June 8, 2020
J.D. Griffith was born and raised near Seattle, Washington, and was BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s first-ever employee. He had the unique opportunity to help BYU-Pathway grow from just an idea to the worldwide organization it is today.
After high school, J.D. had the chance to play college baseball but turned it down to serve a full-time mission in Dublin, Ireland. “That was a pivotal decision,” he said. “It really shaped the rest of my life.”
After his mission, J.D. attended Ricks College, where he earned an associate degree in general business and met and married his wife, Tasha. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management and an MBA from Utah State University. He returned to school in 2008 to earn a PhD in business administration and organizational leadership from North Central University, which he completed in 2013.
J.D. was working as director of distance site education at BYU-Idaho when President Kim B. Clark approached him with an idea that was then called “Pathway” — a way to provide access to low-cost online higher education throughout the world. When J.D. agreed to help launch the new program, he had no idea how much of an impact it would make.
Looking back on his experiences with BYU-Pathway, J.D. said, “We got a lot of things right in the early foundation, but we got some things wrong too. I’ve learned that, yes, the Lord is in charge, but He’s not going to give us every answer every time. Our role is to work as hard as we possibly can to be committed to the gospel, to have faith, to move forward, and to make adjustments when necessary.”
J.D. has filled many roles at BYU-Pathway over the past 10 years. His current position is vice president of administration, and his main responsibilities include overseeing six departments of the organization: communications, budget and finance, information technology (IT) and systems, human resources, institutional research, and facilities. He also works with the legal department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on behalf of BYU-Pathway.
Getting to work in a variety of areas has been one of the most rewarding parts of J.D.’s job. “I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in nearly every aspect of the organization,” he said. “It’s been fun to be on the creation side of it.”
J.D. also loves the people he works with. “We really have some dedicated employees,” he said. “The Lord has brought amazing workers to be a part of this wonderful program.”
J.D. and his wife have five children, ages 12–22. When he’s not working, he loves being with his family and spending time outdoors, especially camping and hiking. He also enjoys yard work and sports, particularly golf and skiing. “Just being outside is one of my passions,” he said.
J.D. offers the following advice to BYU-Pathway students: “Stick with it, and have the faith and optimism that you can succeed! When things get challenging, remember the feelings you had when you started the program. It’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it to complete your education.”
Want to hear more from J.D.? Follow the BYU-Pathway Worldwide Facebook page to watch his devotional on Tuesday, June 16!