Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Want to take the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business to prom?

Serious Facebookers love being “liked” on Facebook. It shows that their friends enjoyed the post that they just put up.

I’m feeling a little too “liked” recently. Last Thursday we invited every architectural firm that might be interested in bidding on our new building to attend an information meeting here. In fact, it was a mandatory meeting. If they wanted to bid, they had to come to the meeting. As it turns out, there are a lot of them, more than 20 of them, who would like to be a part of the history of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

The truth is, that I only want to work with an architectural firm that has either designed a business building before or architects who are partnering with another firm that has already tackled such a project. So as not to get the other suitor’s hopes up, I explained this requirement and tried to make it very clear that we want a firm that has the right kind of experience. Not everyone need apply. We only get one prom and it has to be outstanding.

Have you ever seen an architectural proposal? If you want to process it properly, as I do, just one can be a little daunting. If I get a stack of more than 20, that will seriously cut into my summer reading plans. I’m more than willing to invest the time in this important project; but if I already know the proposal is going to have a disappointing ending, then I’d rather not read that book. That’s some summer reading I can do without.

I hope they got the message. They now have one week to submit questions about our expectations and needs. After that week, we will answer all their questions, share our answers with all who have expressed an interest in our project and then we’ll get proposals from those select firms that can tap the unique expertise we need to design a top-tier business school.
I know there are some outstanding firms interested in helping us. If all goes to plan, the proposals I get will prove very interesting reading. It’s going to be an awesome prom. I’m going to like that.

Ken Snyder

Friday, May 27, 2011

Should Liz Lemon have to go looking for work?

Tina Fey plays a character named Liz Lemon on the TV show 30 Rock. Lemon is the head writer for a sketch comedy show. On an episode this past season, she faces the prospect of losing her writing job and she comes across three other people whose occupations have become irrelevant: a travel agent, a rock band saxophonist and an American auto worker. They invite her to live with them in a subway tunnel along with the CEO of Friendster.

That got me thinking: has writing really become irrelevant in today’s society? At the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, we regularly host business and government leaders for dean’s convocations and other special lectures. When they allow questions at the end of their presentations, a student will usually ask what they look for in prospective employees. Almost unanimously, they will emphasize the ability to write.

I hope that we as students don’t take this lightly. I don’t think these leaders are asking us to be Malcolm Gladwells or Thomas Friedmans. They want us to be able to clearly state our messages in written form to increase the efficiency of communication in the work place. In an increasingly global business environment, much more of our communication will need to take place in written form. If we muddle the message along the way, the end results could be costly.

Connor Child

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Learning to "Dare Mighty Things"

When I walk into the doors of the business building every morning, I note three words on three banners: “Dare Mighty Things.” The first time I had ever observed those words was the first day of this semester. What do those words mean? How do you “Dare Mighty Things”? The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is summed up in those three simple words.

The word dare means to have the necessary courage or boldness to try or to venture. I have only been attending the school of business for one semester now, yet I feel the challenge to dare. Constantly, almost daily, I am challenged to attempt something that I haven’t ever attempted before. I gain courage from these small experiences that I feel prepare me to dare for the rest of my life.

According to, anything that is great in amount, extent, degree, or importance is mighty. Daring is not enough to change the world. Daring to achieve goals that are great in extent, degree and importance is mighty. The difference is made when the effort and courage, daring, is coupled with the vision to accomplish exceptional, mighty, things.

When students are taught not only skills but how to “Dare Mighty Things” with those skills, true education is taking place. A classroom cannot and teachers can only attempt to stimulate learning. However, ideas and lofty goals both stimulate and encourage learning. Why not change the world? “Dare Mighty Things.”

Daniel D. Tanner

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Find Your Voice

Tuesday night we learned about intersections in our “Great Work, Great Career” class.
The course, based on the book by Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo by the same name, helps people identify and develop their unique skills and passions. It also helps people better tap those skills and it prepares them for the job market by helping them improve their resume and interviewing skills.

