r reflect

Celebrating 50 Years

What do Elton John, the Dalai Lama, President Gerald Ford, and tens of thousands of U graduates have in common? They’ve all either performed, spoken, or received diplomas in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Millions of basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics fans have also celebrated spectacular victories and commiserated on agonizing losses since its opening as the Special Events Center in 1969. Visit utahutes.com/huntsman50 for more history and trivia, and share your favorite Huntsman Center memory on social media with the hashtag #Huntsman50.


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  1. I was a freshman football player at the U of U in the fall of 1969. We had a few practices where we had to dress at the old Einar Nielsen field-house before we opened the SEC which was a state of the art facility. It was a momentous occasion to be in the moment of modernization of the entire athletic department which set the path to today. Literally I was part of an unbelievable transition of athletic history at U of U. Go Utes!

  2. My favorite memory at the Huntsman Center is the Fiona Apple concert that took place in October of 2006 during my senior year at the U.

    She is an incredible artist that presented a brilliant performance that evening!

  3. Watching Larry Bird and Magic Johnson practice at the Huntsman Center before the 1979 NCAA Championship Game. As a married student couldn’t afford tickets.

  4. March 1979, the NCAA Final Four Basketball Tournament featured Michigan State, Indiana State, University of Pennsylvania, and DePaul. I was 12 years old. My Dad and I sat on the second to last row of the “Special Event Center”where I watched Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird play in the Finals. Unforgettable!

  5. My favorite memory was performing Leonard Bernstein’s “MASS” in the Special Events Center. I’ll never forget the many times we had to run from floor to rafters multiple times in rehearsals.

  6. The State basketball championship 1973 my high school senior year at the Special Events Center. We lost and it was agonizing. John Denver (twice), Dionne Warwick, and three university graduation ceremonies- two of my own and one of my sons.

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