Public Affairs Lecture Series: Bud Scruggs

On October 11th, 2018, Heber E. Scruggs spoke to students at the BYU Public Affairs Lecture Series. “Bud” Scruggs focused his lecture on his experience in business and politics, while also leaving students with advice for their futures. He gave high regards to the “bright and good students at BYU”!

Bud studied Political Science at Brigham Young University and then graduated from Law school in 1984.  He worked several years as a political consultant, working with Orrin Hatch’s campaign in 1982 and Jake Garn’s in 1986. Following his work as a political consultant, Scruggs came back to BYU as a full-time faculty member. He soon found his lifestyle as a professor to be quite lonely; so consequently, he only taught for four years.

Throughout his lecture Bud gave credit to his wife, Shirly, and spoke of the influence she had on his career. He shared an example of how Shirly blessed him while he was deciding whether to stay as a professor at BYU or look for another opportunity. Shirly told Bud, “You can be a poorly compensated professor and be very happy and come home every day happy. I would be fine with that. But I will not be married to an unhappy, poorly compensated man.” Following his wife’s counsel, Bud started working for Leucadia National Corporation, running their operating companies. He stayed there for a decade until he was called to serve as a mission president for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Sydney, Australia mission.

After sharing his experience and background, Bud left time to take some questions from students in attendance. Below are the questions that were asked.

What skills should I develop to be a good campaigned manager? 

  1. Master a to-do list. He talked about the value of creating a to-do list and then moving forward and acting on that list.
  2. Develop your writing skills. Bud shared that he felt like a late bloomer academically, but at BYU he learned how to write and continually worked on enhancing his writing skills.
  3. Go beyond what you are asked to do. He advised that if you are willing to work and then deliver, you will skyrocket into a successful future.


How did you transcend into the business world from a political science background?

Bud responded, “I was willing to ask stupid questions so that I could be informed on things I didn’t understand.” He talked about never taking an accounting class and only having a basic understanding of finances, but he took the opportunity to ask those around him who did have a great understanding in these fields. He reassured students that although he felt like he was “stumbling up the learning curve”, he was never “losing calories trying to pretend that [he] was something that [he] wasn’t.”

He shared how much he enjoyed his experience in politics, while also sharing why he loved being in the business world. He told students, “at the end of the day, you have either made money or lost money.” Bud seems to live a life where he takes all the opportunities that come his way, while also remembering that “making money is fun!”

Bud concluded his lecture by offering one last piece of advice for students. He warned against caring too much about money at this time in their life. He reminded them that their time will never be cheaper than it is right now! He advised, “be willing to go in as the underpaid rookie, pursue your passion, and be poor.”

Bud Scruggs left students motivated to excel in their education. He reminded everyone that the future can be planned, but unplanned opportunities should be welcomed.

Thank you, Bud, for sharing your time and insights with all of us!