Tuesday we had the wonderful opportunity to hear from Lynne Pettit, career acceleration specialist and course facilitator. The topic of discussion, based on the readings and online assignments done before hand, was entitled, “Find Your Voice.” Professor Pettit shared many stories and examples to illustrate the importance of each person discovering and tapping their own talents to contribute, not only the workplace, but, in life in general. He said that while there is suffering and hardship in the world, such realities should not detour us from proactively doing what we can to improve things. We must change the focus from looking at the circumstances that impact us, to discovering how we can better draw on our own talents, strengths and abilities to help those around us, he said.

In his book and online, Dr. Covey explains what he means when he says we should discover our voice. The book says that each person needs to find what they feel is a worthy cause that taps their talents, fuels their passion and meets a need. It’s at the intersection of what he calls talent, passion, need and conscience that one finds their voice.

As Dr. Covey said, “Regardless of the historical, societal, and environmental challenges and opportunities you uniquely face, you have immense choice in what to do right now.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

George Costanza need not apply

We are now preparing to choose an architect for a new building.

How do you think that’s done? Do we try to pick up visual cues to see who looks the most creative and artistic? Do we dump out some Legos and ask applicants to design something cool in 15 minutes or less?

On Seinfield, the nine-year hit television show that is still in reruns, George Costanza was always lying to impress women by telling them he was an architect. He was not. But for George, ethical leadership, was something that must not have been emphasized in his college education. So, how can we make sure that we don’t end up with a George Constanza trying to bluff his way through a design process?

The Division of Facilities Construction and Management have done this before. This state of Utah entity has come up with a point system that makes evaluating architects more of a science. I’ll give you a simplified version of how we evaluate potential architects. Let this serve as warning to any Costanzas out there. (With my luck, the winning firm will be called “Constanza and Sons.”)

20 points – History. What’s your track record? The DFCM (a short, catchy name for the people from the state mentioned above) gives firms it has worked with before a “performance rating.” You have to have a good track record if you want this important job.

35 points – Experience. We want the successful team to have designed a project for a school of business before. We’re going to evaluate their qualifications and management plan. We are going to interview them and see if they’ve ever dealt with a project that has this kind of size and complexity before.

35 points – Plan. We want to pick a team that presents us with an excellent plan. How are they going to tackle this massive project? Have they figured out what the risks are, and do they have reasonable solutions for those risks?

10 points – Schedule. Does this firm know how to set and meet a reasonable schedule? Can they hit deadlines and can all their subcontractors keep things on track? How long will it take them?

The real official requirements are posted online and the official
document has all the official legal language. Did I say “official” enough? There’s my blog language and there’s the official language? FYI - The official language is not in this blog.

So, if you are an architect wanna-be like George Costanza, you’re out of luck when it comes to this project. Don’t come looking to the Huntsman School of Business for work.

Ken Snyder

Monday, May 23, 2011

Finding a seat at the Huntsman School of Business

I started college in the Fall of 2008, or as it’s more commonly known, “The Time When Everyone Realized the World Economy Was in the Tank.” I was enrolled in an economics course, and everyone in the class was much more interested in the state of the U.S. economy than they were in what factors influence price flexibility.

During one class session, the professor announced that Dr. Dwight Israelsen and Dr. Tyler Bowles were going to hold a one-time lecture about the collapse and subsequent bail out of the U.S. economy. I decided at that moment that I would attend the lecture, thinking that maybe a couple dozen students would show up. I showed up five minutes late and there wasn’t an empty seat in the room.

I bring this up because it illustrates the interest and curiosity of students in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. We really do care about world events and how it affects us. We appreciate it when our professors make an effort to include current events into class lectures.

I want to thank the professors at the Huntsman School of Business for staying up-to-date in their material and keeping us engaged in the ever-changing state of the world economy. I also want to thank my classmates for their close observation of the news that has allowed them to ask informed questions and create interesting discussions in class.

