Nadauld’s impact proves visionary

Share This:

President Stephen Nadauld is retiring at the end of the school year after serving Dixie State University for six years.

Nadauld has been serving DSU as the 17th president of the school. He started his term as interim president for Dixie State College in March 2008 and was inaugurated as the president in March 2010.

Nadauld said he had a vision since the beginning on what Dixie State College could become, and he took the job at the right time to build and improve upon what DSC already had. 

“He came at a very interesting time because there seemed to be a little bit of animosity and mistrust among the community and the school,” said Dean of Students Del Beatty. “Also, he came at a time when budget cuts were dramatically impacting schools all across the state. He was able to save and help Dixie weather the storm through all the turmoil.”

Nadauld began the transformation with physical renovations to the campus. Making campus improvements was part of Nadauld’s goal to help the college achieve the university status.

“Without the Holland building, we would have had a hard time arguing that we looked like a university,” Nadauld said. “But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. We looked like a university with the Holland building.”

In addition to making campus improvements, the Board of Regents required the addition of more four-year degrees and full-time faculty, as well as an increase in student diversity and enrollment growth to grant DSC university status.

Nadauld said enrollment growth is up 63 percent, and adding diversity to the campus was a big part of that.

“We’ve had a huge increase in international and out-of-state students, and all of that is the diversification of the student body,” Nadauld said. “We don’t send students out to a homogeneous world of work. There are some really important things [students] need to learn about diversity with respect to ethnic origin, race, religion and all of the diversity orientations that we find in our society.”

Beatty said Nadauld’s vision for Dixie was not only about physical changes, but was also about the feeling on campus.

“He is very much a visionary,” Beatty said. “He has a vision for what it can be and what he wants it to be, and that’s what it is.”

In describing what Nadauld has done for Dixie, Beatty referred to one of his favorite leadership quotes by Warren Bennis that reads: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” And Beatty thinks Nadauld has done that “spectacularly well.”

Marketing professor Bryon Geddes said Nadauld’s level of success is due to his excellent leadership abilities.

“Institutions must be willing to zig when other institutions zag and rock the status quo when common sense dictates to do so,” Geddes said. “President Nadauld, at nearly all levels, will entertain the ideals of innovation in support of a bright future for this university.”

Nadauld said after years of hard work, he was thrilled to see his goals become a reality.

“Obtaining university status took three solid years of really hard work — certainly not just for me but for everybody,” Nadauld said. “For faculty, staff, administration and trustees, we all worked on that very, very hard because it was hugely important to us.” 

After years of making changes and improvements, Dixie State College became Dixie State University in February 2013.

Nadauld had previous leadership experience at the college level; before serving as president of DSU, Nadauld served as president of Weber State. 

Math teacher Sunee Eardley said she lived in Ogden when Nadauld assisted Weber State with becoming a university. 

“Now I live in St. George and was employed at Dixie State when President Nadauld led the college to university status,” Eardley said. “President Nadauld has been a great force for good in higher education in the state of Utah.”

Jordon Sharp, director of student involvement and leadership, wrote in an email that Nadauld has been very invested in the students who attend DSU.

“He makes himself available to students, staff and faculty alike and has an unequalled ability to represent each of the institution’s stakeholders in a fair, gracious and effective way,” Sharp wrote.

Beatty said it wasn’t uncommon to spot him at student sporting events or campus activities, and the investment in students that Nadauld has would be hard to find in presidents at other schools.

“He comes to student events, he knows students’ names, (and) he likes visiting with students, and many times presidents don’t do that,” Beatty said. “A lot of times on some campuses a student will go through [his or her] entire time at a university and they will never know what their president looks like, they won’t know his name, and they will never see him — ever.”

Students notice the amount of involvement and work that Nadauld has done during his years as president.

“We’ve had so much success with President Nadauld,” said Megan Church, a junior biology major from St. George. “He’s done a great job; he helped the school [achieve] university status and built a new clock tower.”

Brent Bowler, a junior communication major from Gilbert, Ariz., said he thinks Nadauld has done great things for DSU in his time as president. 

Nadauld said he hopes the University Tower will be a symbol of his passion for education and that it will have a lasting effect on DSU after he’s gone.

“I think the clock tower, and the icon it is for our campus, defines the learning, light of learning and a beacon of light,” Nadauld said. “I think at the end of the day that will be a pretty significant accomplishment.”

The University Tower will be dedicated tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. as a part of D-Week, and there will be a performance by the DSU Jazz ensemble as well as a firework and a LED light show synced to music played by the tower itself. The final three contestants of Dixie Idol will also perform, and the winner will be announced.

Nadauld said all of his accomplishments at DSU, including the University Tower, were inspired by his passion for education.

“My passion has really been about education and seeing people take advantage of education to improve their circumstances in life,” Nadauld said. “I think education can make such a huge difference I’ve been passionate about providing the most opportunities, to more students and a better quality of opportunities; I’m thrilled to see how it’s turned out.”