Don, who had been a part of JBU for almost 35 years, had a knack for making people feel valued, loved and appreciated: with a probing question about the career plans of a business student, with an encouraging word to a basketball player, with a challenging story for a middle manager, with an anecdote about Mr. Sam for a Walton Scholar, with a sense of optimism about what was possible, and with a prayer of gratitude for God’s grace in all of our lives.
He served on JBU’s board of trustees from 1982-2009, and served as chair of the board from 1991-2002. He was elected trustee emeritus in 2009, and he consistently kept coming to the board meetings even as an emeritus, including the board retreat in April at Greystone where he spoke to the current board members about what it truly means to be a trustee of JBU’s mission.
In 1998, Don partnered with JBU President Lee Balzer to found Soderquist Leadership, a leadership development center, which has served over 50,000 people in the last 18 years. Don was always moved by the way in which the programs at Soderquist Leadership and the education at JBU changed people’s lives, and he gave generously of his time, his wisdom and his resources to encourage that life transformation.
JBU formally honored Don on three different occasions: in 1993, with an honorary doctorate; in 2005, by naming the new business building the Soderquist Business Center; and in 2014, by dedicating the Donald G. Soderquist College of Business, in honor of Don’s life work in developing people and practicing ethical leadership in the business world.
We will deeply miss Don, and our students will be blessed by his legacy for years to come.
JBU President Chip Pollard’s letter to the JBU community can be found here.