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Covey to join USU business school faculty

Stephen R. Covey
Stephen R. Covey

LOGAN — Internationally recognized authority on leadership and best-selling author Stephen R. Covey is joining Utah State University's faculty as a tenured, full professor and the first incumbent of the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Chair in Leadership, established last year.

The appointment of Covey, best known for his book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," comes at the launch of a drive to develop funding for a Stephen R. Covey Center for Leadership, which is intended to bring together students, scholars and practitioners of leadership from around the world while showcasing Covey's works.

"Because of its deep commitment to the long-term promotion of universal, timeless principles of success in life and business — principles such as integrity, trust and service — I'm absolutely thrilled to associate myself with the Huntsman School," Covey, 77, said in a statement released Thursday by USU. He said the leaders and faculty at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business "just seem to get it."

Business Dean Douglas D. Anderson said the addition of Covey to its faculty is great news for students. He said it will give the school added momentum as it continues to emphasize the importance of innovative, ethical leadership.

"Dr. Covey's life's work has been to teach principle-centered leadership, and that is a key part of what we do here at the Huntsman School of Business," Anderson said. "We know the work we will do with him will leave a legacy in the lives of our students."

Covey will be a "research scholar" at the university, giving occasional lectures at the main Logan campus while he works with faculty to establish the Covey Center, as well as continuing his work worldwide. He is co-founder and vice chairman of FranklinCovey, a firm with offices in 123 countries. He has written or co-written more than a dozen books and has seven more in production. Covey was recognized in 1996 as one of Time magazine's 25 most influential Americans and one of Sales and Marketing Management's top 25 power brokers.

"Dr. Covey believes in living his life in crescendo," Anderson said. "This means his best years and our best years are ahead. It's clear he's not slowing down. We look forward to the amazing and innovative things we'll be able to do together."

Covey, a longtime friend of Jon M. Huntsman Sr., holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Utah, an MBA from Harvard University and a doctorate of religious education in LDS Church History from Brigham Young University.

The Huntsman Presidential Chair position is partially funded by Huntsman, in support of furthering the mission, vision and purposes of the school. Funds allocated to support presidential chairs are typically private donations and may be used to support faculty salaries, instructional activities, research or other creative activities of the incumbent chair holder.

In 2007, Huntsman donated $25 million to the school and pledged to support its ongoing efforts to become a top-tier business school. In May 2009, he said he would help to fund two presidential chairs, offering the Huntsman School of Business the opportunity to draft top professors who will become key players in transforming the school.

In 2009, Covey launched a career development webinar series to help people struggling in the economic downturn. He plans to offer timely and current topics on a regular basis. Covey has said he is impressed with USU's Shingo Prize for Operational Excellence, an organization that helps companies focus on principles that create a culture of continuous improvement through employee-empowerment and effective leadership to become more competitive and efficient.

"Companies that have implemented principles taught by The Shingo Prize have made dramatic and measurable progress in achieving operational excellence," he said.