Founded in 1888 by Danish Mormon settlers for the purpose of educating themselves and their children, Snow College was first called Sanpete Stake Academy. Built entirely with local donations, the school had a rocky start as the locals struggled to finance their dream. The first class of 150 students met on the top floor of the Co-op Store; a building which still stands today, located on the corner of Main Street and First North.
In 1900, financial woes sent the school's principal Mr. Noyes to LDS Church headquarters to plead for Church assistance for the school, and Church President Lorenzo Snow authorized $2,000 as that year’s appropriation. In gratitude, the Sanpete patrons named their school Snow Academy after Lorenzo Snow and, at his request, after another early Latter-day Saint pioneer, Erastus Snow. The name of the school was changed to Snow Junior College in 1922 and finally to its present name of Snow College in 1923.
A celebration of its first fifty years in 1938 showed the remarkable characteristics of this small school: a strong and loyal alumni group which boasts a long list of distinguished people, dedicated faculty who were willing to sacrifice salaries for the school’s survival, and a pervading feeling that those affiliated with the school have called the “Spirit of Snow.” In 1951 Snow became a branch of Utah State Agricultural College (now USU) in Logan. It remained an adjunct to USU until 1969 when it became a member of the State System of Higher Education.
The college celebrated its Centennial with a year of activities honoring alumni and recognizing the successes and accomplishments of the first one hundred years. The school continued to build its reputation on an outstanding academic offering, and Snow became the first two-year school in the state to offer an Honors Program. The school was also recognized for its theatre productions, forensic awards, music contributions, outstanding journalism, noteworthy programs in English as a Second Language, and athletic accomplishments—including the 1985 National Championship football team.
Through the years, the growth of Snow College has accelerated and new facilities have been built to keep up with increasing enrollment. The school expanded to the west of Ephraim with plans for a Career Center, and south to Richfield as the former Sevier Valley Applied Technology Center became a branch campus and the Applied Technology Division of Snow College. The George S. and Delores Doré Eccles Center was built to house the newly created Fine Arts Division, and the Karen H. Huntsman Library was constructed along with a 400-bed student housing complex. In 2018 the Graham Science Building was completed and capital improvements on both the Ephraim and Richfield campuses are currently underway.
Utah is changing, and the needs of our growing population are changing as well. Snow College is well positioned to meet the challenges of this growth and provide unique opportunities to students seeking a higher education.