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The Origin of the Torch

A sunburst over a torch on the original Spori building.

On the facade of the original Spori Building were two prominent symbols - a sunburst over a torch - that symbolically positions heavenly light above that created by man.

The origin of the torch comes from the earliest history of BYU-Idaho.


Situated in a log schoolhouse, the Bannock Stake Academy officially opened its doors on November 12, 1888. Jacob Spori served as principal and Axel F.O. Nelson and Sarah A. Barnes served as assistant teachers. In its first year, the academy served 59 students ranging in ages from 5-20.

In 1903, a new three-story academy building was built. The structure was constructed of stone and included four offices, fourteen classrooms, a library, and an auditorium.

Various architectural styles, including neoclassic elements, were integrated into the academy building. On the façade were two prominent symbols – a sunburst over a torch. Education is often associated with gaining the light of understanding and knowledge. Placing a sunburst over the torch symbolically positions heavenly light above that created by man.

In 1964, the academy building was officially renamed the Jacob Spori Building. The building would continue to serve campus from 1903-2000. A restoration of the building was not feasible due to deterioration. During demolition in 2000, fire erupted and destroyed the remains of the Spori Building.

A newly constructed Jacob Spori Building, built in a style reminiscent of the original structure, was dedicated in the summer of 2003. Today this building houses several departments and artifacts – including the façade from the original Spori Building with the sunburst over a torch.

This subtle reminder encourages all associated with BYU-Idaho to continue to seek after the light of understanding and knowledge.