Connor Child

Friday, May 20, 2011

Last chance to see Larry Gelwix and the Highland Rugby team together

It’s been more than two years since Larry Gelwix came and visited the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. However, I’m sure those of you who attended that Dean’s Convocation, where he spoke, still remember it. Larry’s a legendary rugby coach and his delivery style, which is peppered with anecdotes, surely got your attention. The principles he teaches stick with you. I still remember him explaining how you can tell a lot about a person’s true character by watching the way they treat people they don’t need.

His Highland Rugby team has tallied 415 wins and 10 losses since it was started in 1975. It has won 19 national championships. The movie “Forever Strong” was inspired by Larry and his players.

Larry still has a day job of course. He’s featured as the “Getaway Guru” on radio and television. He and Mark Faldmo founded Columbus Travel in 2001. He’s about to do a new kind of getaway, however. He and his wife, Cathy, have been called to preside over the California, Fresno Mission for the next three years for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

If you’ve seen the movie "Forever Strong" and you are like me, you probably have thought you’d like to take in one of his games. This weekend will be your last chance. This Saturday the Highland Rugby team may be playing for the National Championship in Salt Lake City. The Highland team plays West Shore, New Jersey, at 9 a.m. on Friday and then, if they win, they play again at 1:30 p.m. The Friday games will be played at the South Jordan Rec Center located at 10866 South Redwood Road, South Jordan. There is no admission charge for the Friday games.

If they win those two games, then we can all have one last chance to see them play in a National Championship Match at Rio Tinto Stadium at 4:30 p.m., May 21. For more information, click here. For information about tickets, click here.

Steve Eaton

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mysteries unveiled in the Huntsman Post

Today the Huntsman Post came out and there are a few things I thought you should know about it. Studies have shown that people who read the Huntsman Post are 22 percent less likely to engage in pointless discussions or to be irritated when they drop their keys repeatedly. People who read the Huntsman Post are 12 percent less likely to be misled by fabricated statistics. (Did you know that an estimated 50 percent of all study results posted in blogs are fundamentally flawed or fabricated?)

Did you know that Sterling Morris, who knows stuff, reads many parts of the Huntsman Post and that John Johnson, who knows a ton of stuff, looks at it? Did you know that we can put the name “Frank Caliendo” in this blog and he’ll never know because he’s far too busy to notice? It’s true. (There have been reports that Dannon Loveland reads the Huntsman Post, but we haven’t been able to confirm them.)

Even though the Huntsman Post is a small, online newsletter, it often scoops major publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It includes stories it has unearthed that aren’t even on their radar screen.

This Huntsman Post includes a story about a project some students did that only ended up sparking laughter throughout Cache Valley. It tells of the surprise that happened at Commencement this year. It explains the connection between competitive snowboarding and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. It spells out exactly why one can say with certainty that the Huntsman School of Business is an award-winning institution. If you click on the right links you’ll find your way to a long list of video recordings of recent speakers who have visited Logan.

If you are a basketball fan you know of Brady Jardine, who will be next year’s star player. Did you hear what happened to his wife, Jenna, after graduation? Just in case you don’t remember who Jenna Jardine is, we have included a picture of her and Brady taken just minutes before “the incident” that was captured on film and included in the Huntsman Post.

All this stuff and more is in the Huntsman Post, including links to videos about the school you might have never seen. Check it out for yourself by clicking here.

Steve Eaton

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Can you see into the future?

Think back to February of 2009. How long ago does that seem to you? In February of 2009, the iPad had not yet been introduced. Back in 2009 author Stephen R. Covey was this amazing world-renowned author that we probably could have never afforded to bring to the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. Now he’s our best-known professor. Does 2009 seem like a long time ago? I know it doesn’t to me.

