Before coming to St. Olaf, Bruce King served as assistant vice president for academic affairs and chief diversity officer at the University of South Dakota. He also served as adviser to the president on multicultural affairs at Carleton College from 1993 to 1997, system director for diversity and recruitment for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, and school administrator with the Bloomington Public Schools and Northwest Suburban Integration School District in Maple Grove, Minnesota.

He has attended Harvard University's Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and served as a public policy fellow with the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. He has chaired the Associated Colleges of the Midwest's Committee on Minority Concerns and earned a national reputation as a founding member and second vice president of the National Association for Diversity Officers in Higher Education.