About The College of Idaho

The College of Idaho is a private liberal arts college that prepares students to lead productive and fulfilling lives.  Founded in 1891, the College is home to over 1050 undergraduate students and is the state's oldest four-year institution of higher learning.

We offer a living and learning experience that engages students and equips them with the skills and understanding necessary to flourish in a rapidly changing, diverse, and technologically informed world. We emphasize frequent and meaningful interaction with faculty, staff, and administration, the exploration of challenging ideas, and a well-rounded course of study in the liberal arts disciplines enriched by pre-professional and interdisciplinary programs in tandem with co-curricular student life experiences. We are committed to excellence in academic instruction and scholarship, and to the values of community, integrity, leadership, and service.

The College has been accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities since 1922. Our teacher education program has been approved by the Idaho State Department of Education since 1913, and our graduates are eligible for certification in all states participating in the Interstate Certification Compact.

The 50-acre park-like campus features tree-lined paths that join five residence halls, playing fields, academic buildings, an amphitheater, and a student union. In the past ten years, six major building projects have transformed The College of Idaho into one of the most beautiful campuses in the Pacific Northwest. The College's newest facilities include an athletics center, renovated student union and computer center, a performing and fine arts center, an athletic activities center, an international center, and "The Village," two apartment-like residence halls.

Students at The College of Idaho learn through our distinctive PEAK curriculum that unites liberal arts learning with professional perspectives. Students also learn in and through our distinctive location on the western Snake River plain between the foothills of the Boise Ridge and the Owyhee Mountains. Our location in Caldwell, a city of more than 45,000 people, is 30 minutes from Boise, Idaho's rapidly growing capital and home to museums, shopping, concerts, fine arts events, restaurants, and high-tech industries. We are a short drive from ski resorts, high plains deserts, mountains, hiking and biking trails, and whitewater rivers. 

Our History

The College of Idaho marks its beginning six years before Idaho's statehood when the Presbyterian Church's Wood River Presbytery, meeting in Shoshone, formed a commission to examine the possibility of establishing a Presbyterian college somewhere in the Idaho Territory.

The commission found support for such a venture, and in 1890 the Presbytery accepted an offer from a group of Caldwell citizens, led by William Judson Boone, to locate the institution in that community.

Nineteen students arrived at The College of Idaho for the first classes in 1891. Those classes were held downtown in the Caldwell Presbyterian Church, and a year later the College moved into its own downtown building. The campus moved to its present site on the east side of town in 1910, when Henry and Carrie Blatchley donated 20 acres of land. Sterry Hall, then a classroom and administration building, and Finney Hall, the first residence hall, were built that year. Voorhees Hall, the second of what would become a total of five residence halls, opened two years later.

In 1991, to celebrate the college's centenary anniversary, the College changed its name to Albertson College of Idaho, in honor of Kathryn and Joe Albertson. As alumni, the Albertsons were generous benefactors of the college and were founders of one of the country's largest supermarket chains, Albertson's Inc. In a historic announcement on October 11, 2007, Albertson College of Idaho President Bob Hoover announced that the College had received the largest gift ever given to an Idaho college or university, a $50 million cash gift from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, and that it was returning to its original name—The College of Idaho.

Our Tradition

Since by its charter The College of Idaho is not controlled by any political entity, it is free to establish its own educational policy, to set its own requirements for admission, to determine its own course of study, and to determine its requirements for graduation. Thus our courses in religion are nonsectarian, and our admission policy is formulated without regard to creed, gender, color, race, handicap, sexual orientation, or national origin. The College values and is committed to the faith of its founders, and it therefore opposes oppression of all kinds—physical, intellectual, religious, political, economic, sexual, and social.

For more than a century, The College of Idaho has produced graduates who have become leaders in business, science, medicine, law, education, the arts, and government. Alumni include a current governor, two former governors, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, an Academy Award-winning musician, the co-discoverer of vitamin B-12, and the co-founder of Patagonia Outerwear.

Our Mission

The College of Idaho is a private, residential liberal arts college that prepares students to lead productive and fulfilling lives. We are committed to an innovative, individualized curriculum in liberal arts and professional studies, to building community, and to exercising stewardship.

Core Mission Themes

  • Transforming Liberal Arts and Professional Education
    Challenging students to:
    • Think broadly, by wide exposure to the fields of knowledge that constitute a liberal arts curriculum
    • Think deeply, by sustained exploration of a specific discipline
    • Combine this breadth and depth to develop skills in:
      • Problem Solving
      • Analytic Reasoning
      • Critical Thinking
      • Written Communication
  • Building Community
    • A Responsible Community
    • A Resourceful Community
    • A Reflective Community
  • Exercising Stewardship of
    • Our Environment
    • Our People
    • Our Resources