A Legacy of Giving: Caldwell and Beyond
From its earliest days right down to the present time, The College of Idaho has benefited from the unflagging generosity of alumni, students, parents, and friends. The very same hopeful and determined spirit that inspired the citizens of Caldwell – led by a pioneering first president, Dr. William Judson Boone – to build a college in Idaho continues to motivate and bind together generations of donors with like-minded idealism and vision.
The College's Inception
1887: Citizens of Caldwell provided the location and a promise of $2,000 to support the building of The College at Kimball Park. The Presbyterian Church contributed an additional $8,000 towards that seminal effort. Citizens who played a prominent role in securing the land and water rights included H.D. Blatchley, Henry Dorman, Montie Gwinn, Charles Hand, Frank Steunenberg, and Howard Sebree.
1891-92: In the fall of 1891, The College of Idaho opened at the corner of 10th and Albany Streets in downtown Caldwell's Presbyterian Church. The school's name made complete sense, for it was the only college in the state at the time. Near the end of its first year of operation, The College constructed its first building with the following citizens and businesses pledging support: Howard Sebree, the Coffin-Northway Company, Isador Mayer, William Cupp, and the Central Lumber Company.
The New Campus
1907-1910: President Boone led a successful capital campaign to move the campus from downtown Caldwell to its present location upon “The Hill.” Major donors included Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Kirpatrick, Dr. Daniel Kimball Pearsons, Howard Sebree, and the Carnegie Foundation. Henry and Carrie Blatchley donated the land. Both The College and the town of Caldwell took immense pride in the result: Sterry Hall, the site of classrooms and the President's office, and Finney Hall, a dormitory for women.
1912-1919: In 1912, a complementary dormitory for men, Voorhees Hall, emerged through the generosity of Elizabeth Voorhees, Ellen James, and the Carnegie Corporation. In 1919, the oft-photographed Blatchley Hall – a gift of Henry and Carrie Blatchley – became home to President Boone and his family.
1925-26 The Strahorn Legacy
Robert E. Strahorn was a developer for the Oregon Short Line – Union Pacific Corporation and a trustee of The College. He once remarked that though he had made both good and bad investments, he never regretted any of his contributions to The College. In 1925, he funded a library to be built as a memorial to his deceased wife, Carrie Adell Strahorn. The library remained just that until 1969 when, following the creation of the N.L. Terteling Library, it became Strahorn Hall, replete with much-needed classroom space and home to the English, philosophy, and history departments.
In 1926, Strahorn pledged an additional $2,000 for a new athletic stadium provided students and faculty could raise $8,000 in a week. They actually raised $8,052, and the new stadium – the first lighted stadium in the state – became a reality within four years!
Inspired by Strahorn's generosity and filled with love of The College, Professor Herbert Harry Hayman, a Presbyterian preacher by training, personally supervised the construction of the stadium, drove a team of horses pulling a fresno or slip scraper (primitive earth-moving equipment), and planted trees throughout the campus.
1943-2008 The Simplot Legacy
When Jack Simplot – founder of a global food and agribusiness conglomerate – replaced Robert Strahorn as trustee of The College, one abundantly generous trustee took over for another. In 1948, Simplot financed both Simplot Residence, a new dormitory for women, and Simplot Dining Hall. In 1964, he endowed the Simplot Scholarship Fund and in 1975 created the Simplot Matching Funds – gifts in equal measure to those that students obtained from outside sources.
Jack Simplot made a point of aiding The College in times of need. For example, during the deficit year of 1971, Simplot offered to match gifts up to 50% of the anticipated $200,000 shortfall. Beyond cash donations, Simplot offered use of his home on Payette Lake for trustee and faculty meetings, and for over fifty years provided sage advice to graduating seniors at nearly every commencement.
1965-1980 The Terteling Legacy
N.L. Terteling, a veteran of the mining and construction industries, served as a long-time trustee beginning in 1962 and gave the College with a new library in 1965. The N.L. Terteling library enabled the College to house its expanding collection.
In 1970, the Terteling Foundation played an instrumental role in securing the financing for the William Judson Boone Science Center. Approximately ten years later, N.L. Terteling (along with Joe Albertson and Jack Simplot) served as an honorary chairman of a fundraising campaign known as Project 90. Spearheaded by Warren Isom, a former insurance executive, the campaign raised over $3 million for The College.
The Albertson Legacy
1980-Current Joe and Kathryn Albertson and their Foundation
Joe and Kathryn Albertson were loyal alumni whose love of the The College of Idaho led them to become major benefactors. From their union came a loving family, a national grocery chain, and a history of philanthropy that is unparalleled in the history of Idaho education.
From 1991-2007, The College was known as Albertson College of Idaho in their honor. The decision to go back to the original name of The College of Idaho was a mutual decision between The College and the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. After conducting a study in spring 2007, the Foundation agreed that allowing The College to return to its original name would help it connect with alumni, fundraise more successfully, and continue to provide a high-caliber liberal arts education for generations to come.
