Aline W. Skaggs BUILDING

Located immediately east of the South Biology Building, the Aline W. Skaggs building was built on the site of the old gymnasium building, later known as the Dance Building. Also demolished for the construction was a small brick building that formerly housed the University seismograph and a small, wooden ex-Army building moved to the site following WWII. James Ehleringer was the department chair at the time and instrumental in overseeing the project.

The building is named for Aline Wilmot Skaggs, a philanthropist whose aim was to alleviate human suffering. The ALSAM Foundation is named in honor of L.S. ”Sam” Aline’s husband, and is still the support of a variety of causes and organizations. In addition to its signature donation to the Aline W. Skaggs Biology Building (ASB), the Foundation has made significant donations to the University of Utah, The Scripps Research Institute, numerous colleges of pharmacy across the Western United States, and many other organizations.

Often credited as the father of the modern super drug-store chain, Mr. Skaggs took over his family’s Idaho grocery store business after his father’s death in 1950. Mr. Skaggs grew the business from a regional industry leader into American Stores, which at one time was the third largest food and drug chain in the country.

Mr. Skaggs died in 2013 at the age of 89. Aline, a Boise native who loved animals—especially her beloved poodles and pet deer “Lafena,” as well as horses—was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utah in 1990. She is remembered by her four children as an excellent golfer, an avid bridge player, an outstanding cook. who loved reading, and enjoyed country music, especially her favorite, the gospel-infused The Oakridge Boys. She passed away in 2015.

"This building has the best coffee shop on campus. The shop is called Brio and is student-owned."

Though designed primarily for research, the new building includes two large lecture halls, the largest is where the Frontiers of Science, the University's longest-running lecture series, is regularly staged.

"The best place to study is a quiet, sunny, area called the “cell bridge” which links ASB to the South Biology Building.  Students are able to write with dry-erase markers on whiteboards and on the windows of the bridge."



  • When the building was finished, a stand-off developed between the University and the State Legislature concerning funds for operation and maintenance of the building, estimated at $680,000 annually. Though the Skaggs gift, along with a subsequent bond issue to be paid off from research funds, entirely funded the construction, the Legislature made no appropriation to operate it. The Legislature eventually agreed to pay for all but $200,000 of the annual bill.
  • The windows of the cell bridge between South Biology and ASB are actual images of cells.


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