February of 2009 was 27 months ago. Do you know what happens 27 months from now? It will be August of 2014. By the fall of 2014, you should be able to stand on any of the first three floors of the George S. Eccles Business Building and look down the hallway right into our brand-new building. In fact, you might even have a class there.

Right now, our timeline has us starting the new business building in the summer of 2012 and completing it in the summer of 2014. Now, if you know anything about timelines when it comes to massive projects, then you understand that they can change as fast as positions during an election cycle; but we have hope that this change will come about on schedule.

By this July we will have selected an architectural firm that will help us decide what should be going into this building and what it should look like. There are a million things to figure out if we are to do this right. We have some great help. There are three major players at the table making this happen:

The Division of Facilities, Construction and Management is the state of Utah entity that will help guide us through the process. They have done this many times before, and they know how to keep things legal, fair and efficient.

Then, there is the University Facilities people who are the ones who will end up maintaining our new building and making sure it plugs in properly to everything else on campus. Their help is absolutely essential.

And then there is the Huntsman School of Business leader types. That’s me and some really smart people, like Jim Elwood and Dave Patel, who will all play a key role in figuring out what pieces need to be part of this picture. Ever heard of Dean Douglas D. Anderson? You can be sure he’ll get in the mix too. Remember, he’s the guy who could see this building going up back when most wouldn’t even allow it on their radar.

How many student study rooms should we have? How many classrooms? How many offices will we need? Do we need another auditorium? If we create a center for something, will it need to be centered in the building? Should there be a little café? Or a business library? If we have a café that sells pizza, how far away from Steve Eaton’s office will it need to be located? All that needs to be decided.

It could make your head swim but I’m not worried. I’ve been involved in the construction of a number of buildings before and I have great confidence in the team we have that will be making the key decisions. They know stuff.

Just think, it won’t be long before you’ll be able to boast, “I can remember the day the new building opened…”

Ken Snyder

Monday, May 16, 2011

Class based on Stephen Covey book to start May 17

The Great Work Great Career Summer 2011 session is ready to go!

This will be the fourth group that has gone through this nine-week training group. The course is based on the book by Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo entitled Great Work Great Career. The course helps identify and develop your unique skills and passions and how to put them to use, as well as improving your resume and interviewing skills.

Registration for this group is closed, however, students may apply for the Fall 2011 session toward the end of the summer. The cost for the course is $99 which includes the book and access to the Stephen Covey Community website.

This past week things have really been coming together for the summer session. We are so excited to meet so many new participants, as well as have the great opportunity to hear from so many great speakers. As of yesterday, all the guest speakers are all locked in and ready to go! We’ve really put a lot of effort into continuing this program’s reputation of quality, knowledgeable and experienced guest speakers.

For this session, our real pride and joy is the student workbook. We have put considerable time and effort into creating a workbook that will supplement the book, as well as the progression of this course. The workbook has been designed to go right along with the course, making it easier for students to take notes during the specified readings, videos, guest speakers and class discussions. It will really add to the ongoing development and integrity of the course.

Our opening social is this Tuesday, May 17, where we are going to have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Chris Fawson, professor and associate dean for international and entrepreneurial programs, Barbara Sidwell, career accelerator and Great Work Great Career alumna and finally, Lynne Pettit, career accelerator and course facilitator. It will be a great night to better get to know one another and be enlightened by some of our elite staff.

~Great Work Great Career Team

Friday, May 13, 2011

Students reflect on time at Huntsman School

At commencement exercises, on May 6 and 7, graduates sat and listened patiently while people gave them advice on what they could be doing with the rest of their lives. More than 830 students graduated from the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business this spring. That’s quite a few cap and gowns flapping about on one weekend.

We decided to ask some of our graduates what they were thinking on the big day. Check out this video to see what we learned.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Deciding to attend the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University has been a wonderful decision in my life. The experience I have had these past few months has helped me to know that I want to further my education in the field of business. The main factors that have contributed to my experience at this business school have been the enthusiastic students, the wonderful and caring instructors, and the overall curriculum.

