In his first event since returning to The College of Idaho as its interim president for the 2017-2018 school year, Dr. Bob Hoover took to the podium to formally welcome the Class of 2021 at its Convocation ceremony, leaving them with a message of tradition, philanthropy and optimism.
Hoover, who previously served as college president between August 2003 and July 2009, did not endeavor to make the evening about his personal return. While his message began on the joy he felt in welcoming another class of new students to Idaho’s oldest liberal arts college, he would focus his words on the traditions a liberal arts education has held.
“I am beginning my 38th year in higher education with you, the Class of 2021, and that represents half of my life,” Hoover said at the beginning of his address. “Two of the most exciting and rewarding times has always been when students return to campus, especially the new students, and secondly when they graduate. While it is not something I expected until recently, I’m so pleased to be here today to welcome this class to the College of Idaho.”
The returning president spoke about the history of the liberal arts through the ages, remarking that the Class of 2021 is now a part of the same traditions that were defined in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance and extended through the Enlightenment. He centered his message on the legacies such ideas have left, particularly on some of the individuals in the College’s history who have ensured the College’s own thriving legacy.
Hoover referenced the significant achievements of past presidents, particularly its two longest serving in Robert Hendren, who served as president for 14 years, and the College’s founder William Judson Boone, who served in his position for 44 years.
“We at the C of I are a product of their commitment, and we continue to receive those commitments today,” Hoover said. “One of the first things Dr. Boone received for our College was a gift of land, on which the campus now stands. It was one of the first of literally thousands of gifts that have been made to support this campus over the last 125 years.”
Hoover challenged the Class of 2021 to use the liberal arts education they are prepared to receive to continue the tradition of philanthropy that has been practiced by the generations of students who have come before them, not only in philanthropy but also in hard work and perseverance.
“I encourage you now to think about how your acts will contribute to these traditions in 2021,” Hoover said. “How will you as a liberated individual begin your tradition in philanthropy and service? The most important part of what you will learn here will be in how you use it in service to the human race in the months and years after you leave here.”
In closing, Hoover encouraged the new students to follow their passions and use them in ways that will support both the College and the world in the years to come.
“We will celebrate you in the days, months and years ahead, and awaken your minds as you encounter your truth in contributing to the community,” he said. “It is my hope that I can return to this campus to help you celebrate the joyous occasion in the spring of 2021. I offer you the best of wishes.”
The College of Idaho has a 125-year-old legacy of excellence. The C of I is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, four NFL players and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.