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Ensign College President's Report

February 2021

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It’s All About the Heart

By President Bruce C. Kusch

President Kusch and the President’s Executive Council hiked Ensign Peak to introduce the college’s new theme, Ensign Rising. “As we embrace a new name, …the lives we live and the examples we set will be the measure of the success of this institution now and for generations to come.” President Bruce C Kusch, “Standing on the Shoulders of Greatness,” February 25, 2020.

On July 26, 1847, just two days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley, Brigham Young and several others climbed to a nearby peak overlooking the valley, where they determined to raise an ensign to the nations. From the top of that peak you can clearly see the Ensign College building today.

Recently, we officially became Ensign College, and I am thrilled to announce that the first two of our bachelor’s degrees—in business management and information technology—have received full accreditation approval by our regional accreditor. Also, in fall semester there were more than 2,500 BYU–Pathway Worldwide students around the world enrolled in Ensign College online courses. While our reach as an institution becomes more global, our work will always be to educate students one by one.

Since its inception, this institution has always been focused on preparing well-qualified graduates to assume responsible positions in the workplace with a personal foundation anchored on and in Jesus Christ and the doctrines of His gospel, instilling within them a moral compass of ethics, integrity, and a desire to contribute to the good of society, wherever they may be.

“So many students have said to me, ‘I came to LDS Business College (now Ensign College) and learned that I could achieve more than I ever thought possible.”

Is it any wonder, then, that sacrifice, hard work, determination, and frugality are traits that have always characterized the college and that should continue to characterize us today? The word I would use to describe the pervasive attitude that has helped Ensign College persevere through challenging times and circumstances is scrappy. Committed and consecrated scrappiness must continue to be a virtue we all practice every day on this campus—and it is a virtue we should teach, model, and exemplify for our students. Some might also call this “grit.”

So what has made this institution great and will continue to make this institution great? As important as our new name is, it is clearly not about a name. The school has occupied 16 different buildings. It is clearly not about a building. What it is about is the heart—your heart and my heart.

Elder David A. Bednar said, “Our hearts—the sum total of our desires, affections, intentions, motives, and attitudes—define who we are and determine what we will become.” Every interaction we have with one another should be such that it invites the presence and influence of the Holy Ghost. Over my years of service here, many have commented, “When I am on this campus, I feel the Spirit so strongly.” I would simply say it is not about the campus.

There is no question we are living in challenging times, and there are essential lessons to be learned that will be preparatory for challenges we will face in the future. While masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing all help protect us physically, much more important are the spiritual protections that come from deepening our faith in Heavenly Father and in the Savior, from testimonies that are firm and a conversion to Christ and the gospel that is steadfast and immovable.

Of the many miracles I have witnessed during my time as president, there is one, generally, that I cherish the most: it is witnessing how the Lord magnifies our resources and the talents and capacities of our students and employees to achieve what was once thought impossible, or at least improbable. So many students have said to me, “I came to LDS Business College (now Ensign College) and learned that I could achieve more than I ever thought possible.”

I have learned and witnessed—and I testify—that when we move forward with humility and with a desire to work according to the will of the Lord, according to His timing, and in alignment with His chosen prophets, we will see that He has gone before us, preparing the way and opening the way to accomplish what He desires for us to accomplish. And it will be more than we ever thought possible.

This message is adapted from “Ensign Rising,” a devotional address given September 15, 2020.

Scholarships

While undergoing a name change, the college has also made some dramatic changes in the scholarship process for students. Among these changes is the use of one master application for all scholarships, making the process much easier for students. Melanie Conover, manager of financial aid, says, “We have worked very hard to make the process as easy and painless as possible for our students and really think the statistics show how it’s helped.” Here are some of those statistical improvements:

President Kusch and the President’s Executive Council hiked Ensign Peak to introduce the college’s new theme, Ensign Rising. Chart 1: The number of students who applied and received a scholarship continues to increase year after year. Chart 2: 15% more students have stayed in school after receiving a scholarship in the past year.

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