Andreas Widtsoe was born on 31 January 1872, on the island of Froen,
Trondhjem, Norway, to John A. and Anna C. Gaarden Widtsoe. He became one
of Utah's most distinguished scholars, educators, scientists, and
spiritual leaders. Widtsoe joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1881 when his widowed mother became converted to the church. In 1883
he left Norway with his mother and younger brother, Osborne for Utah,
where they established their home in Logan. He attended Brigham Young College in Logan where he graduated in 1891. He then entered Harvard University and graduated with high honors in 1894.
After graduation, Widtsoe returned to Logan to teach chemistry from 1894 to 1898 at the Utah State Agricultural College (Utah State University).
Awarded the Parker Traveling Scholarship, he traveled to Germany where
he obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Goettingen in 1899. Upon his
return to Utah in 1900, he was appointed director of the Utah Experiment
Station. He held that position until 1905 when he became director of
the Department of Agriculture at Brigham Young University in Provo.
Two years later he was chosen president of the Utah State Agricultural
College, a position which he held until 1916 when he became President of
the University of Utah.