Dixie State president finalists announced

One of these men will be Dixie State University’s next president (L-R) Richard Williams, Reid Neilson, Don Capener | Photos courtesy of the Utah System of Higher Education, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – Three finalists have been chosen as the potential successor of Dixie State University President Dr. Stephen Nadauld. The candidates hail from Jacksonville University, Indiana State University, and the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Nadauld announced in October 2013 that he was retiring at the end of the 2013-14 academic year. Following an extensive nationwide search and review of applicants conducted by the 22-member DSU President Search Committee, the three finalists announced Friday are:

  • Dr. Don Capener, Dean and McGehee Endowed Chair in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University in Florida
  • Dr. Reid L. Neilson, Managing Director of the Church History Department of the LDS Church
  • Dr. Richard Williams, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University

“The Dixie State University Presidential Search Committee is proud to recommend the names of these three finalists to the Board of Regents,” said Regent Wilford Clyde, Search Committee Chair, “the involvement of DSU’s trustees, faculty, students and staff, along with the larger community, has been invaluable during this search. We look forward to the Regents having the opportunity to fully consider these candidates in choosing a new leader for DSU.”

The finalists will be at DSU July 16-17, next Wednesday and Thursday, to meet privately with groups representing faculty, staff, students and administration and be interviewed by the Board of Regents. The regents may then hold a meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday to choose the next university president, or choose to meet at a later date.

About the finalists

Don Capener | Photo courtesy of the Utah System of Higher Education, St. George News
Don Capener

Dr. Don Capener was appointed Dean and McGehee Endowed Chair in the Davis College of Business at Jacksonville University in Florida in 2011. In this position he has raised $1.5 million to launch a new doctoral program and $1 million to enrich the online platform delivery and hybrid education options. He designed a successful corporate engagement strategy and implemented a graduate recruitment plan that resulted in a 30 percent increase in enrollment. Capener worked 11 years at Monmouth College in Illinois, where he served as Vice President for Strategic Planning, Technology, and the Chief Marketing Officer. Capener was also the Interim Vice President of Enrollment, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, and Associate Professor of Marketing. He was selected as Professor of the Year in 2006 and received the Hatch Distinguished Teaching Award in 2005. Capener also has significant private sector experience, serving as co-founder of Above the Rim, General Manager for three international marketing agencies and Vice President of Marketing for Netcentives, a Silicon Valley start-up.


Reid Neilson | Photo courtesy of the Utah System of Higher Education, St. George News
Reid Neilson

Dr. Reid Larkin Neilson has worked as the managing director of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2010. He oversees its global operations, its strategic planning, and a staff of 900 employees and volunteers. Previously he was an assistant professor of church history at Brigham Young University, where he won the University Young Scholar Award for his excellence in writing and teaching. Neilson is the author and editor of over 20 academic books, many published by leading university presses, including Oxford and Columbia. He also worked as a business consultant for Arthur Andersen LLP.


Richard Williams
Richard Williams

Dr. Richard “Biff” Williams has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Indiana State University since 2013.  Prior to this, Williams served as the founding Dean of the College of Nursing, Health, and Human Services at Indiana State University.  As Dean, he led the development of six new degree programs designed to address the state’s critical shortage of healthcare workers.  Previously a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa, he served in roles such as Associate Dean of the College of Education, Executive Associate Director of the School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, Chair of the Division of Athletic Training, and program director. At Northern Iowa he helped create a private-public partnership between the local hospital, medical community, and university that resulted in the construction of a two-story human performance center that served the surrounding rural communities.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.


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  • Priorities July 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    And the three mormon finalists are… which one will the church pick?

  • inbred July 11, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    White with Utah connections. Who would have thought?

    • Dana July 12, 2014 at 6:23 am

      In good standing with the proper recommends. Probably delightsome too.

  • sing4money July 12, 2014 at 6:26 am

    I bet on the guy with blah blah blah church of LDS. The other ones don’t even have a chance. But lets put on good horse and pony show.

  • uh huh July 12, 2014 at 8:32 am


  • sing4money July 12, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I posted comments that are not being posted because saint goerge news doesnt like them….

    • Joyce Kuzmanic July 12, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Not so, sing4money – Editor here, working through them. 🙂

  • Really? July 12, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I agree they will keep status quo, the guy that works for the Church is the winner.

