Featuring Lyna Kelley, Director of Communications and Public Relations
(Written interview compiled from in person and Q&A responses)
SS: We’re here today for a Saints Spotlight with Thomas More alum Brian Ruschman, who’s the current president of C-Forward, he’s also the incoming president for the Alumni Association. Thanks for joining us today.
BR: You’re welcome.
SS: What drew you to Thomas More as a student?
BR: Oh, gosh, there were many things. I attended a smaller high school (Brossart), so I knew I wanted to stay local. I also liked the smaller class size and student-to-professor ratio. Those were two determining factors. I also had quite a few relatives that had gone through and I had heard their stories and knew how successful they were from going here and really used that to know that Thomas More was the right decision. Following in the footsteps of relatives and my Catholic upbringing made Thomas More the easy selection.
SS: What stands out in your mind about your student experience here?
BR: I’ve got to say the approachable professors. They were great. There was an atmosphere created by them that fostered learning. It was one where we felt like a family; everybody had a desire to learn and to better themselves. And I loved the mozzarella sticks!
SS: Have you been in contact with any of your former professors or classmates?
BR: I haven’t stayed in contact with any professors. I have stayed in touch with a lot of classmates. In Northern Kentucky it’s kind of hard not to. I see them around all the time, and like I said, I see a lot of my relatives and we talked about Thomas More. There’s a lot of stories that go around. There were nine cousins that went to school right around the time I was here. We are a close knit family and are extremely grateful that we got the education that we received at Thomas More.
SS: Share a short history of your career path since graduation. Did Thomas More affected any of your decisions career-wise?
BR: My degree was a bachelor’s in computer information systems (that’s what they call it, I believe that’s changed) and an associates degree in business. I worked in technical positions for three large companies straight out of college: Kroger, Procter and Gamble, and Cincinnati Insurance Company. I started my career at C-Forward in 2006, and have been there ever since in different capacities.
I like the small business aspect of what I do. We are a company that is helping small businesses every day be as productive and successful as they can. A technical background, paired with some lessons in business, prepared me well for my current role as president at C-Forward where I talk to business leaders about how technology can make them the most productive. We discuss protecting their data and focusing on business plans to ensure they are the most successful they can be.
C-Forward holds a philosophy that if the businesses around us succeed, we all succeed. Our vision is to provide quality, cost effective and innovative Information Technology Services that help our employees, customers and community succeed. I believe that Thomas More’s mission aligns with this attitude.
SS: As incoming Alumni Association president, what are your goals?
BR: I hope to get many alumni engaged that haven’t been here for a while. I had been off campus for quite a while and I’m back now, I’ve really been refreshed in my love of Thomas More and you know what I what I’ve learned here. There’s going to be a lot of new faces on the Alumni Board, and there’s no doubt that they were going to come in with some great ideas on how to fulfill a vibrant alumni community. In addition, I kind of envision a more present Alumni Association that’s ingrained with Thomas More staff and current students. I believe that a mentoring relationship between students, professors, faculty, and alumni can only have a positive influence.
SS: In thinking of the future, how would you envision Thomas More developing over the next five, 10 or 15 years?
BR: I think first we need to mention the great things that have been going on here recently on campus. We had the inaugural Alumni and Family Weekend, the announcement that Thomas More will be working towards being a more sustainable community, and a graduation of nearly 350 students this week, which was huge. All very exciting. So looking forward to the future. I think that there’s a buzz around Thomas More. With the recent groundbreaking for the academic center – that place is going to be so cool. I’m particularly excited to see the advancements with technology and state-of-the-art facilities and the 375-seat auditorium is going to be pretty cool. So that new building, along with some new course options, no doubt will further entice students to take a serious look at Thomas More.
SS: Do you have any advice for current and future students?
BR: Yes. I think it’s so important to study hard but to also enjoy this time of your life. Make it a point to attend some activities. Cheer on your classmates at sporting events. College is a special time in your life that shapes what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. I’m reminded of a quote that I love that says “the best way to predict your future is to create it” and Thomas More University gives you the best opportunity to create your future.
SS: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for being here with us today.
BR: Oh, you’re welcome. My pleasure.