*Editor’s note: Renee Carver contributed to this article.
Kevin Miyasaki, student services and activities vice president at BYU-Idaho, suffered a stroke on the morning of March 3.
“My dad, AKA the best human on the planet, had what appears to be a bad stroke this morning and we are all making our way to Idaho to be with him in the hospital,” Miyasaki’s son Clarke later posted on Instagram.
Clarke Miyasaki gave an update on his father’s health in an Instagram post on Friday.
“It’s been a pretty good 24 hours as he’s shown some signs of improvement by recognizing people, saying more words and moving his right leg,” said Clarke Miyasaki. “His CT scans still look pretty bad but he is stable right now. Next few days are critical as they monitor the pressure on his brain.”
His Instagram post included a video of President Miyasaki responding to questions and remembering Clarke Miyasaki’s name.
President Miyasaki was serving as first counselor in the stake presidency of the LDS Married Student 4th Stake when he had his stroke. On Sunday, some members of the stake fasted for him and prayed for his well-being with their church congregations.
Individuals commenting on social media said they were fasting and praying for him as well.
On Sunday morning, Clarke Miyasaki reported that while his father’s CT scans did not look very good, his exams had been going very well. He said his father had been aware of his surroundings.
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He said President Miyasaki had been heard singing the LDS children’s hymn “I am a child of God” in Japanese, had tried to comfort family members, and had successfully followed instructions given to him by doctors.
Clarke Miyasaki wrote that through about Sunday and Monday were when the peak of his father’s brain swelling was expected to happen, and he thanked people for their love and prayers.
By Tuesday morning Clarke Miyasaki said some of President Miyasaki’s brain swelling had gone down and he had ingested juice and soft food, showing that his ability to swallow was still intact.
As news about President Miyasaki’s stroke became public, those who have known and interacted with him shared words of praise and support for the university leader.
“I will always be grateful for his positivity towards me,” said Willy Rose, a BYU-Idaho alumnus. “I hope he can make a healthy recovery, and my thoughts and prayers go to his beautiful family.”
Brady Kissner, a senior studying math education, spoke highly of his interactions with President Miyasaki.
“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to President Miyasaki many times in my years at BYU-Idaho, and I can say, there are few if not none others on this campus that I respect more,” he said. “All our love for a swift recovery!”
Allen Jones, director of student support, spoke of how President Miyasaki loves the university’s students.
“He has always been a strong advocate of putting students first and giving them opportunities to lead and act,” Jones said. “This has been particularly true with our department. The students involved in Student Support have been greatly blessed by his spirit, leadership and inspiration.”
Jones said he respects Miyasaki in his capacity as colleague and mentor.
“President Miyasaki, we love you and are praying for you,” he said.
Mary Taylor, executive secretary for President Miyasaki, told Scroll in an interview during Fall Semester 2015 that he was a humble man with a sense of humor and a love for quirky socks that he quietly wears sometimes.
“He would never show anybody,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that President Miyasaki is very frugal but he never asks for anyone to do something that he himself would not be willing to do.
“He’ll tell me all the time, ‘This isn’t my office. This is the Lord’s. I’m just being allowed to use it,’” she said.
Taylor said Miyasaki frequently makes jokes about his own height.
“He’s a giant,” Taylor said. “Maybe not in stature, but he is in spirit. He always jokes with people and says, ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got your ankles,’ because most people would say ‘I’ve got your back,’ but, because he’s a little bit shorter, he’ll say, ‘I’ve got your ankles.’”
President Miyasaki has been employed at Ricks College and BYU-Idaho for over 24 years. He has worked at BYU-I in the Dean of Students Office, as the International Student Advisor, and as the Registrar. He grew up in Sugar City, Idaho and completed graduate work in social work at Arizona State University. Before working at BYU-Idaho, President Miyasaki worked as the director of the St. Anthony Juvenile Correction Center.
President Miyasaki is a runner who has been in over 20 marathons. He is also a heart attack survivor and is the grandfather to over 30 grandchildren.
President Miyasaki once shared a story with Scroll about meeting with a student who was upset that some people called BYU-I “the Lord’s university.”
“My response to him wasn’t that this was the Lord’s school, but that the Lord resided here,” Miyasaki said. “As well as any other place where people are seeking righteously to do His will, he will help and guide them. Even those who are not of our church. He’ll help them, because he loves all of his children.”