A Continued Legacy

PROVO, Utah – Mar 04, 2020 – Almost twenty years after retiring, BYU Marriott professor Doyle W. Buckwalter’s legacy at BYU Marriott continues to resonate and positively influence the MPA program, and all of BYU’s campus.

“My experience at BYU represents one of the highlights of my life because I worked with the best faculty and the finest of students, and then watched them go out in the world and make a difference as leaders here in America and throughout the world,” says Buckwalter.

During his time at BYU Marriott, Buckwalter made it his mission to establish an MPA program and help students find internships worldwide. He served as the assistant director of the Romney Institute of Public Service and Ethics, taught local government classes, and served as the Institute's internship coordinator for twenty-nine years.

Buckwalter completed a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in political science at Brigham Young University in 1964. After that, he earned a PhD in Public Administration, with an emphasis in public policy, foreign policy and public administration from the University of Michigan before returning to BYU to teach.

“BYU was established to train spiritually and academically, which teaches individuals to serve each other,” says Buckwalter. “That philosophy permeated everything I taught.”

Buckwalter began teaching political science courses and helped lead efforts to found the MPA program. “I wanted to help students find meaningful internships because I saw the university as a way to prepare people to be effective leaders in the various city, county, state, federal, and international positions available,” says Buckwalter. After helping establish the program in 1971, Buckwalter taught American Government; Business-Government Relations; City Management, as well as managed the internship program.

One highlight in Buckwalter’s career is when he led efforts to help refurbish Santaquin, Utah, in 1970. “We bussed twelve hundred BYU students to Santaquin, Utah and helped install, fix up, and paint dozens of homes and public facilities. We built everything from tennis courts, to the first street signs they had,” says Buckwalter. “At that time, there were student riots all over the country, and here we were rebuilding a city. This demonstrated to me that if you have students involved in the practical experience of seeing a community change, you create effective community leaders.”

In addition to serving as the Romney Institute internship coordinator, Buckwalter served as the first director of BYU’s Washington Seminar in 1972, a widely successful program that continues to send BYU students to intern in Washington, DC, for a semester or term.

“Establishing the Washington Seminar was a challenge because a number of universities were already competing for internships,” says Buckwalter. “However, we successfully established connections with federal agencies and those in the private sector back in the seventies. Today our students continue to serve internships at the same institutions.”

Since retiring in 2001, Buckwalter has enjoyed spending time with his family. He and his wife of fifty-eight years, Sondra, have four children, twenty seven grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren. The Buckwalters also served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for eighteen months in the Kirtland Visitors’ Center. In addition to serving a mission, Buckwalter has served in numerous church leadership callings.

In addition, Buckwalter has continued to expand his knowledge through his love of reading. “I've kept up the habits that I've had for the last sixty years with regards to reading,” says Buckwalter. “I keep up with all the current federal, state, and local activities, policies, and programs.”

In honor of Buckwalter’s contributions to the MPA program, the Doyle W. Buckwalter Scholarship was established, which is given to second-year MPA students who make significant contributions to the public or not-for-profit sector through their summer internship experiences.

Doyle Buckwalter and wife Shondra.
Doyle Buckwalter alongside his wife Sondra. Photo Courtesy of Doyle Buckwalter.
Doyle Buckwalter on his mission to the Kirtland Visitors' Center.
Buckwalter on his mission to the Kirtland Visitors' Center. Photo Courtesy of Doyle Buckwalter.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kate Monroe