By: Emily Shanmugam
David Siddall has served in the position of Vice President for Business and Finance at Graceland for 4 years, ever since he began in fall of 2018. Siddall will be retiring in December, so I took this last opportunity to get to know him better and learn more about some of his contributions to Graceland.
What many students may not know is that Siddall grew up in Lamoni, and he is a Graceland graduate himself. Siddall’s father worked for more than 18 years on the Graceland campus to support Siddall and his six siblings, ultimately giving them the option to attend college. Siddall received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Graceland in 1985, then went on to attend the University of Iowa College of Law. Upon graduating, Siddall worked in a corporate law position in Texas for 25 years before deciding to obtain a Master of Laws (LLM) in Estate Planning. He then operated a private law practice in Scottsdale, Arizona for 6 years before coming to Graceland.
When I asked Siddall what brought him to Graceland, he said, “I had always thought that returning to Graceland as a faculty member would be a great way to honor my parents...as well as...my alma mater.”
During his time here, Siddall has worked to achieve numerous goals. In his role as Vice President for Business and Finance, Siddall’s job has been to oversee the financial activities of the university and help make decisions that will allow growth in the future. He explained, “At Graceland, leading the effort to reduce fixed costs has been one of the more significant accomplishments since beginning work here. That includes work on the debt refinancing and retirement plan structure. We will be rolling out a formal enterprise risk management (ERM) program over the next few months to help every employee understand the nature of risk in every aspect of Graceland’s operations and how to manage those risks in a way that will help Graceland’s long-term sustainability.”
Siddall said that he will miss “the intellectual challenge of trying to help Graceland be proactive in the way it approaches the challenges facing higher education for its long-term sustainability.” He also said that he will miss “the good individuals who work hard every day to make a difference in the life of Graceland students and to the institution.” Specifically, he added, “I also want to thank all of the hard-working employees – both faculty and staff – who have worked tirelessly in moving Graceland forward with the Blue, Gold & Bold strategic priorities!”
Nonetheless, Siddall is ready to retire, as it will allow him more time to travel, pursue his interest in pickleball, and spend time with his family, especially his seven grandchildren. “Having worked for more than 35 years since graduating from law school, I am ready to focus on other aspects of my life,” he said. However, he added, “Moving into retirement is just another phase of my love for, and support of, Graceland. I have, and will continue to, support Graceland either as a student, alumnus, or soon to be retiree.”