In the classes I enrolled in, I had the opportunity to work a lot with other business students. I made new friends, learned new things, and had a lot of fun as I worked with them. I could sense their enthusiasm and desire to learn, which increased my enthusiasm and desire to learn.

The instructors I have had while attending the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business have been outstanding. I can feel that they want me as a student to truly learn and succeed. The instructors try to involve the students as much as possible and are always inviting them to meet outside of the classrooms for extra help. My instructors have had a great influence on the wonderful experience I have had thus far as I have studied business.

Another contributing factor of my experience has been the overall curriculum. Every day that I go to class, I learn valuable knowledge and gain useful skills that I can apply in my field of business. I feel that the classes offered are focused to provide each student with the knowledge and skills he or she needs to be able to achieve success.

The outstanding students, instructors, and curriculum have made my experience at this school a great one, and one that I will definitely continue. I can see only bigger and better things ahead in my life as I do so.

Garrett Hansen

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New building is taking shape, even if you can’t see it yet

I just agreed to attend a meeting every Thursday for the next three years.

I don’t feel as bad about that as you might think because, unlike some other regular meetings I’ve attended, I know this one will result in something tangible. It will be big, beautiful and lasting. We will be planning and guiding the construction of the new building!

When I talk about the construction of a new business building, do you have any idea what it might look like? Well, I’m guessing you do now because we’ve put two pictures of what the building could look like in this blog. By sharing these pictures with you, however, I hope you you grasp a pretty simple concept. This is what the building “might” look like. It could change. It’s helpful, however, to share these pictures because then you can start envisioning the possibilities open to us now.

We are the customer when it comes to constructing this building. Here are three things that we want in the new building that I’ve told our partners who will help us through the process:

  1. We want the building to look cool. We don’t want it to just look good when it’s done; We want it to be impressive 40 years from now. Have you ever seen a building that must have looked cool and modern in the 1970s but now it looks like bad hair in an old high school yearbook? Our building won’t ever look like bad hair.

  2. It needs to look like and function like one complex. Our old building, the George S. Eccles building, and which I actually like, is not going away. It will continue to be part of the Huntsman School of Business. One way we’ll probably do that is to connect the old building with the new one by connecting hallways on the first three floors.

  3. It must also include a huge, awesome bungee-jumping platform on the roof. (Okay, that’s not true; I just wanted to see if you were still reading.)
When I drive by the George S. Eccles Business Building, I probably see something different than you do. You probably see the new Ag building going up next door to us. It’s tangible and real. I see, instead, our new building. It’s already taking shape in my head and maybe now in yours. Can you see it yet? Now maybe you can understand why my new weekly meeting is unlike any other I’ve ever attended. I’ll keep you updated as this vision becomes reality.

Ken Snyder

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is a school that I am proud to be a part of. Over the past few years the School of Business seems to have grown in prestige and worth. The school seems to keep growing in the eyes of the public, but the thing I appreciate and respect most about the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is a thing of less visibility to the view of outsiders. I am talking about the teachers and the way that they interact with students. On top of being the best in their fields of expertise, the teachers at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business care about students a great deal. Any other school would be hard pressed to compete with the incredible education students are receiving at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business.

Many stories have been relayed to me by friends and acquaintances about ways that professors from The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business have gone the extra mile for them. This comes as no surprise to me because I have experienced the same kindness from professors on many occasions. There have been countless times when many of my professors have spent long hours in their offices with me to help me learn and truly understand concepts that were being covered in class. Professors have gone out of their way to help me find personal tutors or any other resources that I was in need of. I recall a time when one professor invited me to her home when I was not able to meet during office hours. She worked with me to help me prepare for a test that I needed to take. I thought this act of kindness was above and beyond what a student might expect of a college professor.

