David Cherrington: Taking it in Stride
“Most people don’t believe my career story when they ask,” he says. “I never really planned my career like you would anticipate most people do. It was a very random process.”
Cherrington grew up on a small farm in Preston, Idaho, and was deciding between a number of different career options when he got enrolled accidentally in an undergraduate psychology class at BYU, the subject he ended up majoring in. As he later pursued an MBA at Indiana University, his counselor suggested an organizational theory course. This turned out to be both advantageous and unfortunate for Cherrington.
“Without doubt, it was the worst class I had in my entire academic career,” Cherrington says. “I was just totally lost the entire semester. It’s hard for me to imagine that I would stay in that major after that miserable experience. But I did.”
Cherrington began a doctorate degree in organizational theory and later took a position as a professor of human resource management at BYU in 1973, soon after the department was created. Ever since, his life has been dominated by teaching; after more than forty-two years of service, Cherrington will retire later this year.
Much of his teaching and research has centered on work ethic and character, principles he learned through personal athleticism. Active in track and field since his youth, he excelled in hurdle races and the high and long jump events and, up until 2013, was participating regularly in the Utah Summer Games and the National Masters Championships. Through his track and field experiences, Cherrington has learned to develop all-encompassing values.
“It has taught me self-discipline and self-control which I think have been very important personal attributes,” he says. “Athletics has always been a good discipline technique in my life.”
Although a slow-healing injury is currently keeping him from competing, Cherrington keeps busy through other physical activities he enjoys, such as swimming, jogging, and gardening. He enjoys time with children and sixteen grandchildren, and is preparing to serve an LDS mission with his wife soon after his retirement.