BY KELLY BLUTH
Some people may not believe success in the 21st century springs from a strong religious background or a sound ethical code, but for Dixie State College President Stephen D. Nadauld, the content of his character and his morally conscious upbringing have been the key to his long and successful career in both the secular and non-secular worlds.
“Those of us with a spiritual upbringing and a knowledge of the truth have a special light,” said Nadauld, who holds a bachelor’s degree from BYU. “If you go into a position with that light and sense of goodness, organizations perceive value in it. You have to be completely competent relative to the requirements of the job, but if, on top of that, there is a sense of goodness and honesty and of balance in your life that you can bring to the table, you are more likely to be successful.”
And successful he was.
Attributing his many accomplishments and positions in various spheres, his latest being the current president at Dixie State College, to his strong sense in priorities, Nadauld said his experience as a student at BYU helped mold him into the person he is today, and in all the things he has and will do.
“One of the challenges that young people have is going into a job and trying to sort out the way things are done in the company, which may not be entirely ethical or upfront transparent,” Nadauld said. “BYU gives students a really good moral compass and prepares them to go into those situations and stand up for what they know.”
Having dabbled in both religious and non-religious fields, Nadauld, by staying firm and steadfast to his inherent and instilled sense of right and wrong, was able to succeed against the odds of an increasingly dishonest and corrupt modern society.
“During my MBA program at BYU, I learned that students were being hired in part because employers were hoping they would be a touch point for correct principles among their peers,” he said. “In the business world, there is a lot of dishonesty and selfish decisions, and BYU students represent a group that will voice or question something if they think it is not being done the right way or if it is not morally appropriate.”
Nadauld exemplified these traits and, along with his drive and perseverance, was thus able to rise to positions of great importance in the private sector and in religious callings. Much of his achievements were instigated by his attitude of doing whatever it takes to ethically get the job done.
“Ninety-five percent of success everywhere is showing up,” he said. “Show up to class, show up to work, show up to every responsibility you have. Roll up your sleeves and do the job. Show some pride. If you have to work twice as long as someone else to get the same results, do it. If you’re not happy, you’re not doing it right. Be cheerful the whole time.”
After graduating from BYU with a chemistry degree, Nadauld got an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Ph.D. in finance at the University of California at Berkeley. He proceeded to head the MBA program at BYU and took jobs in which he rose to both a CEO and CFO status at various corporations. President at Weber State for five years brought him back into a career where his love of education, universities and students could mutually benefit himself and those around him. Later he served The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints full-time as a General Authority.
And his education at BYU helped water that seed of faith and humility that would grow into lifelong service to the Church and others.
“If you are in the Quorum of the Seventy, you come from a background of religious education and learning and devotion,” Nadauld said. “And I think that’s definitely encouraged at BYU through religious classes and weekly devotionals, and so some of that infuses into you and then you carry that with you.”
He was called to the Quorum of the Seventy in 1991, served as the president to the Church’s Switzerland Geneva mission from 2003 to 2006 and has written two LDS books.
“Through all I’ve done, BYU has definitely prepared me in a sense to be able to stand up for what I believe in and to articulate it,” Nadauld said. “There is a special advantage at BYU where you are in an environment where your personal belief system and philosophies are aligned with the professors and students. It is a great place.”