  • Judy Williams July 12, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Let me guess….. Church History Dept! Do the other two know they’re only token choices to make the board LOOK like they care about real education? DSU is a State school. All influences should be presented & let students decide what they want to learn. Joseph Smith said to teach people correct principles & they’ll govern themselves. Guess we don’t believe that anymore???

  • YEP... July 12, 2014 at 10:30 am

    FUNNIEST……when they pretend there are three applicants! Just watch and see.

  • Denby Dilbert July 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    Three white men and I’m going out on a limb that they are LDS, all with strong Utah roots. No women or candidates of color? St George is so insular and inbred, kids go to school somewhere else where there is diversity and you see more than white faces. There is a whole big world out there. This is a slap to the Latinos, Native Americans and women.

    • NEVER LEARN July 12, 2014 at 2:16 pm

      Yep…no one else is good enough. Must be white male to fit the position. Others need not apply.

    • R U From Dixie? July 12, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Kick them all out and get someone who who will answer yes to the question “Are You from Dixie?” I bet any of them without Mormon ties doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Dixie.

    • NEVER LEARN July 12, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      I will make sure my children receive an education outside of Utah.

  • Meagan Leigh July 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Why is there the LDS Institute of Religion shown on the DSU school map? I don’t see my church on that map and it is located nearby. I hope my tax dollars do not subsidize that place in any manner, shape or form. I wonder how many things in the DSU budget benefits the LDS church. Is there a center at the school for Catholics, other Protestants and those of the Jewish faith?

    • Estelle Adler July 13, 2014 at 3:08 pm

      The property that the institute is on is owned by the church, and is not a part of the University in any way, shape, or form. There is a small parking lot that is institute property, but the larger parking lot belongs to the university. It is used by students who have paid for their parking permits. Students and non-students that wish to participate in activities there do so at their own discretion without any part played by the university whatsoever. Further, none of the funds which support institute come from funds gleaned and intended for the university. LDS institutes of religion are part of the Church Educational system which is supported by tithes voluntarily donated by members.

  • Kaden July 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    As a student and a staff member I would like to see some one with a very strong knowledge in buisseness. A university is a buisness and someone that can make sure that the money is spent where it needs to be and not what 2 million dollar vision the president has. Also someone who is not LDS, this is because we need to have someone see both ends of things, not a one sided person based on religion. Dixie was not based on the LDS religion, that’s what byu was founded on, we need a guy that can support the needs that the students and faculty have and not the wants of the church.

  • JAR July 12, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I’m assuming the respondents thus far, would like to see a Wade Churchill type,( of the University of Denver fame), guiding the choices what the students are taught at DSU. Careful what you wish for.

    • Chris July 13, 2014 at 7:59 pm

      That’s Ward Churchill, and he was at the University of Colorado.

  • Eddantes July 12, 2014 at 6:22 pm

    What is the heartburn about the finalists being white men? Did any women or men of other races apply?

    By the way, let’s take away all of the inventions created by white men (medical, tech, etc etc) and let’s see what kind of world we would live in. Life would be much shorter and much more brutish..

  • Dixie July 13, 2014 at 12:40 am

    It is obvious that all of you hate Mormons, are racist and sexist. If someone has marketing experience, they obviously have business experience which you misspelled. The LDS church owned Dixie State for several years and owns the Institute building as well as the entire parking lot that they kindly share with the Udvar Hazy building. They also donated a ton of money to Dixie State, as well as land. Most students at Dixie State are LDS and it is a top notch university. If it were not, then it wouldnt have been given University status. Nobody is forcing you or your children to attend. Most universities around the USA have an LDS institute building near their college or located at their nearest LDS church. I’m sure that they concidered all top applicants regardless of race, religion or sex. It is sad to see all the hate filled comments. Stop complaining and apply for positions like these yourself and become part of your solution to your unhappiness.

    • Lynchings July 13, 2014 at 10:06 am

      Maybe the new guy can bring back that good ole southern Utah Dixie tradition of painted black faces and mock slave captures, auctions and lynchings and may that rebel flag forever wave. Good school stuff. Way to educate!

      • Dana July 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm

        As long as it’s all delightsome. Gotta keep everyone happy.

    • Estelle Adler July 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm

      I like you. Agreed.

    • sing4money July 13, 2014 at 4:20 pm

      Dixie…..And your really judgemental. And mental too. If you lived somewhere else you would get tired of others trying to tell you how to live. But thank you for that thoughtful commentary. You should see if you can get a job at the headquarters in S.L. Your people skills are just what they need.

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