EPHRAIM — Intellectually, each graduate at Snow College has the ability to accomplish anything they set their hearts on, according to the school's keynote graduation speaker.
Nolan D. Archibald gives the commencement speech at Snow, where he talked about goal-setting. Nolan D. Archibald, the CEO of Black & Decker, told Snow College graduates Saturday that he is an example of the premise that people can achieve anything they desire if they pursue their dreams the right way. The school awarded 915 associate degrees and certificates at the Ephraim school's commencement and another 138 at separate exercises Friday on Snow's Richfield campus.
During the Richfield commencement, the college announced an anonymous donation of $1 million, the largest gift ever at that location. The money will go to pay down debt on the Sevier Valley Center, freeing up funds for programming at the center, and to endow nursing scholarships.
Archibald, a native of Ogden whose parents didn't graduate from high school, received an honorary doctorate during the college's 118th commencement. He said as a teen, he finished Ogden High with a 2.0 grade point average and was cut from the basketball team three times.
Yet upon returning from an LDS mission, he set two goals: to play basketball at a Division 1 college and to get an MBA. "I soon realized that setting goals was the easy part," he said.
He enrolled at Dixie College and started training to try to make the basketball team. He worked out on his own several hours each day to get in shape and always showed up for basketball practice an hour early to "work on the fundamentals." He made the team as a starter.
Academically, "I worked so hard that first semester out of sheer fright," he said. He ended the year with a B average.
The next year, Archibald met his future wife, Margaret Hafen, a straight-A student from an academically inclined family. He couldn't accept being academically inferior to her, so he brought his GPA up to an A average.
Meanwhile, the Dixie basketball team made it to the national junior college championships. Archibald got noticed and ended up with more than 100 scholarship offers from universities. "After 3,000 hours of work, my dream had become a reality," he said.
Some of the offers were from large schools, including the University of Utah, but Archibald chose to play at Weber State in his hometown. There, he started a lifelong friendship with teammate Roger Reid, who became head coach at BYU, coached for the Phoenix Suns and is now basketball coach at Snow College. Reid was instrumental in inviting Archibald to address the commencement.
Archibald said that as he wrapped up his time at Weber, he focused on his next goal — an MBA. He applied to the Harvard Business School. "You can imagine the thrill I had when I learned I had been accepted," he said.
He outlined four steps graduates could follow to achieve any goals they set. First, focus, he said. "Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve and don't get sidetracked." Second, develop a plan. Third, work hard and be persistent. Fourth, "keep a proper perspective as to what is important in life," putting family first, followed by church, career and community service.
In introducing Archibald, Snow President Michael Benson said the Black & Decker board of directors has asked him to continue as CEO until he is 70. At that point, Benson said, Archibald will have led the corporation for 27 years, compared to an average tenure for Fortune 500 CEOs of four years.
Besides heading Black & Decker, which has 35,000 employees and $7 billion in annual sales, Archibald is on the boards of Lockheed Martin, the Huntsman Corp. and the Brunswick Corp.
Jesse A. Smith of Manti was honored as valedictorian while Trevor K. Frank of Tremonton was recognized as salutatorian. Both graduated with 4.0 GPAs. Tracy G. Healy of Salt Lake City received the "Outstanding Student Citizen" award.