Richard H. Buskirk, an educator, businessman and consultant who directed the USC entrepreneur program for 10 years, has died at age 67.
Buskirk died Tuesday of a heart attack while visiting his son, Bruce, in Valdasta, Ga., his business partner Barbara J. Stanton said.
Buskirk was the author of 22 books and several articles about marketing and starting and managing businesses. Regularly sought out by news media as an expert on business and economic trends, Buskirk was a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows including “Donahue.” He also served on the boards of directors of several companies, and had recently been a planning commissioner for Rancho Mirage.
Buskirk retired as Joseph DeBell professor of entrepreneurship at USC in 1989. During his long tenure, he taught future executives his motto: “Credibility is like virginity: You only lose it once.”
When four of his entrepreneur program alumni founded “Looking Good!” which showcased attractive USC students in calendars and date books, Buskirk proudly said:
“These guys were really pioneers. They started this whole industry of beefcake calendars and such. They’ve got a very worthwhile enterprise, and they started it from nothing, from just an idea. They took a very mundane idea, and they were able to sustain it, to make it grow. They’re entrepreneurs, no question about it. These guys are hustlers.”
Stanton, Buskirk’s partner in the Institute for the Long Beach-based Development of Entrepreneurs, said Buskirk provided special encouragement to minorities and dislocated workers who lost jobs through company downsizing. She said he founded the USC minority seminar series to aid multicultural businesses, served as a director and instructor at the Entrepreneur Educational Center, and directed curriculum for the Institute for the Development of Entrepreneurs.
Born in Bloomington, Ind., Buskirk earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration at Indiana University, and a doctorate at the University of Washington. He also taught marketing and business administration at the universities of Kansas, Washington, Oklahoma and Colorado, Cal State Fullerton and Southern Methodist University.
In addition to his son, Bruce, Buskirk is survived by his wife, Barbara Jean; a daughter, Carol Power of Fayetteville, N.C., and three grandchildren.
The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the American Heart Assn.