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C of I receives $250,000 student travel grant

March 30, 2016

Every year, dozens of College of Idaho students enjoy off-campus study experiences with their professors and peers.

Now, thanks to a new grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, more C of I students than ever will be able to take advantage of study abroad opportunities. The Neilsen Foundation has committed $250,000 to establish the endowed “Howard Berger Student Travel Fund,” which will support study abroad programs in the College’s history department for students with financial need. The fund is named in honor of legendary C of I history Professor Howard Berger, who has led multiple student groups overseas during his 34 years at the College. Ray Neilsen, Craig’s son, is a 1988 C of I graduate who credits Berger for helping change his education, life and career for the better.

“Off-campus learning provides a unique educational environment for students, and our history department offers a terrific array of exemplary international courses,” said Dr. John Ottenhoff, C of I’s vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty. “Study abroad experiences can be life- and career-changing, and this grant will make those opportunities feasible for students who might not otherwise have been able to afford them.”

The $250,000 travel fund grant will be paid out over the next three years. The grant builds upon an already strong relationship between the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and The College of Idaho. The foundation’s generous contributions to a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant gave rise to the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation Lectureship in Judaic Studies. In addition, foundation support coupled with significant personal gifts from Ray Neilsen helped the College to establish the Howard Berger-Ray Neilsen Chair in Judaic Studies.

“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation,” said C of I President Charlotte Borst. “The foundation’s generosity played a key role in establishing our Judaic Studies program, and this new grant will enhance our effort to give each and every C of I student the chance to participate in high-impact learning practices. I’m a big believer in these opportunities, and it is our goal as a college to give every student the chance to experience off-campus study as part of their undergraduate education.”

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