Polishing Diamonds in the Rough
It's amazing how many young people at LDS Business College say, "I don't know why I'm here." They think they came because we are small and have the Church influence. These qualities may have enticed them through the front door, but then they find something totally different. They learn that the Lord brought them here for a specific purpose.
The Lord has his hand in drawing clear distinctions between the four Church universities and college - what they do, who they serve, and how they serve. He then brings those individuals to the appropriate institution, one by one - just as He ministered on earth - based on their capabilities and possible covenants made before coming to mortality.
He brings them for developing skills, chipping off the rough edges, and polishing until they "become a smooth shaft in the quiver of the Almighty," as Joseph Smith said.
The brilliance of the College's history comes from the stories of these diamonds in the rough. Many of our students aren't really sure who they are or what they can do. They don't see their own potential brilliance. Our donors provide the financial means so this precious polishing process can take place.
One of these diamonds was a student who came from eastern Utah. Because of previous life and educational experiences she lacked confidence that she could be successful at college. With faith and a desire to improve her life, she enrolled in our entrepreneurship program.
She was very shy and sat well fortified in the distant back corner of her business class where she hoped to not be called upon. Of course she didn't do anything to draw attention. The instructor noticed her reticence and approached her quietly. After hearing her story, he promised to stay with her, that they would succeed together. She ended the class with a confidence-building A-.
On another occasion, a part-time faculty member encouraged her to get involved. She told him an idea she harbored about packaging a pancake mix from her grandfather's recipe. It had proven successful years before, but because of various difficulties, the mix was no longer produced.
As she worked through the program, she began producing the mix by overcoming obstacles with new confidence and knowledge.
Today, she is a very different person - confident, self-assured, gregarious - prepared now to adequately provide for her three children as a single -mother.
She came here penniless. She couldn't afford an education. Her miraculous transformation took place because someone reached into their wallet and gave from the heart. This is not about a pancake mix, but about empowering a life.
We had a similar experience with a young man whose wife was gluten intolerant. He began creating gluten-free recipes and was encouraged to start an online subscription. Companies that made gluten-free products began sending him products to test and evaluate. He now has a thriving business and was recently ranked 15th of 25 top entrepreneurs in Utah in a contest of young entrepreneurs sponsored by the University of Utah.
He wouldn't be there were it not for donor assistance. Our donors are the key to polishing diamonds and unlocking dreams.
We say to a student, "Come here and we will help you discover your gifts and talents. Then we will add practical skills and teach you how to tell your story."
To do that, we take what the market needs and develop students with resumes, capabilities, and skills to compete. We are about building self-reliant people and then families who, in turn, can strengthen communities and the Lord's Church.
We figure we are "tweeners." We're between youth who need to become self-reliant and capable, and a marketplace looking for skilled employees with the character traits reflected in the 13th Article of Faith.
So we stand in between and say, "Bring the character traits you've developed, and we'll add the skills needed in the marketplace." However, we cannot perform that tweener function without the blessing of donors who share that same vision.
Nearly 90 percent of our students get jobs upon graduation. The field they graduate in is not as important as becoming life-long learners capable of being promoted. They're likely to have a half-dozen careers in their lives. Their technical skills need to adjust; their characters need to remain constant.
Those character traits taught in the Church programs and reinforced at the College will help them have a disproportionate impact for good in the marketplace. It will bring distinction to the Church, and distinction to their communities, and put them in a position to build the Kingdom. We need help to do that.
Why do businesses invest huge amounts of money to educate their employees? They want and need employees who can think, communicate, solve problems, work in teams, and are skilled in their chosen fields.
This College is poised to help address these needs through teaching practical skills by those who are performing those skills everyday in the market. With few exceptions, our faculty is comprised of practicing professionals in their fields. Our curriculum constantly adapts to market needs through many touch points including academic program advisory boards made up of industry leaders in the community. We recently started our first business training program in mediation for practicing professionals.
In this way, we are fulfilling the charge given to us by President Gordon B. Hinckley when LDSBC moved to the Triad Center. He directed us to then, "Contribute to the vitality of the downtown business district."