rivalry with the University of Utah. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal ranked it the number four rivalry in the nation. Over the years (1993-2006), 11 contests in the rivalry have been decided by a single score, and several games have been won by a score in the final minutes. In 2005, Utah upset BYU in overtime. In 2006, BYU broke Utah's four-year winning streak with a last-second touchdown. BYU's overall record in the series is 29-49-4, but between 1972 and 2006, BYU posted a 24-11 advantage in the rivalry.
The BYU men's basketball team is among top 25 NCAA programs for total victories. As of 2006, BYU had 82 winning seasons, 26 conference titles, 21 NCAA tournament invites, 10 NIT invites, and 2 NIT titles. In 2005, the BYU was ranked 36th in Street & Smiths "100 greatest College Basketball Programs of All Time," based on NCAA tournament success, NIT success, national championships, conference regular-season and tournament titles, all-time win-loss percentage, graduation percentage, NCAA infractions, NBA first round draft picks, and mascot ferocity.
Much of the team's success came in the 1950s and 1960s but the team was revived in the late 1970s. With point guard Danny Ainge, the Cougars captured WAC titles in 1979 and 1980. In 1981, despite placing third in the conference the cougars managed to defeat Notre Dame in the NCAA tournament and advance to the "Elite Eight", where they were beat by Virginia. The Cougars finished the season 25-7 and ranked 16th in the nation. In this, his final season, Ainge was named All-American and was awarded the Eastman and John Wooden awards as college basketball's outstanding player.
Coach Steve Cleveland took the Cougars to 2 MWC championships and 3 NCAA tournament invitations before leaving in 2005. Dave Rose took over as head coach upon Cleveland's departure to Fresno State. He helped the cougars to a 20 win season in the 2005-2006 season. In the 2006-2007 season, the Cougars became nationally ranked and won the Mountain West Conference regular season championship. 2007 was also the first year to beat rival University of Utah at both games since 1994.
Various other sporting programs are offered at BYU and have enjoyed noteable success:
The Womens Cross-country team won the NCAA National Championship in 1997, 1999, 2001, and 2002.
BYU has also won NCAA National Championships in golf, track, and men's volleyball in 1999, 2001, and 2004.
Men's Lacrosse is consistently ranked among the top 5 in the nation.
Men's soccer club in the United Soccer Leagues' Premier Development League.
BYU is a major competitor in the American collegiate rugby union.
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