Excellence in Science Education

William Judson Boone Hall Science Center, named in honor of the College's founder and first president, represents the academic heart of The College of Idaho. A man of science himself, President Boone began a legacy of excellence in science education, emphasizing both access and achievement. For the past 121 years, College graduates have made outstanding contributions in science and medicine: In addition to a long list of national honors (prominent alumni), distinguished science alumni include the co-discoverer of vitamin B-12, a world-renowned expert on emulsion polymer chemistry, a member of the research team that isolated curium and plutonium, and an astronomer who identified the ninth known planet beyond our solar system.

When Boone Hall was constructed in 1968, it was among the most modern science facilities in the United States. The three story building includes 79,200 square feet of offices, classrooms and laboratories for chemistry, biology, geology, math, physics and engineering. Boone Hall also is the cornerstone of outreach activities to the Treasure Valley community; it houses the Glen & Ruth Evans Gem and Mineral Collection, Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History, Harold M. Tucker Herbarium and Whittenberger Planetarium.

Once a model facility for progressive science education with cutting-edge instrumentation, Boone Hall’s teaching laboratories and classrooms remain virtually unchanged since construction was completed more than 40 years ago. Our goal is to restore Boone Science Center to a level of quality comparable to that enjoyed by its first generation of students and faculty. 

During Phase I ($7.4 million, completed in September 2010) major mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were replaced or upgraded, the research laboratories modernized, and the building brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Phase II of the renovation, estimated at $2.3 million, will target the remainder of the working space, building a modern, flexible platform that supports contemporary teaching, learning and research in the sciences.

This needed set of renovations reflects the dedication, effort and accomplishments of our students and faculty in advancing the College’s exemplary record of achievement in science teaching and research, highlighted by recent gains in externally funded programs.

Science highlights at The College of Idaho:

In recent years nearly one-third of College of Idaho graduates major in the sciences. With recently added majors in Health Sciences, Nursing and Pharmacy, more than half of science majors are in the biological sciences.

  • Under the College’s new PEAK curriculum, every student will graduate with a major or a minor in Natural Sciences & Mathematics.
  • A new faculty appointment in computer science anticipates growth in engineering and related areas, such as computer modeling and bioinformatics.
  • Over the past 10 years (2002-2011), 84 College of Idaho graduates have applied to medical school, and 63 of them have attended or are now enrolled in medical school. For these applicants, the overall acceptance rate is 75%, with 87.5% acceptance among those who reapplied at least once.
  • Graduate and professional schools consistently seek our alumni, who compete effectively for admission to nationally-ranked programs in the health sciences such as the University of Washington, University of Utah, Mayo Medical and Graduate Schools, UC Berkeley, University of Colorado, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Oxford University, Dartmouth Medical School, Creighton University, Wayne State University, New York University, Scripps Research Institute,  Emory University, Duke University and George Washington University Medical School.
  • In 2011 alone, five C of I graduates were admitted to the University of Washington Medical School.
  • Since 2003, external funding for science research at the College has increased steadily from approximately $27,000 annually to more than $650,000 annually. Recent grant highlights:

Funding Source


Areas of Focus


Murdock Charitable Trust

New faculty

Start-up funds



Biology, Chemistry

Biomedical research


JA & Kathryn Albertson Foundation

Biology, Chemistry




Dr. Heggland

Cadmium & bone health



Dr. Mansfield

Botanical database



Dr. Minear

Cognitive controls


* NIH, National Institutes of Health; NSF, National Science Foundation