The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business is no ordinary college and that is because the college does not have just ordinary professors. In an article discussing Stephen R. Covey joining the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business faculty Dr. Covey was quoted. The article reported that Dr. Covey said, “The leaders and faculty at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business just seem to get it." I could not agree more with Dr. Covey. I am so grateful to my professors at The Jon M. Huntsman School of Business; they truly enhance student’s education in and out of the classroom.

Matt Seeley

Application deadline

Application deadline for the Summer 2011 group has been extended to Friday, May 13! This is a great opportunity for all students, no matter your education level, on how to identify and develop your unique skills, improve your resume, and master interviewing skills. Go to to learn more and apply!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Huntsman graduates get the personal touch right to the end

Today I went to the Graduate Commencement and Hooding Ceremony and found, that in addition to the wise words of Byron Burnham, the vice provost and dean who spoke at the event, there was inspiration coming from the sidelines. Kathy McConkie, the assistant director our MBA program, was on the front row, leaning forward trying to get a picture of every single graduate.

I know Kathy to be a great photographer but what impressed me was that she was calling out to the graduates by name as they reached the end of the ramp to get them to pause so she could take their picture. It was clear as I saw their faces light up when she called them that they knew who she was.

It’s that kind of personal attention and sense of family that Kathy brings to our MBA program. If you know anything about Kathy McConkie, you know that this is one woman who can light up a room with her smile. I know, I know, that sounds corny, but it is true.

I told Konrad Lee, faculty chair and director of the MBA program, about what I saw and he wasn’t surprised.

“The positive impact Kathy has on our program and the lives of our students is amazing,” he said. “She reaches students in a very real way because of that personal connection she brings to her work.”

I took a bunch of pictures today and I got lucky when I caught the very moment our Jamie Andrus realized her shoe was caught in the ramp. Did you know she’s the assistant director of our Partners and Business program and was a good sport about the picture. She gave me permission to post it on Facebook. Check out our Facebook page to see that picture and to find a link to all the other pictures I posted into our Smug Mug account.

Check out this blog tomorrow for more on the advice that Dean Burnham shared with the graduates and for a link to more pictures.

Steve Eaton

(The photo in this blog is Kathy McConkie. You gotta love her.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

An award-winning day

Today I went to a luncheon that was held on the ninth floor of the George S. Eccles Business Building to recognize award-winning people within the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business. This year we have earned some impressive awards. For example, Frank Caliendo is our Teacher of the Year but he also is being recognized with the Robins Award for Professor of the Year. Only one professor from all of USU earns that honor each year.

If any of you know Frank, who is in the photo just below this post, you know he is unbelievably smart and yet he'll always make time for you. He's exactly the kind of guy you want to see win an award. Very humble. Doesn't he look noble in this shot? The other person in the picture is Dean Douglas D. Anderson. He's the kind of guy you'd want to get an award from. He knows stuff. Lots of stuff.

Chris Martin, a student in economics and political science is this year’s Robins Award for Man of Year. This award is given annually to only one USU student who has made broad significant achievements and contributions to the university during the previous year. Chris is that student.

It seems like every time I open my inbox there’s news in there about someone at the Huntsman School of Business being recognized with an award. And they aren't trivial awards either. Do you think I should offer to put up everyone else’s awards on my wall? That would be very cool and impressive. It could be sort of a basement hall of fame?

Take this link to see some of the other awards or students, faculty and staff have earned this year. It’s an impressive list.

Steve Eaton

(The guy pictured above is Brent Meacham. Today he was presented the "Legacy of Utah" award. Even though he's now a legacy, he's still very approachable.)

Job search tips

Future Huntsman MBA Student Katelyn Ericson wrote an article in The Deseret News which includes tips on finding a job after graduation. Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Your bags are packed, finals are completed and all you have left to do now is pick up your diploma. After four long years of tests and quizzes there’s only one question left to answer: Now what?

