Fr. Eugene Kutsch Ahead of His Time

Loras Honoring Him with Bust Unveiling

As he looked upon the newly unveiled bust of his likeness, Father Eugene Kutsch (’47) said, “I am very honored. I am very humbled, actually.”

Fr. Kutsch was present as Loras College unveiled the bust in the Alumni Campus Center this week. In the live-streamed event, he thanked his family, the Loras administration and the Class of 1969, among others, as he reflected on the honor.

“I thank the students from the late ’60s and other members of the Loras community with whom I have had interaction over the years for all that they have done,” he said. “They have been very gracious and thoughtful and supportive. I have been more than blessed by their response. It’s very humbling.”

As he spoke, Fr. Kutsch reiterated his desire for people of different races to come together as one and treat each other with respect. 

“One of the things that happened in the late 1960s at Loras was the black students had the support of the white students, and friendships and bonds were made,” he said. “I think in education, it is really important that we be diverse because that is the kind of nation we are. Understanding of different races, and cultures and as a result, we can live more humanly and more Christian in the way we treat and recognize differences,” he said.

During his remarks, President Jim Collins (‘84) discussed the impact that Fr. Kutsch had on the Loras community, particularly on the inaugural Black Student Union in 1967-68 and the Class of 1969.

“He is a great man and a great leader who has certainly served us humbly; he lives by example and from a servant-leader perspective provides a great model for all things Catholic social teaching and reverence,” Collins said. “He never wavered from his pastoral, embracing ways toward Catholic social teaching and correspondingly was a great advocate for racial justice in all ways that we hold dear, both within and outside of our faith.”

Fr. Kutsch served as Dean of Men beginning in 1956 until 1969. Responsible for the students’ well-being, he witnessed first-hand the social changes that marked the 1960s and was looked upon as an ally due to his fairness and concern for all people. Fr. Kutsch served as a fervent advocate of the black Loras students and their ideals.

“Your story has given us an example of how to be a role model for human dignity for not just Loras College but for all of this country,” Sergio Perez (’13), director of the Center for Inclusion & Advocacy, said to Fr. Kutsch as he closed the event. “At a time when we need it most, thank you for being that story of inspiration for us and future Loras community members.”

View images from the event in the gallery below. You can listen as Fr. Kutsch reflects on his time at Loras as a guest of the Duhawk Digest podcast here.

About Loras College
Founded in 1839, Loras College leverages its historic roots as Iowa’s first college, the second oldest Catholic college west of the Mississippi River and one of the nation’s 10 diocesan colleges to deliver challenging, life-changing experiences as part of its residential, Catholic setting. In 2020, Loras was ranked the 16th Best Regional College in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report and one of America’s Top 200 Most Loved Colleges/Universities by Forbes Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. Loras students ranked No. 2 in the world as part of the global Peeptrade Investment Challenge while a second group ranked No. 4. For the 12th consecutive year, Loras Media Studies student-led television station (LCTV) was named the TV Station of the Year by the Iowa College Media Association (ICMA).