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Utah State aims to launch center in honor of Stephen Covey

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 1 2015 10:30 p.m. MDT

The flag flies at half-staff at the corporate offices of FranklinCovey Monday, July 16, 2012, in honor of Stephen R. Covey, co-founder and former vice-chairman and director of FranklinCovey who passed away due to residual effects of a bicycle accident suffered this past April. He was 79 years old. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News) The flag flies at half-staff at the corporate offices of FranklinCovey Monday, July 16, 2012, in honor of Stephen R. Covey, co-founder and former vice-chairman and director of FranklinCovey who passed away due to residual effects of a bicycle accident suffered this past April. He was 79 years old. (Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University officials are trying to raise funds to launch a leadership center named after Stephen Covey, who died earlier this month of complications from a Provo bicycle accident.

Covey, a motivational speaker and author of the best-selling "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," was appointed as the first presidential chair in leadership at USU's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business in 2010.

A research professor under the appointment, he donated his salary back to the school to go toward establishing a Stephen R. Covey Center for Leadership.

Kenneth Snyder, executive dean of the business school, told Logan's Herald Journal that it would take at least $10 million in donations to launch the center.

"We want the center to be a legacy to the life and work of Dr. Covey," Snyder wrote by email. "This fits well with our student-oriented focus, because Dr. Covey was so student-oriented."

Author and motivational speaker Stephen Covey, who died Monday, is the subject of a tribute by Clayton Christensen, author and professor at Harvard Business School. (Deseret News Archives) Author and motivational speaker Stephen Covey, who died Monday, is the subject of a tribute by Clayton Christensen, author and professor at Harvard Business School. (Deseret News Archives)

There have been a few small donations so far, he added, but officials will not announce detailed plans until they have commitments in place for the $10 million.

"A lot will be determined by the donors who provide funding," Snyder wrote. "Until we work out actual gift agreements, it is difficult to say what it will be."

The business school also has started a search for Covey's replacement. His successor will be selected by either a search committee or by "special appointment" that would require the approval of the USU president and provost, Snyder said.

"As with Dr. Covey, we want someone who is a prominent thought leader in both academic and professional circles," he wrote. "We have had some preliminary discussions regarding this position. It may take some time to recruit the right person."

Covey, who died July 16 at the age of 79, was considered a pioneer in the self-help genre aimed at helping readers become more productive in their lives. His "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" sold more than 20 million copies in 38 languages.

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