With the foundation laid by his six predecessors, coupled with the growth of the Church, improved economic conditions, and the unusual support of President David O. McKay and the Board of Trustees, Ernest L. Wilkinson made his contribution by building, in terms of full-time students, the nation's largest private university. Under his administration the dreams of Maeser, Hinckley, Kelly, Sperry, and others concerning the building of great tabernacles of learning on Temple Hill became a reality; some seventy-seven permanent and eighty-two temporary buildings were constructed during his presidency.
Of more importance, the growth in size and quality of the student body paralleled the physical growth of the campus. The size and professional stature of the faculty and the intellectual standards of the University also increased. Also under his administration and on his recommendation, ten stakes and 104 branches of the LDS Church were established on campus. This he considered his greatest contribution. "This university must assume the educational leadership which those who established and continued it envisioned." —Ernest L. Wilkinson