In April 1998, Bruce C. Kusch and his wife, Alynda, were visiting the Ricks College campus in Rexburg, Idaho, to support their daughter on her graduation day. At the time, the father of four was working in the high tech industry. Although he had been wondering what “the next thing” was for his career, he had no intention of moving outside of his home state of California.
“As I was sitting in the Hart Auditorium I had a powerful spiritual prompting that fostered a desire to finish my working life as a teacher at Ricks College,” he said. “I felt that is what the Lord was guiding me to do but, at the time, I didn’t have a master’s degree.”
Although he had spent a good part of the previous two decades working in strategic management positions, Brother Kusch recognized he needed more education to even qualify to teach at the college level. In his late 40s, he returned to school to complete his master’s degree.
“It was difficult because I was working, I was busy in Church and with our kids, and there were times that I almost gave up,” he said. “But I thought, ‘No, the Lord has prompted me to do something and I am going to see it through.’ ”
That impression led Brother Kusch to graduate school, to becoming a faculty member in the business management department at BYU-Idaho, associate academic vice president for curriculum and associate dean in the Online Programs Office at BYU-Idaho.
Beginning April 17, Brother Kusch will take on a new role as the 13th president of LDS Business College. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency announced the change on Jan. 31 during a campus devotional.
“I didn’t do education the traditional way — it wasn’t because I didn’t think education was important, it’s just how it kind of worked out,” he said. “I was well past what might be considered your ‘educational prime’ when I earned my Ph.D., but I will forever be grateful for the education I have been able to obtain.”
Although the time frame wasn’t what he originally had mapped out for his life, Brother Kusch said he has tried to “do and be what the Lord wanted me to do and be.”
He grew up in Southern California in a part-member family. His mother had been a member all her life and his father — although not a member — was extremely supportive of his family living the gospel.
“We had a very close ward and everybody loved my dad,” he said. “He never joined the Church in this life, but my dad came to meetings, he participated in the Scouting program. No young man could have had a more supportive father than my dad growing up. He was so proud of me when I left on my mission.”
After graduating from high school Brother Kusch enrolled at California State University in Long Beach and in an institute class.
“I was searching for my testimony and I found it in a very significant way while attending institute,” he said. “That experience changed me. Institute played a vital role in me finding my testimony.”
Those formative experiences helped Brother Kusch to accept a call to serve in the Guatemala El Salvador Mission from 1970-72. After his return home, he again enrolled in school and institute, and sang bass in the Grand Land Singers group — an institute choir — where he met an alto named Alynda Kidd.
“I sang with the group before my mission but it wasn’t until my first rehearsal back from my mission that I saw her with a group of girls,” he said. They married in 1974 and are the parents of four children and have 20 grandchildren.
“We stayed in the ward [I grew up in] and four years after we were married, at age 26, I was called to serve as the bishop,” he said. “I’m pretty sure that there were women who were in sacrament meeting the day I was sustained as bishop that were in sacrament meeting on the day that I was blessed as a baby.”
After a few years of living in Southern California, work took the family to San Jose, in Northern California. Brother Kusch worked in various jobs in the high-tech industry before he decided to go back to school to pursue a career in higher education. He went on to earn his doctorate — starting the program at age 55 — in instructional design from Idaho State University.
“The interesting thing is that in my mind I had a time frame of when I thought it would be the right time to go do it, but my timing wasn’t the Lord’s timing,” he said. After deciding to go back to school, Brother Kusch said he had planned for a bit more time before he joined the faculty at BYU-Idaho. But, “[The Lord’s] plan was several years sooner.”
From 2012 to 2015, Brother Kusch presided over the Mexico Cuernavaca Mission. He returned to BYU-Idaho briefly before accepting the job as chief academic officer at LDS Business College in the spring of 2016.
“Through all of these many opportunities and assignments, Alynda has been my constant companion and support.”
Looking back, he sees that things worked out.
His experience will be a great asset as he leads LDS Business College into the future. Brother Kusch understands first hand how education — in addition to hard work and following promptings from the Lord — opens the door to greater opportunities.
“I get to be right in the middle of it, or a part of it,” he said. “I served as a stake president in Rexburg when the temple was being built. I was serving as a mission president when the age change happened. I was working as the associate academic vice president for curriculum when Pathway and all of the online programs started. And now to serve, come April, as the president of LDS Business College and to participate in this next phase in Church education — it’s a blessing that I could’ve never imagined.”
With students from around the globe attending the college, Brother Kusch said the diversity is one of the college’s greatest assets.
“It is one of the things I love most about the college and the students who come here from all over the world,” he said. “I love to walk the halls or be on an elevator and hear different languages being spoken. I have met students from all over the world, and it is a miracle that they are even able to come here. That is one thing I loved about our mission in Mexico. We had missionaries from 17 countries and here we have students from even more.”
Brother Kusch has a plaque in his office with his mission motto — Adelante con Valor!” — meaning “Go forth with faith and valor and courage.” He looks to that saying as he begins his new assignment.
“We learned from our missionaries that we can do whatever the Lord asks us to do — even when it is hard.”
Future plans include building upon what has been done in the past, while keeping up with curriculum that is “relevant and fresh for students entering the workforce today.”
“You can see the hand of the Lord in the way things evolve and the way things happen,” Brother Kusch said. “Technology that makes it possible to gain an education that even 10 years or so ago may not have been possible the way it is today — it is all very much part of the miracle of the Restoration. We have great people, great students and I am very optimistic about the future.”