Those on the campus of the College of Idaho were saddened to learn of the passing of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus, while remembering a leader who played a significant role in the betterment and preservation of the College over the past 40 years.
There were times during his terms as Governor, as well as times when he served on the College’s Board of Trustees, when the College faced serious financial difficulties. Through his influence and leadership, the College received a number of financial gifts that helped sustain and even grow the campus.
Newly named interim President at the College, Dr. Bob Hoover, recalls how Andrus was instrumental in the discussions that led to key capital additions to the campus. “He was there during the (former president) Bob Hendren and Joe Albertson discussions which led to a significant upgrade in the facilities and activities on campus,” Hoover said. Those additions in the early 90s included the construction of the J.A. Albertson Activities Center and the Kathryn Albertson International Center. “His leadership, and that of other members of the Board, was extraordinarily important in guiding the College at a very important time,” Hoover added.
Andrus began his service on the College’s Board of Trustees in 1983, serving one term as its chair in 1985. In his book “The College of Idaho — A Centennial History,” Dr. Louie Attebery noted the significance of the appointment: “Thus the former governor of the State and head of its public schools became the head of Idaho’s oldest institution of higher learning, which happened to be a private establishment. He was also one of the College’s staunchest supporters.”
Support of education was a hallmark of his early years as the top elected official in Idaho. After his election to the office of governor for his first term in 1970, he would introduce bills for statewide, publicly funded kindergarten until the statehouse passed the legislation in 1975. Later in his political career, when he ran for governor again in 1986, support for education was a primary component of his agenda. He successfully increased Idaho school funding until he left office in 1994.
In 2007, the Cecil D. Andrus Scholarship was endowed at the College of Idaho, and is awarded each year to an Idaho student who demonstrates academic excellence and community leadership. “That scholarship in his name is so worthy of what his role has been in terms of the College of Idaho,” said Hoover. “It is worthy of supporting kids who may go on to have potentially the same kind of impact on the state. One of them has probably already graduated; another may be on the way, who was supported through college by that scholarship.”
The public memorial service for Governor Andrus is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday in the Jordan Ballroom at Boise State University’s Student Union building. The College of Idaho’s Langroise Trio will perform during the service.
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.