Overall, it is estimated that the family has donated approximately $104.6 million to The College. In 1990, the Albertsons financed two new buildings: The J.A. Albertson Activities Center, a 75,000 square foot home for The College's intercollegiate athletics, intramural, and health and physical education programs, and the Kathryn Albertson International Center, which houses The College's business, modern foreign languages, and international studies programs.
During The College's name change announcement in 2007, President Bob Hoover also announced that the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation was giving a cash gift of $50 million. The College has used that funding to spearhead the $175 million, 10-year Advance The Legacy campaign which will remodel Boone Science Hall, create an athletic endowment, enhance support for student activities such as international travel, debate, Model U.N., distinguished lecture series and more, and provide faculty professional development.
Honoring Two Legendary Professors
1981 The Smith-Stanford Chair
Just as The College has been graced with numerous illustrious professors, it has benefited from the generosity of those who endow chairs to honor them. The Smith-Stanford Chair became fully funded in 1981 and celebrated the remarkable service of two such professors.
O.J. Smith was a biology professor who received several awards for his scholarship. He was revered by his students, though by no one more so than a young man named Lyle Stanford. Stanford stood out among the students for his dedication to the subject of biology, and he repaid his former professor's attention and tutelage by returning to The College as a professor. A formidable scholar in his own right, Stanford was in line to replace the aging Smith when, in August of 1947, he contracted polio. The illness required Smith to re-emerge from retirement, though the demands of teaching proved too strenuous and he succumbed to a cerebral hemorrhage. As for Stanford, he benefited from extensive physical therapy and was able to resume a celebrated career.
Enriching Student Life
1983-Current Symms Field Strengthens Athletics
Two brothers and their wives – Darwin and Irene Symms as well as Doyle and Myrtle Symms (all alumni) – combined to make the Symms Athletic Field a reality in 1983. The field continues to be an important athletic venue for soccer and softball. In 1991, Myrtle Symms created the beautiful courtyard and fountain near the Albertson Activity Center in memory of her husband Doyle. More recently, Darwin and Irene's son, Steve Symms – former Congressman and U.S. Senator – donated his historical papers, photographs, and memorabilia to The College for display in the Archives.
Beyond these tangible reminders of their generosity, the Symms need be recognized also for their service to The College. Darwin served as a trustee for thirty years, and his brother Doyle served as president of the alumni association. Following in their footsteps, Doyle and Myrtle's daughter, Kathryn Mertz, recently completed two terms as an The College of Idaho trustee. Her husband, James Mertz, succeeded her on the Board.
1983-1998 McCain Student Center Supplies a Home to Students
In 1983, Warren and Bernice McCain created a scholarship that provided full tuition to a qualified graduate of Payette High School, from which they had both graduated. In 1990, Warren McCain, then CEO of Albertsons, Inc., endowed a chair in the humanities in honor of his wife. In 1998, the McCains provided $1.5 million of a $3 million project to transform the abandoned Kirpatrick Gym into the McCain Student Center. Nearly 200 alumni and 200 other donors also contributed to the project.
1990-1992 Langroise Boosts the Performing Arts
In 1961, Fritz Jewett had helped fund the Jewett Chapel–Auditorium, the first successful multi-purpose structure of its kind in the country, combining a stage, a chapel, and various classrooms in one building. Almost thirty years later, Gladys Langroise single-handedly strengthened The College's commitment to the performing arts by endowing a string trio for The College and the Boise Symphony. Gladys's encore performance occurred two years later, in 1992, when she financed the 54,000-square-foot William H. and Gladys Langroise Center for the Performing and Fine Arts. The building currently houses The College's music, theater, and visual arts departments and includes a 188-seat music recital hall, a studio theater, faculty offices and studios, and student practice rooms.
Investing in Students and Their Futures
1991-Current Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation
Over the years the Laura Moore Cunningham Foundation – today managed by Harry Bettis and his daughters Laura Bettis and Janelle Wise – has provided approximately $3.6 million in scholarship support to College of Idaho students. The Foundation's most recent gift came in the form of an early Christmas present in 2005: it provided funding for 40 student scholarships, regional recruiting positions in Oregon and California, and numerous other campus activities.
Giving Back to Idaho's Treasure Valley Community
2005-Current Seagraves Family Foundation Fosters Campus Philanthropy
The Student Philanthropy Council was formed in January of 2005 after The College received a $30,000 grant from the Seagraves Family Foundation to promote philanthropy on campus. Ten students, ranging from freshman to seniors, established bylaws and developed and distributed a grant application to community organizations across the Treasure Valley. Their goal was to fund projects that would have a positive impact on the community and an intangible benefit to The College. And that is exactly what they did, providing cash awards to five deserving non-profit organizations based in Caldwell and surrounding communities: a reciprocal act of generosity towards the very community that had helped make The College a reality over one hundred years before.