Let’s face it, with a wavering economy and tough competition, it is difficult for college graduates to find employment, even with good grades and experience. In the next few weeks, thousands of students from colleges across the United States will receive their diplomas without job offers or prospects.

Unfortunately, when finals are finally over, that’s when the real work begins."

You can read Katelyn's full article here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

School of Accountancy Spotlight

The School of Accountancy at the Huntsman School of Business has made some pretty impressive accomplishments. Here area a few facts about the School from our 2011 Annual Report:
  • The Master of Accounting program has been offered for 30 years
  • First time candidates taking all parts of the CPA exam saw a pass rate of 75 percent
  • MAcc graduates have a job placement rate of greater than 90 percent
  • The School of Accountancy has 300 undergraduate students
  • MAcc students have an average GMAT score of 623
See why these students of the School of Accountancy chose to study accounting:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The beginnings of a new building and a new blog

A few weeks ago Governor Gary Herbert came and signed a bill that’s going to make our new building a reality. There were speeches and lots of gratitude was expressed. Everyone posed for pictures when the official signing took place and I’m now wondering, will those pictures end up in a display case in the new building someday as historical artifacts? I believe we witnessed a bit of history unfolding.

It was a great day to celebrate and I’m sure there were some people who wondered why we didn’t go right over to the site of the new building with golden shovels and get to work. That’s where I come in.

It’s going to be my job to help us all figure out what we should be putting into this new building that will be nearly 100,000 square feet. Sound simple?

This might be a good time for me to share the toilet-paper story. An employee came into my office just days after the signing to say that he has an unusual item on his bucket list. He wants to rise to a position of such influence that he will be able to select the kind of toilet paper dispensers that go into a new building.

Apparently, he’s been bugged once too many times by malfunctioning gizmos that withhold toilet paper at the very moment it is needed.

I had to explain that such decisions will fall under the purview of USU Facilities. My focus will be of a more academic nature. I think it is a foreshadowing, however, of what is to come as we entertain ideas, study out the possibilities and figure out exactly what kinds of classes, resources and meeting rooms will be needed in the new building. Everyone is going to have ideas about what our new home should include. The process, done properly, takes months.

As that work unfolds, I intend to keep you updated via this new blog I am starting. And I want to hear from you. I’m guessing many of you will have a lot to say.

I just hope that no one else comes to me with toilet paper issues again.

Ken Snyder

Monday, May 2, 2011

Miles Kimball talks about the economics of happiness

I just got back from hearing an economist, Miles Kimball, talk about happiness and economics. It was interesting to hear happiness talked about based on what research has shown, not just on what people theorize about what ought to bring happiness.

Figuring out just what makes people happy is a bit more complicated that I originally thought.

Just because people are better off financially doesn’t mean that they will become happier people. One study showed that while, overall, income levels have been going up, people aren’t reporting that they are getting happier at the same rate.

Dr. Kimball also said, however, that there are correlations between happiness and income levels.

“Basically money does by happiness consistently,” he said the research shows. “To be clear, it doesn’t buy a lot of happiness.”

If I understood him right, he said that there are trends that show that those who are making more money report they do feel happier, while people with less money, over time, are reporting that they are less happy.

And not everyone is motivated by a desire to be happier. Sometimes they are willing to sacrifice things like sleep and family time to achieve greater social rank or more money.

Dr. Kimball, who is the Jon M. Huntsman Presidential Visiting Professor, has come here from the University of Michigan where he is a professor of economics. Today he spoke to a nearly packed room on the ninth floor of the George S. Eccles Business Building.

Some of his findings probably won’t surprise you. For an example, he cited research that shows that getting enough sleep, exercise and eating well can make you happier. So can spending time with friends and getting involved with an engrossing hobby. Having a positive attitude, being grateful and forgiving can also make you happier.

He covered a lot of ground and shared some fascinating research. If you are interested in an audio recording of what he said, send me an e-mail at

Steve Eaton