History of the Gipson Fellows
College of Idaho Gipson Fellows are named after legendary scholar and historian Lawrence Henry Gipson. Recruited to the C of I academy by founding C of I President William Judson Boone himself, Gipson became Idaho’s first Rhodes Scholar as part of the first Rhodes class at Oxford in 1907. He later returned to the C of I as a professor, where he helped create such traditions as The Trail student yearbook. Gipson attended Yale as a Farnham Fellow in 1910 and, after completing his Ph.D., became a professor of history at Lehigh University, where he taught until his death in 1971. Gipson was awarded the 1950 Bancroft Prize and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for History for his magnum opus, the fifteen-volume history of “The British Empire Before the American Revolution.” This pioneering Caldwell native changed the world, and his legacy lives on through the Gipson Fellows Program.
Over the years, there have been three different programs for high-achieving students at The College of Idaho. They are:
Soon after Lawrence H. Gipson’s death in 1971, the C of I Gipson Scholar program was founded. The program was created for high impact learning, borrowing from the tradition of The College of Idaho’s distinctive three-week Winter Term. Acceptance into the program was based on GPA, test scores and personality. Successful C of I applicants would design their own curricular plan to earn two majors, or one major and two minors. This program was the foundation of the College’s current PEAK Curriculum. Gipson Scholars also were required to attend a junior seminar. This created a bond in the program, and is the basis for the current Freshman Seminar that The College Idaho now requires for all students. C of I Gipson Scholars alumni have gone on to accomplish great things in many walks of life, including law, politics, business, academics and the arts.
The C of I created the Heritage Scholars Program in 2004. This program was instituted to continue the tradition of high-achieving students at the College. Admission was based on professor interviews, student essays and test scores. Accepted students were granted paid tuition. With the adoption of the PEAK Curriculum in 2010, all C of I students began earning a major and three minors. But the Heritage Scholars program provided an opportunity for students to achieve above and beyond expectations.
The current Gipson Fellows program began in 2014. C of I Gipson Fellows are invited to join the program before they begin their freshman experience. Acceptance into the program is based on high school GPA, test scores, resume and personality. The program, in many ways, combines the ideas behind the original Gipson Scholar and Heritage Scholar programs. Accepted students are placed in the Gipson Fellows First-Year Seminar. Here, they learn to work together and help each other through the transition to college. Gipson Fellows also are given the opportunity to apply for special funding they can use to study abroad, pursue internships, or perform research. The Class of 2018 will hold the first graduates of the new Gipson Fellows program. These Fellows are high-achieving students and close-knit friends.