A Family Legacy

The family of the late Donald O. Clifton ’48, ’49, ’59 and ’90 had long been connected to Nebraska. For two decades, he worked at Nebraska as a popular instructor and researcher, and it was at Nebraska where he first began his experimentation with strengths.  “My dad was born on a humble sheep farm in Butte, Nebraska. A regent scholar born with a little higher IQ than everyone else, he was a master teacher. He loved teaching kids. What he noticed was weaknesses don’t turn into strengths. For 40 years, nobody listened to him, but he never gave up,” shared Don’s son, Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup.

Don served as chair of Selection Research Inc. and then chair of Gallup. His research led to the CliftonStrengths assessment (formerly known as Clifton StrengthsFinder), released online in 1999 which helps people discover, understand and maximize their innate talents. Used by most Fortune 500 companies, the CliftonStrengths assessment also can be found in hundreds of schools and universities throughout the world.

In 2002, he was recognized with a Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association as the Father of Strengths-based Psychology.

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